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Jake's Take: State of Paranoia

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We don't sell crazy here, ma'am"
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Who put this sign up?

It all started with a Hickey, kinda like a "Jerry Springer Episode. Now stories, left and right, going on about the Rays. What could be happening, what is happening, whose doing who and who killed who in the kitchen with a candlestick holder.

For those who complained about last year's lack of anything between "Stu's Takeover" and "Braz-for-Burroughs", this year is full of stories.

Something's Gotta Give Part III: Hickey Vs. Xavier

This originally was going to be a full-fledged story in itself, but thanks to the announcement of our coaching staffs for each team...there's no need.

Many wondered "What does Hickey bring that Xavier doesn't?"

My answer: A Pennant under his belt and "new blood".

For those who question why do we keep building to build from within, keeping it homegrown and very low maintenance, Hickey is an unknown commodity who has been successful elsewhere. He managed to maintain one of the NL's best overall pitching staffs, while enduring many major ordeals(Rocket holdout, injuries, Lidge's implosion and crappy SP prospects). His mission here is to figure out how to get the most out of our rotation(whatever it may be) while not killing what will more than likely be a very young and inexperienced bullpen.

With this may be Maddon's last year on the team, Hickey's hiring is a "make or break" decision that may keep Maddon's job. Why not put the man responsible for making Oswalt one of the best pitchers in the NL in charge of our pitching staff? Remember, Montoya and Xavier are in Durham and are near the tip top of the organizational ladder.

Never knew that Walk Disney and Hee Seop Choi would be mentioned with our beloved Devil Rays

There's been 2 major topics on the chatrooms/message boards/Devil Rays blogs these days, The Possibility of a 3 Game "Home Away From Home" Series in Orlando and the 1.95 Million Dollar Man Hee Seop Choi.

The ironic thing, money plays a big issue in both of these topics.

Most fans wonder why the Rays would take a chance by allowing the team to play 3 Home Games in Orlando, pissing off them of to no end. Why try to expand the fanbase when the NDRO has yet to touch every base in it's own locale?

Why?

Baseball is a business and the Marlins seem like a liklier team to leave Florida than the Rays are.

Why does that mean anything?

When, not if, the Marlins are ever moved(seeing as Floridians aren't ever going to fund a stadium for a"Triannual Firesale" team.), we're going to be the only Florida team. While we may be the only baseball team in the future, we're not going to automatically get a sudden increase in fans. We need to figure out ways to attract fans from other parts of Florida to go to St. Petersburg and watch the Rays play. If that means that we're going to have to associate ourselves with Disney and play a 3-game series in a small stadium overlooking Epcott, so be it.

Many fans think it's basically a slap in the face of Rays fans that we'd force them to drive to Orlando to watch an entire 3 games.

Why is that?

If you go to a Rays series against the Yankees or Boston, let me know how many Rays fans you'll be able to pick out in the crowd.

Two things about the entire Orlando thing riles me up the most:

  1. It's not even official, it's in the infant stages of negotiations.
  2. We don't even know which series it would be.
As for Hee Seop Choi, many Rays fans were bickering how Choi has underperformed for his entire career and how he's not worth the 1.95 MIL.

As we all know, with the updates, the money isn't guaranteed unless he plays in the majors. So he's basically a NRI(Non-roster Invitee) who has to fight his way onto the 40-Man roster and basically has to win the 1B job outright. Now, he's fighting for a spot that is turning into it's own Battle Royale. So in the microscopic chance that Choi wins the 1B job, it means that he deserved and earned the spot.

A few years ago, Boston took a chance on some scrub named David Arias. David Arias Ortiz finished 2nd in MVP voting in 2005, if I recall correctly. Now Sam has already pointed this out, but Choi's minor league numbers dwarfed Ortiz's minor league numbers. Some Dodger fans believe that Choi was unjustly let go by Ned and if given a chance, Choi is a possible "sleeper". We took a chance on a guy last year who just needed a full season of ABs to prove himself in, his name was Ty Wiggington. In my mind, I think Choi is a better hitter and fielder than Wiggy is.