A Fake Message Board Post About The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Circa 2007

I'M DONE WITH THIS TEAM
Posted by: DOA IN '08
August 18, 2007 at 11:34 PM

(*@#&$ this team! We're 27 games out of first, we have to be in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees, and we have the WORST OWNERSHIP IN BASEBALL!!! What is Friedman doing?! We have a fat guy (Ty Wigginton) at second, a shortstop (Brendan Harris) who can't even play the position, a third baseman who will be cut by the Pirates three years from now, and a right fielder (Delmon Young) who can't be bothered to catch the ball! Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Jesus Christ himself couldn't put up winning records for this team! Not that the guys we have are Ryan, Seaver and Jesus! No, we have two decent starters (Scott Kazmir and James Shields) and then three guys who can't keep their ERAs under six. Edwin Jackson? Andy Sonnanstine? J.P. Howell? Ugh. And don't even get me started on Jae Weong Seo--no one is even going to remember who that is three years from now!

And the bullpen! It's like Friedman didn't even try!!! Casey Fossum! Shawn Camp! Brian Stokes! Has your head hit your desk yet? No? I'll keep going! Grant Balfour! Jon Switzer! Jae Kuk Ryu! Believe it or not, the point of baseball is not to accumulate crappy pitchers named "Jae"! 

There's more! Our catcher (Dioner Navarro) has a .641 OPS! One of our spare outfielders (Elijah Dukes) is more concerned with sending threatening text messages than with batting over .200! We have the one second baseman in the world worse than Wigginton in B.J. Upton, and we're starting Upton like half the time there too! Our primary DH (Greg Norton) is a 34-year-old nobody! Even our team name sounds vaguely satanic!

Now you look at this mess and tell me how these problems are ever going to be fixed. I'm done with this team!!!!!

Now, just a quick FAQ:

Are you saying the 2010 Pirates are the same as the 2007 Devil Rays?

No.

Are you somehow trying to say that the Pirates aren't awful?

No. They're terrible. However, we've known for, literally, years that 2010 was going to be a terrible season. Bad teams have losing streaks. That's what they do. It stinks, a lot, but it's not the end of the world. So calm down.

So what is your point?

The fact that the team is bad right now can camouflage the fact that things are getting better. If you watched the 2007 Devil Rays, you would not have seen a team that looked ready to contend in 2008. In fact, you would have seen a team that looked like a complete disaster. But progress is not measured by marginal improvements in wins at the big league level. That's not really how it works. And if you were following the Devil Rays, you would have seen a team that had a bunch of talented players in both the minors and the majors. And once a team has talent, however it's distributed, things can come together quickly.

The Pirates don't have as much talent as the Devil Rays did in '07 - Dave Littlefield has seen to that - and it will be a couple more years, at least, before the Bucs really get it together. And there are no guarantees. But Neil Walker has emerged as a credible major leaguer. Jose Tabata just hit his first big league homer. Andrew McCutchen, at 23, is already the best player on the team. And the best prospect the Pirates have graduated in years just made his debut. Clearly, these aren't times to be happy, but there's more going on here than there seems to be. No one likes to see losing at the big league level, but if that's all you're seeing, and if frustration is all you're feeling, you're getting this all wrong.

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