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Jake's Take: A Feel-Good Story

"Playoffs?"- Jim Mora

First of all, I'd like to pass along the merriest of Christmas wishes to everyone. Christmas comes but once a year and should be spent with friends and family, so we're fortunate if you take time out of such a busy day to visit our little site.

So, why did I use a Jim Mora quote?

Right now, many Rays fans are questioning the ideas of the front office. The main problem is that we've got so much lee-way with expendable players, but it seems that the Rays Front Office seems more content with keeping the surplus of players than trading them for players that would be more useful to our team than a 3rd First Baseman, a 2nd Shortstop, 5th Outfielder or 4th DH would.

Again, why did I use a Jim Mora quote?

Did anyone really expect the New Orleans Saints, whose past mirrors that of ours' and it's name being synonymous with "losing", to be running away with the NFC South Division and on the inside-track to a 1st Round bye? This is the same New Orleans team that was the 2nd worst team in the NFL last year and took it's chances with a new coach, a quarterback coming off of shoulder surgery and a running back known more for his big plays than his ball-carrying skills. This is the same New Orleans team that had "Home-away-from-Home" Games last year and many of it's players had their houses flooded by the deluge brought forth by Hurricane Katrina.

Faith. Confidence. Perseverance.

Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Reggie Bush bought into 1, 2 or all 3 of these when they decided to sign on with New Orleans. Drew Brees could've chosen otherwise, after Sean Payton and him got lost traveling around New Orleans, but he had enough confidence that there was something "special" about the philosophy of the New Orleans Organization and coaching staff to sign on with a team coming off an abysmal season. Not a peep was heard from Brees when Donte Stallworth, who had been New Orleans top WR in terms of both ability and performance, was traded and left him with Joe Horn and a trio of WRs that many haven't heard of (an undrafted Devery Henderson, Dallas Cowboys throw-away Terrance Copper and "The Pride of Hofstra" Marquis Colston)

Many Rays fans groan about another 100+ game losing season, but think about what Saints fans were put through in 2005. A 3-13 season, where they finished 2nd to last in points scored and gave up the 4th most amount of points and playing in 3 different "home" venues(New York, Baton Rouge and San Antonio). We complain about playing 3 games out of Tropicana Field, by choice, but we're lucky that we've never had to use Tropicana as a relief center at the scale that the Superdome was used. Hometown fans weren't using their paperbags for masks, but to carry supplies needed to sustain themselves.

Football may not be the same as baseball, obviously, but New Orleans fits the Rays' mold more than the Houston Texans do. Wealth of talent, but all the pieces haven't been placed together to finish the "big picture".

I'm not predicting a Saints-like turnaround for 2007, but I'm also not counting one out.