It is not rare that the Tampa Bay Rays are passed over, or written off, or made the punchline of a joke by the national media. Whether it is because of the team’s small market, the public love for making fun of the state of Florida as a whole, or because of low attendance, the Rays seem to draw these hot takes out of the woodwork more often than nearly any other franchise. (Boston sports schadenfreude is at a record high these days, but that’s a more earned scorn than what gets put on Tampa Bay.)
As such, we here at DRB are going to start a running series in which a national sports media figure is proclaimed Rays Public Enemy No. 1. Now, this is all very tongue-in-cheek, because the vast majority of these national writers are actually exceptionally hard-working and well-informed baseball minds, they just love to jump at the chance for some low-hanging fruit in the form of a Tampa Bay Rays joke or hot take.
That is certainly the case with our first Public Enemy.
That being said, Baumann will now forever be dead to Rays fans. In a recent episode of Effectively Wild, the baseball podcast from FanGraphs, host Ben Lindbergh relayed this message from Baumann, who had sent the flaming hot take to Lindbergh over The Ringer slack messaging system. (He wasn’t even there to deliver his cowardly opinions in person!):
“The difference between McKay and Ohtani is that Ohtani is good and McKay isn’t. McKay might be the best college baseball player I’ve ever seen, but because his skills and tools were a step above your average ACC 19-year-old, and he’s got little to no physical upside. At the absolute best case scenario, you’re picking one of J.A. Happ and James Loney.”
As one of the co-hosts responded: “That’s harsh. Was that Skip Bayless using Baumann’s log-in?”
Now, I’m sure the hot take was part in jest, but if you come at the Rays King (and first-round pick just last season), you best not miss.
Baumann will certainly be on McKay’s radar now, as well as the radar of every Rays fan, who better make sure to let Baumann hear about it when McKay is locking down both sides of the field in Game 5 of the 2021 World Series.
Michael Baumann, you are an excellent baseball writer and a bright baseball mind. You are always the first-ever Rays Public Enemy No. 1.