Basketball has the shot clock, football the play clock, and boxing the round time limits. Baseball lacks arbitrary period measures and refuses truncation in face of convenience. Outs, then, become the time standard. The more outs a team has remaining, the longer the game will endure. Life's version of outs is, well, time itself. Much like a baseball team sacrifice bunting and forgoing a potential hit or walk, if one takes time out of his day to spend five minutes or five hours working on something with or for you, then in effect they've given you the most valuable thing in life.
Throughout the off-seasons, numerous members of the Rays' front office answered question after question for the site. Clearly there were more motives at work than just being nice -- the public relations boost and notoriety factor are nice, and on our end, the extra hits and recognition are much appreciated -- but it never felt like anyone involved was doing it just for the extra incentives. We asked questions and they answered them to spread knowledge to the fan base.
You can tell a lot about a front office by how it treats their supporters. The offices that shun away interrogation, instead opting for tired clichés or keywords like process, are probably hiding something - perhaps incompetence. The Rays not only encourage communication and knowledge, but they go as far as to engage it. Infallibility is for the gods and mythological beings created in hagiographies.
This fan base needed something extraterrestrial to reinvigorate and reproduce the brand. Nothing lasts forever though. Not a game, not a life, not rain, nor a reign. For now, we have the best front office in baseball, and maybe all sports. I pen corny posts about appreciating fan favorites all the time, but this is the most declarative. Save some room in your fandom for these guys before it's too late.
I just spent a half hour and 350 words to say thanks to the front office. After the time they gave us over the off-season, it's the least I can do.
Partially inspired by Shawn Hoffman. Some team should hire him.