Welcome to another edition of Thaddeus' Tampa Bay Rays Offseason Report. Each and every Friday, we're going to recap the moves, trades, signings, and other nonsense of the previous week in the wonderful world of Tampa Bay baseball; keeping you, Dear Reader, up to date with the team until Opening Day in April 2010 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Dear Reader. Yet another November holiday night of eating and football and eating and sleeping and eating has come and gone, and yet the world continues to turn as it always seems to...bringing us to BLACK FRIDAY .
Yes, today is the day where thousands of soccer moms will wake up at 2:30 am in order to be the first one in line at 3:00 am when the store opens to get that one special sale item for her friend/husband/son/dog that will undoubtedly end up forgotten about come Easter. Nevertheless, the day is what it is, and with sales at just about every outlet store in the country, most of life stands still while waiting for the credit card-bearing masses to catch up.
Not so in the game of baseball, where there is always something happening. The week that Albert Pujols won his unanimous National League MVP award, teams were still deep in the midst of talking contracts and trades. The Tampa Bay Rays had a quiet week, but this writer will never fail to have something for you, Dear Reader.
Without further ado, the past week in Tampa Bay baseball.
Nov. 23, 2009: OF/IF Ben Zobrist Finishes Eighth in AL MVP Voting
Zobrist, the undeniably biggest surprise of the 2009 campaign and deserved Rays' MVP award recipient, finished with 34 points, with none of the BBWAA voters giving him anything higher than a sixth place choice. Zobrist had hit .297 with 27 home runs and a .948 OPS to go along with solid defense at second base over the course of 2009.
3B Evan Longoria also finished 19th with nine points.
Nov. 24, 2009: AL Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award Winner 3B Evan Longoria Is Picked to Be On the Cover of MLB 2K10
"When it comes to selecting cover athletes for our games, we look for players who are more than just a fancy resume," says Greg Thomas, senior vice president of sports development for 2K Sports, the manufacturer of the game. "With Evan, he is one of the most fun and exciting players in the game, which helps complement the vibe we are striving for with Major League Baseball 2K10."
While this writer is a bigger fan of Sony's "The Show" series when it comes to baseball video games, it's great to see someone other than a Red Sox, Yankee, or World Series winner on the cover of a national game, especially one as highly regarded as the 2K franchise.
Longoria had a breakout year that went completely under-the-radar after a red-hot April, and two awards and a video game cover under his belt in 2009 has truly lifted him up into elite status.
That just about does it for this week, Dear Reader; slow but enticing, as trade rumors and free agent names start swirling over the airwaves and teams fill those much needed gaps for 2010. Stay tuned every Friday for more Rays news and announcements, and keep your eyes peeled on slower weeks for a "Where Are They Now?" article about favorite or infamous (Devil) Rays players and where they are today.
Eighty-four days until pitchers and catchers report. Chin up, cupcake.