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Jake's Take: Time for the Yearly Offseason Rant

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What do you want, Lindsay Lohan?"
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I dunno what it is about the offseason, but this is when my blood starts to boil and I got easily irriated from things that I hear or read. While I could easily go on a nonsensical, rambling rant, I'd like to break it down into a few different sections.

1. Why does living in Illinois mean that I don't have a viable pulse on the doings of the NDRO in Florida?

When I get into arguments with other Rays fans, they usually use where I living as a negative point. I'm usually told that I can't "feel the pain that a Rays fan goes through" just because I'm not around from the area. In my defense, I hear it worse from Cubs/White Sox fans who ask me dumb questions.

"When are the Rays going to be eliminated, it's not like they've done anything?"

"Which one of their top players are they going to trade next?"

It's basically the same questions that I get asked, in different tones and variations. I've called in many of Chicago radio shows and outright confronted dumb chicago hosts who spout out classless rumors or spread false generalizations towards the Rays. You don't know how disgusting it is to read the "Sun Times" and read that the Rays are willing to pawn off Crawford to the highest bidder because "they can't financially support a player of Crawford's calibur and would rather pawn him off for prospects."

While I may not be hearing the TB radio media who are constantly playing "backseat GM"(moreso burying the team with crap) or reading horrible writers like Joe Henderson doing his best Bill Plaschke impression by giving up on the NDRO midway through their first year because they wouldn't give an aging Webster look-alike a 5 yr, 40+ MIL deal. I've got nothing against Lugo, but his 2006 numbers with the Rays were obvious FLUKE/Contract Year numbers and not consistent with his career numbers.

I instead have to hear about Chicago White Sox reminising about 2005, when people forget that they hadn't won a World Series since the year BEFORE the infamous 1918 Red Sox. There's no consolation for listening to the Cubs radio shows, whose team's WS drought is nearing it's centennial. Chicago writers Jay Marriotti(manicured eyebrows and all) and Greg Couch(check out Fire Joe Morgan.com for humorous look at Greg Couch & "you know whats") who proclaimed Lou Piniella an obvious better candidate as a manager than Joe Girardi, who had a 14 MIL payroll team contending for a Wild Card spot.

And you guys think that JP Peterson, Steve Duemig, Ron & Ian and Dan Sileo are idiots?

2. Some Rays fans whose pessimism grows by the day/hour/minute.

When listening to the now infamous "Silverman/Friedman Interview" on Ron & Ian last week, I can't tell how disgusted I was with Rays fans who were basically giving the NDRO a 1-year deadline to prove themselves(with a .500 or better record) or "they're gone". People complaining about the money that they'd "dumped" into the Rays year-in-and-year-out and they've waited long enough for it to show up on the field.

I keep using the "Rome wasn't built in a day" phrase when dealing with people asking "when?" when it comes to when we're going to contend for a playoff spot and become a consistent "winning team". After Rays spent 7 out of the 8 years without being really vocal/doing something(the infamous "white out"), Rays fans have somehow learned to be impatient and overly vocal in under a year with the NDRO.

I think Jay Bradley's aforementioned article a month or so ago on Raysbaseball said it best, basically saying that the NDRO has done so much that has been overlooked/unnoticed to the organizations' infrastructure to undue all the past failures of the ODRO and mistakes of the past to set ourselves up for a better tommorrow.

Why are Rays fans settling for a .500 record? The Tigers were historically bad a few years ago and we haven't hit that critical limit, where were they a few weeks ago?

If it means that we've got to wait longer than expected to get the best product on the field...so be it.

All those fans making those demands/ultimatums will be back, too.

Kinda like the "Field of Dreams" quote, "If you built it, they will come."

3. Rays fans who believe that Rocco or Crawford aren't forseeable parts of the Rays future and should be conceivabley traded in the next 3 years when their value is at it's highest.

If we didn't see either as a formidble part of our foundation, why would we have locked them up to a long-term deal in the first place?

My main problem is that basically that the players that have been connected to Crawford rumors are players who have played 1 or 2 years in the majors or just out of the minors. Why would we trade a player that has improved every year that he's been with us, for a player who may have had 1 great year and should still be considered unproven?

Why are we so itchy to pull a trigger on a trade that would get rid of Rocco, when he's shown nice strides in improving his hitting flaws and is probably the best overall/most consistent OFer that we have? His injury concerns? Give the guy a chance, he almost matched his career totals in HRs in a half season and appears to have more power potential that Crawford?

Who do we have to replace Crawford or Rocco? Dukes, who has yet to set foot on the turf at the Trop and has a questionable past? Upton, who has never played the OF in his life and has yet to get a full season in at 3B? While many say that Upton and Dukes' track records, statistically, could surpass Crawford and Baldelli...it remains to be seen that they actually can.

Why not be happy that we've got what's already being considered "The Best Young Outfield in all Baseball"?

Why not be happy that we've got Rocco locked in for the next 2 years for a combined 3 MIL and Crawford at a combined 11 MIL(for the guy that's leading the AL in SBs and Triples, while starting to appear as a threat to hit over 20 HRs as well)?

Why not consider trading Dukes or Upton first?