The Tampa Bay Rays Emerge Once Again on Satellite TV

January 25, 2011
Tampa Bay Rays
by Leoraul

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A few years back, the little engine that could in Major League Baseball was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. All youth and very little in the way of payroll, they were an exciting antidote to the typical powerhouses and actually supplanted the Yankees in the AL East. After a rough World Series exposed their youth, they spent 2009 in recovery mode. The 2010 version of the Tampa Rays (they lost the Devil, among other bad things) is making a major comeback on HD sports networks. Here are 5 things to watch.


1. B.J. Upton is back. Upton became one of the most feared players in the game with his 2008 campaign. Aggressive on the base paths, quick in the outfield and generally menacing at the plate, Upton intimidated wherever he went. In 2009, he regressed in a puzzling way and became a major disappointment for the young team. 2010 appears to be another big year for Upton, who just got finished sending bombs out of Fenway Park during a four-game sweep of the Red Sox. If he’s back, the league should be careful.


2. Longoria is making his move. Evan Longoria (no relation to Eva) is undeniably one of the best young players in the game. Most observers have him pegged for an MVP trophy one of these years. It doesn’t help that Alex Rodriguez plays third base in the same division, but there are few areas in which Longoria does not shine in his own right. If he continues to anchor the Rays lineup, their deficiencies in pitching might be glossed over.


3. Garza and Shields have plenty more to say. The animated Matt Garza and ‘Big Game’ James Shields were key ingredients of the 2008 World Series appearance, but each suffered setbacks in 2009. Coming out of the gates in 2010, both appear to have regained that championship-caliber poise and are making statements with every appearance. Tune in to the Rays HD sports network to see these young guns apply their mastery on the road. If David Price begins to chip in, this Big 3 will be a force to be reckoned with.


4. The bullpen has picked up a key arm. The Rays have always strangely lacked a closer. Developing more starters than relief pitchers is never a bad idea, but their budget limitations have typically left closers off of their team. Joaquin Soria appears to be the solution to this traditional Rays problem. Scouts aren’t gushing over his stuff, but closing games is all that matters (just ask Brad Lidge).


5. The team continues to buy into the Joe Maddon concept. A few years back, Rays Manager Joe Maddon was somewhat mystifying. With no background in Major League ball and a rather nerdish presence, it was unclear whether the young jocks of the Rays would listen to a word he said. This point has become moot over the years, as Maddon has gotten everyone to believe. See the manager pull the strings nightly on satellite TV.

Catch another exciting year of Rays baseball with <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link’]);” href=””>directtv satellite tv</a>. Unless you take advantage of <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link’]);” href=””>directv deals</a> for baseball, you are going to miss a big part of the action.

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