An Open Letter To The Rays

By Tony McClean
Updated: July 6, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Dear Tampa Bay Devil…..whoops, I mean Rays, RAYS!!

Sorry, old habits are hard to break. Just send me the bill. However, I digress.

I’m writing this letter to congratulate you and your exciting young squad on a great early part of the 2008 season. Seeing the development of young players like B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, and Edwin Jackson has been nice to see.

I think I can speak for many baseball fans (especially here in the East) by saying “Thank You, Thank You” for saving us another season of having the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry shoved down our throats.

While the baseball “experts” are waiting for the other shoe to drop, I get the feeling that you guys aren’t planning on going anywhere. When you consider that six different teams have won the World Series since the Yanks repeated in 2000, anything is possible.

Now I know many media folks have either tried to explain your success or scoff at it, I’d like to ask you to do something that you guys thought about doing back in spring training.

That is — bringing Barry Lamar Bonds to St. Petersburg.

Now I know that there will be some sort of backlash — positive and negative — in bringing the all-time homer king to the Dome. But don’t look at this a some sort of “publicity stunt”. As good as your lineup is, another bat wouldn’t help.

Think of it, in many ways this is almost a fool-proof move. You don’t have to trade anyone. You don’t have to hurt your salary cap. Bringing him in for the league minimum with a chance to get him to reach his long term goal — a World Series ring — is the perfect bait.

In part time duty last year, Bonds was still the Giants’ most productive player on the field. Even his many critics can’t scoff at 28 homers and 66 RBIs in 126 games last year. Most importantly, he can be your everyday DH and he doesn’t need to carry the team like he did in Frisco.

Bringing Barry to St. Petersburg would not only help the youngsters, but let’s face it — it will put asses in the seats. Now over the last week or so, the “fans” have been flocking to the Trop. Just imagine what Barry will mean to this team on and off the field.

Now of course, all the Barry haters and sanctimonious media folks will try and take you to task. But these are also the same folks who are saying you won’t stay in the race in the long run.

As a bit of a baseball historian myself, I see alot of the 1969 Miracle Mets in you. A young team that did a lot of losing before developing their young talent (especially pitching) en route to becoming a championship team.

That year, the Mets added the late Donn Clendenon and he turned out the be a stabilizing force to a young team that included a pitching staff of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, and Nolan Ryan.

Now I’m not trying to put the rotation of Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Andy Sonnastine, and the aforementioned Jackson in the Hall of Fame, but they have provided a solid pitching base for the team.

Adding Bonds gives this team a veteran who’s been through the pennant wars. Dare I say it, but adding a future Hall of Famer to this team would be a “devilish” move.

Okay, I admit I might have gone too far, but you know what I mean.

In closing, I’m not the first person to suggest it. But it would be a real interesting move. Good luck to you during the rest of the season.

Peace, Tony Mack.