After the 2008 season, after their heart-breaking, rain-drenched loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays did something that shocked fans and raised expectations throughout the baseball world: They signed a free agent. A Phillies slugger, no less!
At the time the Rays inked him to a 2-year $16M contract, Burrell was coming off a 33 home run season and nasty .250/.367/.507 slash. The rest is -- as they say -- the history of fan genocide.
Burrell hit a terrible .218/.311/.361 -- a .672 OPS! -- in a season-and-change with the Rays. Eventually, they had to release him, whereupon he fled to San Francisco, back to the NL, where he mustered an .827 OPS just to spite Rays fans.
Maybe it was the AL East? May it was the DH? Maybe it was the spiky Florida plants? (It was probably the DH.) But for some reason, Burrell never Burrell'd for the Rays, and he became an icon of hate for Rays fans who had such high expectations for 2009.
Goodbye Pat. We will always miss you for the awesome season that wasn't.