The Rays victory over the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday night was their 82nd, clinching the Rays third consecutive winning season. As someone who lived through the severely lean years (and by that I mean watching them play...on purpose...and caring about the outcome of games that were doomed before the words "PLAY BALL!" were yelled), I feel obligated to celebrate this miniature milestone. Expectations are justifiably higher for this franchise now and that's truly wonderful but I think it's still important to appreciate an achievement that was almost unimaginable just a few short years ago.â†µ
By the same token, it should be noted that Rays manager Joe Maddon is only one game below .500 for his career. This is notable because there have been exactly 20 men to serve as managers or head coaches of major league professional sports franchises in Tampa Bay, and exactly three of them (John Tortorella, Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy) posted winning records.â†µ
So here's a small toast to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays. Mediocrity is nice but thanks for making us expect much, much more.