Jake's Take: Three Years of Thoughts

Editor's Note: Since Tommy and RJ returned for the playoffs, we figured it'd be fun to turn these playoffs into Old Home Days for our DRaysBay alumni. Sadly, the Rays got knocked out early on, but that won't stop us from welcoming back old friends.

I was talking to Steve the other day, and he pointed out to me how time has flown: I haven't posted here in over three years.

Wow, has it really been that long? Amazing, when you think about it. Also, amazing how DRB has taken off since then. Gotta hand it to the guys here.

It really puts things in perspective how things, people, and baseball can change -- both for the better and for the worse.

-In a draft, that I had ultimately scrapped, I put my return into comparison with DanJo's infrequent returns. I may not be a great full-time guy, but in my short stints....I can deliver. However, I don't dare consider myself "Stu's guy" as it's rumored that Silverman and Friedman refer to Dan as. Speaking of Dan Johnson, it's quite interesting how he is a great example of a "Moneyball" guy and Oakland even used him that way; however they eventually passed him over and released him.

-Three years ago also marked the team's exorcism and the unveiling of the "Waterfront Stadium" that was eventually rejected. I could be wrong about this, but I'm thinking part of the reason for the initial plan's rejection was due to the team never really sustaining a winning stretch. Four seasons later (four consecutive winning seasons, might I add) and three playoff appearances, the Rays have shown that they can win with a low-payroll, an adequate-sized payroll and a slashed payroll. They've even been able to attract "star" players, despite the Manny debacle, to play for the team.

-Not sure if everybody agrees with me, but this season's run to the playoffs probably has out-shined both division titles. This team was built around it's pitching and defense more so than the other 2 Rays playoff teams and really never showed a high-scoring run until it's September rush. Just amazing baseball to watch. I'm sure many of you can attest that last Wednesday's game clips have been repeated as much on your computer screens as they have on mine.

-I know it's a cliche, but to think that the Rays' window on winning is closing....that's totally wrong. If anything, the Rays continual waves of prospects seems to get stronger and stronger. I know it's quite dumb to think a team could win a championship with a ~95% homegrown roster, but if any franchise could....it'll be the Rays. The team is steadily improving in player development and the strong drafts will no-doubt continue. Did anyone else think that the Rays would've gotten the big name picks to sign on deadline day as cheaply as they did? I sure didn't. Also, signing 60+% of their picks is a pretty big coup in itself.

-Yes, that's me and my tattoo-adorned chest and playoff beard if you click my profile pic. My recent tattoo is the samoan-style Manta Ray that is being focused on in the picture.

On a final note, I'd like to thank everyone for continuing to support the Rays and DRB as you do. Never did I ever imagine how big this site could get, and how great the Rays have become. Also, I'd like to thank everyone involved to allow me to return in any capacity. You may notice a few postings by me in the future, so don't be alarmed. I may even write how I may have renounce the "CGOB" to one Mr. Brignac.

Thanks everybody and go Rays!

-Jake

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