2011 Rays Resolutions…Renegade Style

 


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With some of the after effects of the 2011 New Years celebration still pumping in our hearts and minds, it is that cherished time of the early year for all of us to solidify our midnight resolves and begin embarking on the tedious task of now trying to keep our promises.

Some of us at the end of the countdown professed to transform ourselves with hearty and healthy vows to lose weight, cut back on certain foods, or maybe eliminate a unhealthy or dangerous habit like smoking or texting while driving.

Then there is that other group side of the resolve coin that wants to initiate goals to help humanity and possibly try and “pay it forward” by helping those less fortunate or being more “green” in our every day lives.

Or possibly you are one of those people who really got excited when the thought of ecology was mentioned in classes and looked beyond our own visionary limitations to evoke a personal challenge or make a mental proclamation to enhance some external segment of this World’s by cleaning up a creek or riverbed or possibly helping bond in our communities building safer playgrounds for our next generation.

So on this first day of 2011 I thought it might be fun to try and make a few resolutions in the baseball sense for certain members of the Tampa Bay Rays. With pitchers’ and catchers’ set to begin reporting to their Rays Spring home in Port Charlotte, Florida in just 43 days, it is time to again bring our focus towards the 2011 season.
Evan Longoria: My resolution to you is to become the strong presence in the Rays clubhouse that evokes and proclaims the true meaning of the “Rays Way”. To take that next huge step to providing a dose of your own leadership ability that will ultimately mix with your teammates to concoct the perfect Rays team chemistry for 2011.

Secondly,if you find the guy who stole your cap and give the Rays Republic his name….We will take care of him.

 
David Price: My resolutionfor Price is pretty simple. Retain that same focused and calm persona that you have projected both on and off the mound. To accept the honorable challenge of being a bigger piece of the Rays puzzle while retaining a high level of confidence that your team is behind you in victory, or in defeat.

In addition, if you need a ghostwriter for a possible book on Pho eating establishments throughout the MLB cities…you know where I sit, and I work cheap (possibly for a steaming bowl of Pho).

 
B J Upton: I know this onemight be hard. I want you to finally let yourself go and go with the flow. Do not hold yourself so accountable for not achieving perfection. It has sometimes hastened your downfall as you tinkered, wallowed and self manipulate yourself into slumps, funks and a bad decisions. Woooo Saaaa!

Secondly I wish for your community/charity efforts to be fruitful. You are one of only a handful of Rays players who’s community interests (BJ’s Bunch) has opened to the Rays Republic another side of you that is sometimes hidden by game day bravado.

 
James Shields: My resolution for “Shieldsy” is to simply take a step back. Maybe by stepping back you can redefine that skill set that got you here to fully reclaim your spot as the Rays “Ace”.

As a two-time Rays Roberto Clemente Award recipient, the continued success of the “Heart Gallery”. I hope more baseball fans around the country in 2011 learn about this photographic and audio exhibit that helps kids in foster care find great family environments.

 
John Jaso: My resolve for you is to keep that internal competitive fire at its optimal level. Your rookie season showed the Rays Republic that your bat and your defense took major strides skywards.

Secondly, to provide inspiration to kids in Tampa Bay that an athlete can be book savvy and math friendly and still compete at the highest level of the sport. Most people outside of Tampa Bay do not know about your love of numbers and analytical equations.

 
Reid Brignac: My resolution for “Brigs” is to take the baseball and just grip it and rip it this season. You have the confidence of Rays Manager Joe Maddon that you can be the vital keystone in the Rays defense. It is time for you to make the rest of the baseball world to take notice and become believers too.

Secondly, we have to find someone else, possibly Bullpen Coach Bobby Ramos to teach you to dance. Doing the “Dougie” for the cameras during the Rays postseason celebration made most of us cringe and wish you did the “Carlton” instead.

 
Matt Garza: This resolution is that you find that internal “happy place” for the entire season. That the events that have put extreme pressure on you in the past will find a path to melt away. Your talent will only be stopped by your own actions and reactions.

Second resolution for you is to somehow eliminate your bad habit of licking your fingers after you grip the resin bag disappears. Resin doesn’t taste good, has no nutritional value, and has solidified that “spittin’ Cobra” moniker. Maybe Price can get you a pail of Double Bubble for 2011.

 
J P Howell: My resolve for you is that you come back as the “Dude”. With that high spirit and confidence on the hill that made you a fan favorite. Even though we might not see you until May, you can be a key member of the Rays Bullpen by bringing your calm nature and competitive fire into the fray on a nightly basis. We really did miss you in 2010.

Secondly, that your charity “Discovery Your Path” which includes the “Healing Hearts Foundation” that helps children and youth facing difficult situations to find the mentoring and life path guidance needed to achieve a meaningful life.

 
Wade Davis: My resolution is for WD-40 to simply just grow into his MLB skin and experience more success in 2011. Some critics were very vocal about Davis throughout the 2010 season. But in reality, Davis posted a better 2010 rookie campaign (12-10 4.07 ERA 113 K’s) than Price’s rookie 2009 campaign (10-7 4.42 ERA, 102 K’s).
 
The second part of the resolution is for Davis and his charity, “Pitch In For Baseball” which accepts game used baseball equipment and distributes them to underprivileged children to finds more success and Nation-wide acclaim.

Jake McGee: My resolution for McGee is that he takes the critical next big step in his Bullpen transformation. McGee will be in competition for a spot in the Rays Bullpen this Spring. He could make the Rays Opening Day roster with a solid Spring with an eye into taking a bigger role with the team by the end of the 2011. Every good outing is another notch on his belt to helping McGee possibly develop into the Rays future closer.

My second resolution for him is a double dose of the first one. He is one of the future linchpins for the Rays.

Desmond Jennings: My resolution for Jennings is for him to develop a thick skin for 2011. He will hear more than a few jeers about Carl Crawford. They key for Jennings might be to put an early exclamation point on his rookie season by showing the Rays outfield game will not take a step back this season. Playing his style of game without compromise will be the ultimate key for Jennings MLB survival in 2011.

Dan Johnson: My resolve for DJ is that he finally feels he belongs in Tampa Bay. Johnson hit one of the more memorable Home Runs in Rays history back in 2008, but has never gained the Rays fans all out support. Whether he is at the DH spot or manning the First Base bag, Johnson needs to announce his presence with authority. A big first month impression can do wonders in silencing the Pena critics.

 

Secondly, DJ, we have to get you a good MP3 file so we can pick you a better walk-up song than “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. It is catchy, but it drives me simply insane trying to not stand up and do the dance mannerisms…Seriously!

Sean Rodriguez: My resolution for S-Rod is that he can finally feel secure at Second Base for the Rays. We all know he has mad skills all over the diamond, but I would love for him to find a root system at Second. His timely hits and great defensive presence is a testament to his work ethic and his talents.

My second resolution for Rodriguez is that someone teach him the “Stingray Shuffle” this Spring so that we do not have to worry about his Gulf of Mexico activities on Rays home off days.

There are so many other Rays players in the Rays roster that need to have great resolute seasons to put their name on the lips of the baseball public in 2011.

Hope you enjoyed my small journey into some of my hopes and wants for the Rays in 2011. There is a link attached to each players charity if you would like to explore and learn more about their efforts outside of the ballpark to help those in and around our baseball world.

 

14 Comments

Nicely done. My favorite was the resolution for Garza to stop licking his fingers! LOL.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I think people (albeit not the Rays Republic) are vastly underestimating this year’s Rays squad. Carl Crawford or no, this is still a very good baseball team and one that is certainly capable of ruining October plans for the Yankees and Red Sox. Good job with the resolultions…now I just have to hope that they are not fulfilled! ;)

Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

Jane,
When I was told why he was always spitting because the taste of the resin just wasn’t his thing, I instantly wondered why he did not chew gum.
Instead Garza went with sunflower seeds that he packs into his cheek before he leaves the dugout. That is the shell-like fragments you see basically floating out of his mouth now.
Still not sure if he is a BBQ, Ranch or regular sunflower guy….no one seems to want to tell me…..might be another key to his success.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

My new Year’s resolution is Matt Garza finds happiness in a Cubs uniform.

—Mark Gauthier

http://cubden.mlblogs.com/

Scott,
Every team in our division has made some sort of improvement or stayed the course but the Rays. There changes have been mnore cosmetic than an improvement.
That being said, this division is never a sure thing. Even the recent comparisons of the 1927 Yankees to the 2011 Red Sox is insane until the last out of 2011 for even a comparison without bias.
Too many things can happen, will happen to all five of our teams that one is guaranteed a postseason berth, and the other has to earn it.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I hope your resolutions for Garza come true, I will hope even more so that they happen for the Cubs. I read a rumor that the two teams were talking and Garza’s name came up. I’d also like to see what would happen if Dan Johnson got 500+ at-bats in a season. I think that dude could hit 30HR’s if he had the chance.
http://wrigleyregular.mlblogs.com/

Mark,
Not sure if that resolution will be fulfilled, but it could happen around July 31st. I think the Cubs would have to knock the Rays socks off to get a trade before the Trade Deadline for Garza. I can see him either being traded at the deadline or in the 2011 offseason since his salary will bump to possibly over $ 6 million.
But with less than a handful of Rays players making over $ 4.5 million, I think a mid-Summer move is more in the cards…..But you never know!

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Rays Renagade,
Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I was greatly blessed by it, and I hope that you have the best success with your blog this year. This year in MLB is definitely going to be good. We saw so many special things in the 2010 season, there’s gotta be even better things this year. Thanks again, and Happy New Year!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Russel,
When the Rays signed Dan Johnson 3 years ago to a minor league deal I was excited because he was a young player who showed great potential. Then the Rays shipped him off to Japan for a season and I truly never thought he would be back with the franchise.
But he did return and I agree that he has great plate discipline along with power and could be a tick better than Carlos Pena in run production if the Rays utilize him right.
I guess this Spring it will be Johnson’s time to either grab the reins and lead, or again find himself behind the 8-ball.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Kaybee,
You are very welcome.
I always try and check out the Top 50 as much as possible. Heck, I might be a small percentage of the total page views, but I definitely have seen a lot of great writing taking shape over the last year.
With more people starting up blogs every day, it sometimes still blows me away that I am even near the summit some months.
Just glad so many of us have developed a bond and following so we can keep the flow going of people also wanting to write, give their opinions and promote their teams.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Fun list and I especially like the shout outs to the different players’ charities. Sounds like you have some really good guys on Rays, on and off the field. And I think Dan Johnson can announce his presence with authority even with the Safety Dance. I remember watching the Angels last series in Tampa Bay in 2010 and thinking Who would walk up to the Safety Dance? right before the ball sailed into the stands for a homerun.
– Kristen

Kristen.
Got to tell you, some night I actually think I dream these blogs. I know that sounds insane, but some days I am not sure where the ideas come from so quick and with such sharp edges. I think I had to have done them ala REM sleep-style.
Johnson has a unique chance in 2011 to make his mark. The Rays brought in Carlos Pena in 2007 on a minor league deal, and he vaulted within 4 years to getting a $ 10 million dollar deal from the Cubs.
Sometimes I think a team like the Rays with their pauroll limitations can give a guy like Johnson, and Pena before him a chance to prove they are MLB caliber players.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jeff,
Considering it is his 2nd arbitration year, and he could get almost $ 5 million, it is time to produce. I have always been a huge B J Upton supporter and have had his back for a long time, but it is simply time…..period.
I understand his struggles and the mental part of it all, but at $5 million, that will be at the top tier of the Rays salary ceiling.
If he doesn’t produce by July, he will be a definite trade deadline fish on the hook. Heck, he might be anyways.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I hope (for y’all’s sake) that the Upton resolution comes true. That dude better bring it this year. You’re gonna need it.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

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