And I have LOVED every second of it!
I didn't Fear what the consequences were. Nor do I Fear the reality that is Here.
The Ugly Duckling has effectively shed it's downy chick feathers, has leapt from the nest of 5th place (hey, at least they were never WORSE than 5th!!!) and now swims gracefully atop the rising tide of the AL East. And the Swan is just learning how to preen it's beautiful feathers...
Yet, as quickly as a national media can corner a story ("Holy Crap! the Rays -blah, blah blah- for the first time in Franchise history!"), they can just as quickly smother it.
I have seen the following words in the afterglow of the national media spotlight:
"The Rays winning is BAD for baseball"
Grapes can make a beautiful wine. Even a tasty red wine that Joe Maddon would have ready to un-cork in his office after another satisfactory win.
Grapes however can also be sour. Why must people thrash, flail and essential deny reality when it comes to CHANGE? Why does Fear thrive in a world where information and knowledge can be obtained faster than ever?
Face reality. Embrace reality. The Rays are Here. The Rays will continure to be Here and the Future of the AL East will revolve around the Continuation of what has already begun. This team wasn't built for 2008. This team was built for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and beyond.
This team was built to be the New Atlanta Braves... to win perennially in a market oversaturated with poor attitudes and a long history of losing. Look at what the Braves did for the 20 years prior to 1991 and see if it reeks familiar.
There is no other team in baseball with more young, developing, talented pieces producing Now (a.k.a "Here"). There is NO team in the game with more prospective pieces that are developing and ready to be chips to fill the gaps and/or be traded to fill gaps.
The Rays have seriously built this team the Right way. The players play the Right way. They are building a foundation of high quality baseball for years to come.
I have to say, having the Rays become the sudden media darling has been a wonderful exercise in determining which national journalists are full of shit and which actually might know their shit...
If you think THAT is bad for baseball - well then maybe YOU are bad for baseball!!!!!
- - - - - Manny Stiles, your brother in the fight against the ignorance...
P.S. - 9=8 minus 7 = We Are One Team