New Years Predictions

 

                       
                         SeattleTimes.com

With the Waterford crystal ball about to fall within the next 6 hours in frosty Times Square up in New YorkCity. I thought it might be nice to look a bit forward towards the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays future and throw a few predictions into the fray. I usually do not like to do this, but for some odd reason I am feeling pretty confident that the 2010 year will hold a mountain of possibilities and a few pitfalls that can be navigated with calm, cool, collected nerves.

 
Fi
rst prediction:

Have
the Rays reviving again in 2010 the old tradition of  the team wearing Kelly Green Rays uniforms during St. Patrick’s Day game against the Minnesota Twins this Spring. The Rays have not had a March 17th contest in their Spring Training schedule since Stuart Sternberg and crew have been in charge of the team. I can see this tradition again being brought back with a lot of excitement.


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I am also hoping that with this prediction, the team will again be offering up the game-used jersey tops adorned with autographs online via the Rays Foundation as a great donation source for the Rays charity, and also a nice collectible for the Rays faithful fans.

Second prediction:

 
That Rays favorite scapegoat in 2009, Pat Burrell will come into Spring Training a bit lighter and extremely focused to put his sub par 2009 season behind him. He will become the first Rays Designated Hitter since Jose Canseco to be considered for an All-Star selection. He will not get the honor, but his renewed bat and contagious attitude will give the Rays gain a chance to return to the Playoffs.

Burrell actually did not do as badly as you might think in 2009. When you look at the last three Rays seasons in reference to the DH position, Burrell actually was about the norm concerning his productivity. But considering his high price tag ($ 9 million) this season, it will be a test of his hitting abilities and his inner want to extend his career to succeed in 2010.

Third prediction:

The top 4 money makers on the Rays, which include Carl Crawford, Burrell, Rafael Soriano and Carlos Pena will be among the American League leader boards in productivity early in 2010. The 4 make over 40 percent of the Rays payroll, and are critical to the team again making a playoff push in 2010. With Pena tying with Yankee hitter Mark Teixeira for the 2009 AL Home Run title, I suspect Pena to also make an early RBI run in 2010. Crawford will get an early great start concerning Batting Average and Stolen bases.
 

With Burrell already predicted to rise in 2010, Soriano will be a great addition to the Rays Bullpen and will bring the “W’s” home for the Rays. All 4 previously mentioned players are also possibly free agents at the end of 2010, and might also be playing for their next big contract. Sometimes money can be a great motivator.


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Fourth prediction:
 
The Rays will again see a slight rise in game attendance and game packages, but  will not not be near the Major League Baseball averages for 2010. The Rays will again try to fuel the attendance fires with  multiple weekday giveaways and promotions to get the fans into weekday games. But even with a slight rise in the game numbers, you hope that it is enough to give the Rays ownership confidence in the region as a baseball hub.

Considering the Tampa Bay region is fighting off a 12 percent unemployment demon right now, any uptrend should be viewed as a positive for the Rays. With their Concert Series almost guaranteeing sellout crowds, the focus will be on the weak Thursday night numbers, or during home games when an incoming team generally attracts 10,000 or less  fans to the game. I foresee some radical thoughts and ideas coming out right before Spring Training to combat this attendance damper.
 

The Tampa Bay region fans might have been spoiled during the last decade by seeing all three of their professional teams fighting for World/League titles. First came the glitzy Lombardi Trophy that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won during the Super Bowl out in San Diego, California. Then it was the Tampa Bay Lightning turn by streaking through the playoffs and finally hoisting the highly prestigious Stanley Cup on home ice. Then in 2008, it was our own Rays supplanting the Yankees playoff machine and thrusting themselves all the way to the World Series.

I can predict a million things here today, but the best prediction I can make for 2010 is that the Rays fans will again  be crowded into Tropicana Field to see the competitive fires of this Rays team and that their cheers and cowbells will ring loud and proud underneath the Teflon roof of the Trop. For I predict and forecast that 2010 will be the Year of the Rays Fan. 


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Not only with  more entertaining pre-game and in-game promotions, but with more concerts and post-game events that will make it a “must-see” destination for tourists and the entire Tampa Bay community. With the Rays addition of Sunburst Entertainment under their wings in 2009, the team will bring more viable options both before and during games to attract and interact with their Rays fan base. I can see going to a Rays game transforming into a  everyday family event that will having everyone in the family eager to attend another game.

Not every one of these predictions will come true. For predictions are like New Years resolutions, they are only as good as the commitment behind them. But I am banking on the Rays organization and the Rays Republic to rebound in 2010 and make the Rays game one of the best entertainment values in this region….
…….bar none.
And with that I will leave you with a New Years toast:

” A toast to Father Time and the Baby New Year. We have no idea where the old man is going, and we’re not at all sure where the new kid came from, but I do have a question: Who is the mother of all this?”


16 Comments

Excellent predictions. It would be huge for the Rays if Burrell had a great year. The others you mentioned will be in top form, I’m sure. Have fun tonight at all your New Year’s Eve parties and may 2010 be a wonderful year for you.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane,
I am hoping that 2010 is a landmark year for the Renegade too.
Anything is better than 52 weeks of unemployment when you want to work….even at Mickey D’s, but you are over qualified.
Even if some of those come true it will be another great year for the team.
I am hoping to get with a friend in the team’s front office after the holidays and chat with a few of the department guys about some Rays Renegade promotions for them in 2010. Crossing the market lines might get us both some popularity (lol).

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I can’t figure out why Burrell has not done too well for you guys. But he did not have a great year for the 08 Phillies, either, even with a WS win. Right place, right time, I guess. Perhaps he can carry more of his weight this year.
Happy 2010!

great bold predictions my friend i will stay up to watch it but gunna watch new years no limits check it on espn at 8 its a crazy stunt this yr a must see hope u watch it have a great new yrs PARTY LIKE A HARDY LOL it a little rap lol
TMAS619

Greg,
Such is life. You take a player hoping he forms into your system with no reprecussions.
Burrell came with baggage, but only 1 more season of salary, so that could be a good thing.
Thank you, hope your New Years is safe and awesome too.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

T,
I will go hit your blog before I head out tonight.
Are you talking about Travis P’s stunt?
It looked pretty crazy on the television tonight.
Have a great celebration in Cali tonight.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Xcicix,
According to the Redneck Calendar that spins every year and winds up somewhere new..hopefully, it is The Year of the Rays Fan.
Last season was the Year of the Rat, and we see who won the World Series (only kidding).
I am calling the 2010 Rays to be the 2009 Rockies….the rest is up to karma.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Year of the Rays Fan? I can definitely see that. Your time is approaching!!!

Happy happy New Year. It may be the year of the Rays!!!!
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Cat,
Maybe I should amend it to be the Year of the Teams that wear BLUE so the Dodgers can enjoy it all too.
It was just a tongue in cheek moment. I actually hope it is the Years of the Baseball Fan actually.
But, the economic climate will dictate a lot of the revenues streams of the small market teams like the Rays that do not own broadcast companies, or have off-shoot entertainment conglomerates that make them outside money.
Such is life in the aquarium where even the sharks are nervous.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

The mother of all this?…doesn’t that depend on where you live?..:-), it would be good to see the Rays fighting off the advances of the evilempire and the sox to head the AL east again…
Happy New Year
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Peter,
You can look at it that way, but it is a “Rays” prediction not a South Philly, 10th and Archer thing.
The key to a great season will be hitting the Empire and the Nation and winning the yearly series.
The Rays did that in 2008 and it paid off in great dividends.
We shall see soon enough.
45 Days until Pitcher’s and Catcher’s report.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

happy new year bud! I hope its the year of Aki in Pittsburgh. And make that 43 days til pitchers and catchers report!

http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

Matt,
I think Aki will have a good season with the Pirates, but he might be a trade candidate near the end of July.
I would think Pittsburgh, if they do not think they can sign him for longer will use him to get some extra prospects or help.
Thanks, so far it has been a cold New Year down here in Florida.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cliff,
The new Chinese year starts on February 14th and it will be the year of the Tiger but I hope is the year of the Rays!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

Emma,
Thank you for that.
I will make sure to tell the “Tiger” bloggers online about this fact. Could just be there year to surprise some people.
Nice that it starts on a romantic day like Feb 14th.
I will have to circle the calendar and remember that date.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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