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Old 02-27-2015, 02:03 AM
 
298 posts, read 240,944 times
Reputation: 399

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I'm personally looking forward to a fresh start in 2015 for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Maddon/Friedman era is over and there will be lots of new names on the roster come opening day.

Gone are Price, Hellickson, Zobrist, Joyce, Myers, Escobar, Gomes, Hannigan, S-Rodriguez, Peralta, and Molina.

The 2015 roster is shaping up to look like:

CF Jennings
LF Souza
RF Kiermaier/Guyer
3B Longoria
SS Franklin
2B Cabrera/Beckham
1B Loney
C Rivera/Casali
DH Jaso/DeJesus

SP Cobb
SP Smyly
SP Archer
SP Odorizzi
SP Colome (until May, then Matt Moore)

RP McGee
RP Boxberger
RP Frieri
RP Jepsen
RP Balfour
RP Yates
RP Beliveau


-- Both the starting pitching and bullpen look great. Besides Matt Moore missing the first couple months and Balfour being so shaky, I couldn't be happier with the pitching staff.

-- The outfield defense will be faster and more aggressive with more Kiermaier and no Myers.

-- As for the infield, we'll just have to see. Three solid vets in Loney, Longo, and Cabrera but a rookie at SS.

-- No flashy offensive names added this year but there will be 15 HR guys everywhere you look. Plus Longo should hit more than the 22 he did last year.

-- In 2014 the Rays DH's hit only .229 with 16 HR. The catchers hit just .194 with 5 HR. All of those numbers will go up and there will be no Molinas running the bases.

-- I don't know much about the new manager Cash, but I'm sure he won't mess with the lineup nearly as often as Maddon did nor put his best offensive players in the 9-hole or his worst in the lead-off spot. There will be obvious lefty/righty splits but otherwise I expect a relatively stable lineup card every night.

-- Again, not flashy, but I'm looking forward to seeing more bunts and aggressive base-running, which the team seemed to get away from the last couple years.

-- The Red Sox are the team to beat in the AL East but history has proven that is when they will choke. The Yankees will be a pathetic, non-factor. The Blue Jays always seem to screw up a good roster. And the Orioles will be pests, but not front-runners with Nelson Cruz no longer carrying the team with his 40HR/108 RBI.

--Sadly, attendance will be embarrassingly low again and ownership is probably already planning the team's sale. The good news is that Jeter will make a fine new owner. Free agents will love playing for him and fans will line up to fill the stadium every single night. The bad news is the club will be in Montreal after he buys it. Until they're gone though....GO RAYS!
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:10 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,213,375 times
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Outstanding write-up. Thanks for starting this thread....

I go to about 20 games a season - have been for the last five years that I've lived here. Looking forward to the season, but very pessimistic. New, inexperienced manager, new inexperienced GM. Lots of no-name players. Again the Rays are depending on a starting pitching staff to keep them in it. Vegas says the o/u is 78 games. I say less. Lots less. Hope I'm surprised. I'll be heading down to Port Charlotte early next week to see this potential disaster for myself........Go Rays
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:35 PM
 
298 posts, read 240,944 times
Reputation: 399
I'm not worried about the GM, as he appears to be a more brave version of Friedman. Trading Myers after all of the hype this team gave him took some guts. At worst he is a Friedman 2.0 which is still pretty great.

As far as Cash goes, I think this team needed to un-complicate its playbook a bit, so a rookie manager was probably the right move. A few seasons ago Maddon went from barely having the team bunt to forcing a dozen bunt-outs with two strikes. It's safe to say that Cash be pulling any logic-defying stunts like that.

I have the Rays winning 86 games this year. They put a ton of guys at 2nd and 3rd last year and stranded most of them which probably couldn't be duplicated if they tried. Jaso's high OBP alone will help move those guys in and over. Just to have a DH who isn't hurting the team average will be something pretty refreshing for this club.

One good thing about this season is that I don't have a least favorite man on the roster. There are no polarizing or frustrating players like Upton, Myers, Escobar, Molina, etc. I don't trust Balfour at this time but with Jepsen, Boxberger, and McGee around, I don't think he'll will be put into closer type situations anyway. Every team has poor middle relievers but none will have one with Balfour's passion, so his aging arm gets a pass.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:23 PM
 
Location: South Tampa
1,160 posts, read 1,738,443 times
Reputation: 1041
Thanks for starting the thread and the write-up...I've been a little to depressed with Rays ball to get the motivation, although it's getting better the closer we get to Opening Day.

I feel like we have had a "bottom of the barrel" roster for a couple of years now- when it comes to batting especially...don't get me wrong, the guys are solid players but there are no big names that scare opponents. However, we have found a recipe to be successful here in the past. This year, it seems we went and did the unthinkable and got rid of the players we all thought were "cheap to own" in terms of MLB. Many new and untested faces...with a young and untested leader.

I'm going to sit back, watch, and pull for the Rays...but I don't know how much effort I will put into driving into Pinellas as I have the past 3 years. My account rep has been blowing my phone up to renew season tickets but I just don't feel it right now...don't like the direction. Many people point to our ability to "rough it out" and "make something out of nothing"...but I'm not so sure about that anymore. Maddon was responsible for a large part of making that happen and eventually, luck does wither away.

Basically, I feel like we were drinking Bud Light and having a decent time at the bar...while our "buddies" were sipping on craft beers and smiling at us. Now, I feel like we can only afford Natural Light and only at Happy Hour.

I could be wrong though! Evan has his best year, Souza is the man, Desmond figures out how to hit, and Nick Franklin proves he was a 1st round pick...and Balfour gets his mind right!

...so, Let's Go Rays!
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,213,375 times
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the more I hear about the poor attendance and the likelihood of loosing the team, the less interested I am .....I expect the Trop to be as empty as I've ever seen it after Opening Day......
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:31 PM
 
298 posts, read 240,944 times
Reputation: 399
The theme of this year for the team is to create its new identity. I still think it'll be a loose ballclub but I bet it'll be a little tougher and a little more old school than the Maddon-era teams. Every team wants to start out strong, but a solid April with dominant pitching would really help this year. The more I think about Maddon, the less I like his ways but I'll give him credit for one thing - even with an 0-6 start, he displayed 0.00 worry. 2015 isn't the time to test Cash like that.

As far as attendance goes, if fans didn't buy tickets last spring, with that roster, they never will. That was as stacked as this team will ever be (on paper), and still no one showed up. Anything hinting at a fire-sale, overhaul, etc will always scare away season ticket holders, so attendance this year has no reason to improve. History has shown that even when in first place in September, fans won't show up so team wins can't ever be used as an excuse.

What the country and media don't know regarding attendance is how inept the season ticket sales department is. Mine told me I wasn't needed as a customer because my seats would be sold in a heartbeat to another customer. He's probably right, but nobody will sit in that guy's seats. What I'd like to see is a complete overhaul of the ticket sales department. Or at the very least, poach the best sales manager in the MLB and let him give this department a new identity. The snotty kids in charge of driving away account holders are doing just too good of a job.
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Old 03-01-2015, 04:35 PM
 
Location: South Tampa
1,160 posts, read 1,738,443 times
Reputation: 1041
Quote:
Originally Posted by TS808 View Post
What the country and media don't know regarding attendance is how inept the season ticket sales department is. Mine told me I wasn't needed as a customer because my seats would be sold in a heartbeat to another customer. He's probably right, but nobody will sit in that guy's seats. What I'd like to see is a complete overhaul of the ticket sales department. Or at the very least, poach the best sales manager in the MLB and let him give this department a new identity. The snotty kids in charge of driving away account holders are doing just too good of a job.
And they have turnover like a restaurant. I've had 5 account reps in the past 3 seasons with the Rays.

I know this could backfire on them, but they should use a supply/demand pricing structure for our market...because I believe it is unique. Yes, the Rays are a relatively cheap season ticket compared to most of the MLB...but when I know I can get a single game ticket cheaper for each game I attend versus buying a package, it stings. I hate walking past scalpers selling tickets (*every game*) for much less than I paid in a better section. Then getting into my seats seeing all the empty ones below me.

Let the guys who hop on early get deeper discounts. Let prices increase as the season approaches or during the season for late joiners.
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:02 PM
 
298 posts, read 240,944 times
Reputation: 399
Exactly. The season ticket discount used to be over 20% off, which I found to be irresistible. The last couple years though the discount was less than a dollar for outfield seats. Maybe even just 25 cents, so barely 2%, and a completely different percentage for other sections. My rep didn't even call me about adding or upgrading seats the last two years. So with no discount nor the chance to wiggle down to the best seats in the section, why would anyone renew? Like you said, there needs to be the threat of not being able to get into your same seats or better on game day for the same price or better. Without that, there's no reason to part with so much money up front.

Regarding the high turnover, I don't think they're all getting canned or moving on to other clubs. My first two reps were promoted to advertising sales jobs and are still with the Rays. No surprise as they were excellent. My third rep was moved to group sales which must be a demotion, selling mostly cheap seats to little league teams. I hope he's stuck there forever. My fourth rep somehow, someway, still has a job where he's allowed to communicate with paying customers.
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Old 03-05-2015, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,213,375 times
Reputation: 14611
Got down to Port Charlotte today for first game of Spring Training. Unfortunately a loss. Showed good defense early on as well as pitching until the last inning. Cash loses his first game as manager of anything......






Last edited by BucFan; 03-05-2015 at 05:20 PM..
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:38 PM
 
1,500 posts, read 2,792,543 times
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Here Are The 379 Companies Urging The Supreme Court To Support Same-Sex Marriage
Big business has come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

Exactly 379 corporations and employer organizations urged the Supreme Court to strike down state bans on gay marriage, according to a [scribd]257794356[/scribd]friend-of-the-court brief obtained[/url] by The Huffington Post. The document was expected to be filed late Thursday morning.

“Employers are better served by a uniform marriage rule that gives equal dignity to employee relationships,” reads the brief, filed by global law firm Morgan Lewis. “Allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity, reduces uncertainty, and removes the wasteful administrative burdens imposed by the current disparity of state law treatment.”

The list, provided in full below, includes corporate behemoths such as Coca-Cola Company, Goldman Sachs, Google and Morgan Stanley. It also includes brands like Ben & Jerry’s, a division of Unilever, and sports teams such as the New England Patriots, the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Employer Amicus Brief (Obergefell v Hodges)


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