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MLB Tampa Bay Rays

5 Reasons for Tampa Bay Rays Fans to Be Thankful Heading into 2014

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5 Reasons for Tampa Bay Rays Fans to Be Thankful Heading into 2014

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 regular season ended quite well for the Tampa Bay Rays and while the postseason left them wanting for sure, they still did what most didn’t pick them to do once again. They are the perennial surprise winning team every season in the American League East after all. I do wonder how they can still be a surprise team when they are able to achieve the same feat every single season almost.

During the 2013 season they even had a chance for most of the season to take the division from the eventual World Series champions. That chance faded in a terrible downturn but they picked themselves up and faced off with their inter-division rivals on the big stage. They lost but that doesn’t mean their fans shouldn’t be proud of what they were able to do.

Once again the Rays proved that they are perfectly capable of playing ball with the big money teams and besting them more times than not. It is just about a guarantee every season that every team finishing beneath them in the standings has a higher payroll than they do. Sometimes it is ridiculously so.

In the spirit of all the good things Rays fans always have to look forward to, here are five reasons they can all be thankful heading into the 2014 season. Once again they will be underdogs and once again they will probably find a way to win.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5 – Joe Maddon

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Maddon doesn’t get the credit he deserves for leading a roster that always has turnover to the postseason more years than not. It has been said by Tony LaRussa among others that a manager’s main job is to win the regular season and everything else is gravy. Maddon does his job as well as anyone in the game and he will do so again in 2014 no matter who his team is made up of.

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4 – Strong Pitching Staff

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

David Price could still be traded and many expect in fact that he will be. Even if he is traded however the staff would still be led by Matt Moore and Alex Cobb at the top. Behind them there will be yet another crop of young and extremely talented pitching prospects hungry to be the next Rays star on the mound. They would of course be stronger if Price sticks around but even without him this is a staff worth being thankful for.

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3 – Evan Longoria

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Every team has one and Longoria is that man for the Rays. He is their go-to guy when games are on the line and gets the job done more times than not. He could probably benefit from a change of scenery one day but that isn’t who he is. He is a Rays third baseman and no one fits that job better than he does.

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2 – Payroll Does Not Matter

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As was written about in the opening article, payroll doesn’t matter for this franchise. Their attendance was down last season so some expect the payroll to drop this upcoming season. Rays fans can just brush that off and look the other way because it doesn’t matter. It never has for this team and I suspect it never will.

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1 – Wil Myers

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone that was having fun at Myers’ expense during the ALDS had to love the fact that they were having a laugh at the Rookie of the Year. Everyone makes mistakes sometime or another but I assure you Mr. Myers will be remembered for a lot more than that little miscue. This will not be the last award this kid wins in his career. The sky is the limit and the Rays fans have the pleasure of watching him reach for it.