Goodbye to Some Old Rays Baseball Ideas | The Process Report

Goodbye to Some Old Rays Baseball Ideas

Now that some of the initial shock has worn off, it’s time to address what Andrew Friedman’s departure means.

For Friedman it means an easier (though by no means easy) lifestyle. He gets to keep the sunshine, shed the tight budget restrains, and bask in the additional fame (and, in all likelihood, salary) that comes with the Dodgers. Who can blame him for leaving? Trading the likes of David Price and James Shields year after year had to wear him down—just writing about those departures wore us down. That he lasted almost a decade in these conditions is a testament to his stubbornness to see things through.

There are going to be feelings of desertion and resentment, that much is unavoidable. It turns out not every small-market executive dreams of being Billy Beane. When they pass—if they pass—it’ll be worth remembering how far the franchise came under Friedman’s watch. Writing that he saved professional baseball in Tampa Bay is overzealous, but he might’ve helped create some of the moments that one day will save professional baseball in Tampa Bay. Bitter ending or not, there were many more good times under Friedman than bad—and even the bad beat the franchise’s norm before he arrived.

But what about these lonely, new times—could they be as good?

For the Rays, Friedman’s departure means … well who knows what it means? There’s an ominous air to the entire situation, since it suggests something could (or could not) be happening at other levels of the franchise. Because the baseball operations department is all but quarantined from the other compartments of the franchise, and because none of those guys would talk anyway, there’s no point dissecting what Matthew Silverman’s promotion means. Nobody outside those walls knows how much the next nine seasons will resemble the last nine. Heck, nobody bloody knows whether the franchise will continue to exist inside those walls for the next nine seasons.

You hope the rest remains mostly in tact. You hope Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and the other mainstays return. You hope this bunch gets a shot at redemption; another opportunity to prove that the Tampa Bay franchise remains resilient no matter who leaves for greener lawns and brighter lights. Then again, you hoped this day wouldn’t come until after a championship parade. You seldom get what you hope for.

So for those of us without an escape clause, a Tropicana Field office, or some combination of the two, the best we can do is take the coming days and enjoy the remaining postseason. Perhaps Shields and Wade Davis can get their hands on the World Series trophy, just as we wanted them to during their time down here. With so much uncertainty about the franchise, living vicariously their success could be the closest we get to experiencing such joy from postseason baseball again anytime soon.

But perhaps this hopeless vibe will fade. Perhaps in a few weeks, everything will be okay again. I’ve wrote before that it felt like the Rays would always have a chance to compete so long as they had Friedman, Maddon, and Longoria. Two out of three ain’t so bad. Right?



2 Comments

  1. Was hoping this piece would help but now I feel more hopeless than ever… skyway?

  2. Just playing RJ (and co.) thanks for not leaving the blog behind with him.

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