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Best of September’s DRaysBay Community FanPosts

You guys really love a good best/worst list.

MLB: Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There are few things I enjoy more than discovering a well-written FanPost. In fact, FanPosts are how a lot of SB Nation sites find new voices for their blogs. So it’s a real treat for me, especially, when I put out a FanPost prompt that garners real attention.

I didn’t expect so many people to reply to the Best/Worst of 2018 prompt, but A LOT of you did. And beyond that, September was a really great month overall for participation.

So here’s some of the great stuff that stood out last month.

In “Getting My Hair Cut in Center Field,” user peter.m.gordon1 shared a really unique story about attending a quiet Rays-Orioles game in early September, where they also got their hair cut as part of a charity drive. Beyond the cool experience, it was just a great piece overall about attending live games and why Rays fans should be proud of what they have.

Still it was great to see Bauers get a hit, Kiermaier get two, Ciuffo get another hit, and Mallex use his speed on the bases. The Rays are playing as well as anyone in the league right now, and if you’re a fan like me, there’s nothing more fun than seeing your team have fun and win. The Tropicana Field staff is the friendliest, the craft beer is refreshing and local, and tickets are easy to get. I’m driving two hours (at least) one way from Orlando to Tampa at least twice more this month to enjoy this while I can. If you’re in the area and a Rays fan, I hope I’ll see you at the game.

I got a chuckle when user ChrisAdranga got upset on my behalf about low FanPost turnout and decided to write “The Most Surprising Rays Player of 2018.” It was hilarious and delightful.

Number 9: The Rays Opener

Some people might say I’m wrong: “Wait! Wilmer Font put up better numbers than The Opener.”

While that is true, his injury limited his innings. Despite extremely strong numbers early in the season, he deserves to rank below someone who proved to be valuable all season long.

It seems like we’re talking about someone else, doesn’t it?

Number 8: Bullpen Day is a Top of Rotation Starter

User Account Has Been Deleted took a sneaky late-September approach to winning games when they penned “It’s Time to Cheat the System.”

Mallex leadoff, Pham/Duffy batting 2nd has been pretty standard. What if 3, 4, 5 was Snell at 1B, Glasnow at 2B, Hoby Miler at 3b? Why set your lineup before you have to? Is there really an ideal 3rd batter? No. But there is an ideal batter with no outs, 1st and second. That batter is different than your ideal batter that’s up with no out, no runners on.

And two different users tackled the unfortunate shortfall that saw a 90-win Rays team miss the postseason. User John Cassillo penned “Tampa Bay Rays could be the best team to miss the postseason since 2005.”

Teams miss the playoffs with winning records all the time in baseball. But for the Rays, this specific season would be a rarity in the two-wild card era. Since 2012, the best team to miss the playoffs in Major League Baseball was the 2013 Texas Rangers, who finished with a winning percentage of .558. Tampa Bay’s current winning percentage is not only higher than that mark, but also that of every team to miss the playoffs in either league in the last 13 years.

And user JabacOrdof took a more optimistic view with “No Playoffs? No Problem!

THE RAYS! They won a lot! Like, a lot more than I thought they were going to win. Most of it came in this second half of the season. The team really came alive...but why? Well, now that I look at it, we seem to look a lot different than the beginning of the year. We no longer have Span, Archer, Hech, Ramos, or Miller. Gomez, Faria, Robertson, and Cron have seen reduced playing time for one reason or another in favor of Choi, Adames, Bauers, Lowe, Wendle, and a host of others that I cannot be bothered to list out. I imagine if you are here on this post you can tell your Yarbroughs from your Chirinos’s. But the gist of what I am saying is this: The team in the second half of the season was totally different (and much better) than the team in the first half!

Of course, I can’t leave off a list of the best of September without mentioning all the amazing, funny, and often silly Best/Worst lists you guys compiled. But if I had to pick one standout it was from ChrisAdragna’s “How We Watch the Rays in my Home” which is a story that needs to be read in full to be appreciated.

Thank you guys for a wonderful month!