5 Reasons to Root for the Rays in the Wild Card Race

5 Reasons to Root for the Rays in the Wild Card Race
 
Despite getting out to an early division lead to start the season, the Tampa Bay Rays tailed off mid-season and were quickly relegated to working for the Wild Card. It just so happened that their biggest hurdle was Boston. At nine games behind the Red Sox to start September, most people dismissed them, figured Boston and New York were bound to butt heads once again in another epic playoff series.  The Rays had other ideas. With the help of the collapsing Red Sox, the Rays are tied going into tonight's games. New names like Jeremy Hellickson, Desmond Jennings, and Matt Moore have contributed at different times throughout the season to keep the Rays chugging along. The Rays might need this, but the MLB and the state of Florida needs it more. The real moneyball is in the hands of Tampa Bay. Here's why you should root for them to keep throwing strikes

1. Money
The Rays have the second lowest team salary in the league at $41,932,171. Compare that to the Yankees with $196,854,630 and the Red Sox at $160,257,476. Yet, just six teams have more wins than the Rays, and only four teams have better run differentials. It’s like everybody else is buying $300,000 Lambos and Ferraris when the Rays are getting the same horsepower with a Shelby GT Mustang for $60,000.

2. GM Andrew Friedman
The man is only 34 years old, he got into the Rays front office because he knew the current president Matt Silverman and his only baseball experience is playing in the outfield at Tulane. On top of all that, he let Matt Garza, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Rafael Soriano, and Joaquin Benoit go because the Rays couldn’t afford them. Yet, he is still on the verge of leading this team to the playoffs for the third time in four years. Basically, he’s just cooler than your team’s GM. Besides, Red Sox fans should be happy he’s doing well at the moment. Rumors have it the Cubs are going to try and steal him away from the AL to break their own cursed dry spell.

3. History
No team has ever entered September nine games back and still made the playoffs. We’re not saying that this kind of comeback is cooler than the Red Sox beating the Yankees after being down 3-1 (honestly, one of the greatest stories ever), but just think about how insanely amazing it is to make up nine games in one month. This team hasn’t even been around 15 years, but they desperately need some achievement badges to add some depth to this franchise.

4. Florida/Tampa Bay
This state is just in shambles. The economy is one of the worst in the U.S., it is constantly threatened by hurricanes, Tropicana Field would better serve as a giant orange amusement park for a juice company and the “fans” in the sunshine state have absolutely no appreciation for what they have. The Marlins have the third-worst attendance and the Rays have second-worst. That’s right, a team in one of the most exciting comebacks in MLB history has an average attendance of 18,694. These guys just need a little love and support.

5. Damon and Farnsworth
$7.85 million of the team’s payroll is going to DH Johnny Damon and closer Kyle Farnsworth. Johnny Damon has been in the league for 16 seasons and is playing on his sixth AL team, third from the AL East. He has previously played crucial roles for both the Yankees and the Red Sox, yet he is now presented with the opportunity to help screw both of them over in a single playoff pursuit. His stats haven’t been amazing, but he’s showed up when they’ve needed him most. Believe it or not, Farnsworth has played for four of the teams that Damon has been on (Royals, Yankees, Tigers, and Rays). So, Red Sox fans, if your team isn’t able to take out the guys in pinstripes, at least these guys can.
Tags: tampa-bay-rays, andrew-friedman, johnny-damon, kyle-farnsworth, mlb, baseball, florida
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