The Rays 2016 season was, to say the least, disappointing. The approach of Thanksgiving, however, gives us a good reason to review some of the silver linings within the otherwise dark clouds. Even in a down season, fans can find things to celebrate, either from the season past or anticipated in the season to come. Below some of our masthead staff have shared their baseball-related points of gratitude. We look forward to reading yours in the comments.
- All the days that Kevin Kiermaier was not injured, and we got to see what center field artistry looks like. And the green eyes.
- Chris Archer interviews. He’s always got something to say. When that something is about dentistry it’s not such a good thing, but on baseball he’s pretty astute.
- Some really good broadcasters. Brian Anderson is at times the only thing keeping me tuned in when we’re three hours in, five runs behind, and it’s only the 5th inning. Neil Solondz provides intelligence and insight across the Rays system.
- Evan Longoria’s excellent year. His power was back, and he still has Baryshnikov-like grace at third base. Over the past four seasons he’s played in all but six games. Not bad for a guy dubbed “injury prone” not long ago.
- The trip to Cuba. It was great to see the Rays in the national and international spotlight, playing the role of athlete-diplomats. The entire organization rose to meet this challenge.
I’m thankful for this community, including those who read and comment (essenpee, andersbot and the rest), those who read and don’t comment (and even those who comment and don’t read....), and to my writing brothers and sister here who stuck with it the entire year, despite a dreary product presented by the Rays.
Although I haven’t participated in the comments as much I used to, I remain appreciative that my words can drive conversation and debate.
I’m thankful for the Rays who grace us with games 162 times a year, for Neil Solondz taking the time to both ask and answer questions, and for all the members of the front office and coaching staff.
I’m thankful for having the Rays to follow. If I were a general baseball fan, bouncing around the league from game to game, I’d be lost in the small sample size wilderness. You can’t understand Chris Archer if you watch him pitch five times. You’ve got a better shot if you do it 25 times. Being a fan of a single team makes you smarter and is far more rewarding.
And I’m very thankful to Danny for taking over managing the site when my life changed and I needed to step back into a smaller role. He’s a bundle of enthusiasm and a joy to work with.
I'm thankful for Jim Hickey and the Rays' pitching coaches. Their methods always seem to allow the Rays to have a competitive edge. Thanks to them, we Rays fans continue to be spoiled by consistently elite pitching. I have loved watching Rays pitching for a while, and I can thank Hickey and co. for that.
I’m thankful for rookie contracts, KK's eyes, Archer’s words, Longo’s resurgence, the markedly improved farm system, the retention of Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander atop the Rays front office.
I’m thankful for this writing staff, your readership, and for the everyday nature of baseball, an ever-present distraction in our lives.
I am thankful for the forum to write and discuss things with Rays fans. I also am thankful that the region has a baseball team that I can follow, and it is one that had a pretty great run of unexpected greatness. If it weren’t for the down times I don’t think that the 2008 playoffs and Game 162 would evoke the same euphoric feelings. May the Rays farm in the near future help produce more of these highs and successfully deliver a World Series victory to the region.
I am thankful that Evan Longoria is still a Ray. If he never signed the first extension he would have been gone 2 or more years ago and if he didn’t sign the second extension he would be a free agent this off-season. My inner fan absolutely loves the fact that the Rays have been able to keep a face of the franchise around for the long run and hope he retires a Ray.
I am thankful for the Rays ability to find good prospects in the later rounds of the draft. I am thankful for their ability to develop great pitchers. I am thankful that they haven't moved to Montreal yet, and I'm thankful for all of the editors here that make me look like I can write coherent sentences.
We are all grateful to be part of this community of writers, editors, readers and commenters where we can feel a little less alone with our baseball obsessions, and we owe a special thanks to Danny Russell who keeps all the balls in the air while managing a real life as well. Finally, we thank our spouses, partners, kids, parents, grandparents and other assorted loved ones who may raise a skeptical eyebrow about the hours we spend thinking, watching, writing and arguing Rays baseball, but who stick with us nonetheless.