As the 2014 World Series plays its seventh and final game this evening to determine whether or not Kansas City’s Royals or San Francisco’s Giants become the best team in baseball this year, changes amongst Tampa Bay’s franchise are worth looking at.
Last week, it was announced that Joe Maddon would not return as the team’s manager, and it presently appears he is headed to Chicagoland to become the new skipper of the Cubs.
I cannot nor will not blame Maddon for wanting fair value for his services. When Andrew Freidman left his general manager post with the Rays to join the Dodgers, it gave Maddon the loophole to opt out of managing the Rays in 2015. Did the Rays ownership screw up? I don’t think so.
As was the case with the David Price decision, I think this was all about money, and how with a 10% drop in attendance, that money is not coming in. I went to a Rays game in September, and I saw what they were charging for photos, concessions, and what not. The Rays attempts to squeeze the almighty dollar ought of the pockets of the fans means one thing: THEIR pocketbooks are hurting.
Rumors are circulating once again that the Rays might move to Montreal. If so, they have every right to do it, but if that does happens, the fate of Tampa Bay’s franchise was sealed the minute they were awarded it by not moving all the minor league teams out of the Tampa Bay area, as I mentioned on this blog beforehand. When Major League Baseball moved into Miami in 1993, the minor league teams all fled to the north and west of their area. In 1998, all the minor leagues teams in the Florida State League stayed put in the local area.
The Rays still have players that can compete in 2015, but Joe Maddon brought a little edge with him as manager that will be hard to replace, whether that replacement is David Martinez or somebody else. I hope for the best in the coming seasons for the Rays, but I prepare for the worst.