If you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays there are a lot of reasons to hate the Tampa Bay Rays. The most obvious reason is that they are the Blue Jays division rival. Most of the time that’s enough of a reason to hate another team but with the Rays there’s so much more to hate as a Blue Jays fans.
For the last two decades the Blue Jays haven’t made the playoffs. Unlike most teams with a long playoff drought the Blue Jays for the most part have had competitive above 500 teams. That brings us to 2008.
The Blue Jays problem was always that they were stuck in a division with 2 of the best teams in baseball, the New York Yankees and Boston Redsox. Blue Jays fans knew that if the Yankees or Redsox ever had a down season they would have a chance at making the playoffs because the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles were terrible and teams in the American League generally couldn’t come close to competing with an AL East team for the Wild Card at the time.
After the Tampa Bay Rays had nothing but losing seasons for their entire team’s history they not only had the nerve to pass the Blue Jays in the standings but win the AL East. They have also made the playoffs or been in contention in September every season since then while the Blue Jays still have not made any progress. On top of becoming a great team before the Blue Jays the Rays also have been doing it with payrolls lower than the Jays and lower than most teams, making their success in the AL East even more frustrating and unbelievable.
You might be a Blue Jays fan who thinks it’s irrational to hate a team just for being more successful than yours. It probably is. You know what’s probably not irrational? Hating the Rays for manhandling the Jays like they’re a Tripe A team. The Blue Jays haven’t beaten the Rays at their home ball park Tropicana Field in 17 consecutive series which is a fancy way of saying since 2007. The Blue Jays haven’t even had a 500 record against the Rays since 2007.
After spending all these years sticking it to the Blue Jays in the standings and on the field those no good Rays have acquired former Blue Jay Yunel Escobar from the Miami Marlins. It was an acquisition only made possible because of the Blue Jays trading Escobar to the Miami Marlins.
Yes, Escobar had a down year last season. Yes, you might want nothing to do to with him after the way his career in Toronto ended. The fact of the matter is that all the things that were great about having Escobar as a Blue Jay now apply to the Rays.
Escobar gives the Rays good defensive value and much needed offensive help. The team friendly contract Escobar has was given to him by the Blue Jays so ordinarily the Rays wouldn’t be able to afford Escobar if he had signed for market value. Escobar makes the Rays a better team, plain and simple. They were able to acquire a good player they wouldn’t have been able to if it wasn’t for the Blue Jays big trade last month. Somehow when one door opened for the Blue Jays, another door opened for the Rays.