Those Pesky Rays

As a Blue Jays fan, it’s in my DNA to have a strong disdain for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. It’s as if I am programmed to hate these two teams … and very soon, I might just have to add a third team to the mix.

For the first time in the last 16 series in Tampa Bay, the Blue Jays had an opportunity to win a series at Tropicana Field. Although they came very close, Toronto could not snap the streak … and so it stands as 17 straight series losses in Tampa Bay.

The Tampa Bay Rays are truly becoming the new Kryptonite of the Toronto Blue Jays.


It used to be that taking two of three or even a series weep at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park was one of the most gratifying things as a Jays fan. But now I just want the Blue Jays to win a damn series at Tropicana Field.

The unfortunate thing is my disdain is completely unwarranted towards the Rays because their organization is going about things the right way. Unlike the Red Sox or Yankees, they aren’t delving out $100+ million dollar contracts and driving up prices in the free agent market.

It’s not even a David and Goliath scenario when the Blue Jays stack up against the Rays, if anything it’s a David/David battle. So that’s what makes it even tougher to hate the Rays because they’re doing a lot with a very minimal payroll.

The Tampa Bay Rays are taking reclamation projects like Luke Scott and Fernando Rodney and turning their careers around. The Rays are signing blue chip prospects who seemingly have a day or two big league experience to long term deals.

This is an organization that announced during the 2010 off-season that they were actually looking to cut spending … and they still made the playoffs. It’s almost the polar opposite of what happened to the Blue Jays during the 2005 off-season, where they ramped up spending considerably and missed out on the post-season.

The one area where I think the Blue Jays currently have the upper hand on the Rays is the trade market. Alex Anthopoulos is very good at his ability to extract high ceiling talent from other teams and maximize their potential in a new environment with the Blue Jays.

However, the Rays have stockpiled so many prospects in trades over the years that at least of of them will pay dividends eventually. The results from their trades may not have come to fruition yet, but the reinforcements are likely on their way.

I just really miss the days when the Blue Jays used to steamroll the Rays. Those days are now long gone, and every victory over Tampa Bay feels like the Blue Jays dodged a bullet.

So really, all this anger is misplaced towards the Tampa Bay Rays. I say anger, but what I really mean is jealously.


The Red Sox and Yankees may be the classic division rivals, but I’d safely say the Rays are now the team to beat for the Blue Jays.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

8 thoughts on “Those Pesky Rays

  • May 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I hate the fact that when a beat up, broken down, old, washed up closer goes to Tampa he suddenly thrives (see: Fernando Rodney, Kyle Farnsworth, Troy Percival, Rafael Soriano).

    I agree though – I shouldn't hate Tampa as much as I do.

    But I can't help it…

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:46 am

      I know, all those reclamation project relievers always seem to hit it big in Tampa Bay. What's up with that?

  • May 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    'Pesky' is not the word I would use. Not strong enough.

    I hate the Rays more than Boston and NYY. Seriously.

  • May 24, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I've hated the Rays for a while now. What good is a playoff team that no one watches? Just contract them already and save us all the grief.

  • May 25, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Its funny, I was thinking this exact thing earlier today. I turned the corner from mosquito-like annoyance to full on red hate yesterday and I think it might last a while.

  • May 25, 2012 at 3:21 am

    I partially agree with them being a team no one watches but they also have a horrible ballpark that people don't want to visit. Give them a decent outdoor park and I bet they would draw more fans. Still, when the Jays were good in the '80's, The Mistake By The Lake still drew a lot of fans. Therefore, ballpark can't be the only reason for poor attendance.

    P.S. if they were contracted, let's hope we get some of their great pitchers:-)

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:49 am

      If you can believe it, Game 162 last year in Tampa only drew 29,000 fans. And their ALDS games only brought in 32K and 28K fans, so there really must be something at work preventing them from drawing fans to the park.

      Because I think anywhere else, that stadium would be packed with a team in contention and in the playoffs.

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