What I find very interesting is the comparison between the 2005 Washington Nationals and the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. First of all you have to look at it this way. Everyone was saying that because they took the "devil" out of their name, the Rays will win more games and even go on to win the World Series, like the Anaheim Ducks did when they took the "mighty" out of their name.
But recently the Rays have not been doing well. They are 3-7 in their last ten games. This has quirked me because I remember in 2005, the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals. The Nationals were on top of the NL East for 53 days, but ultimately finished last in the East with an 81-81 record.
At the 2005 All-Star break, the Nationals were 2.5 games up on the Atlanta Braves, seven games up on Florida, 7.5 games up on Philadelphia, and eight games up on the New York Mets. As of right now, the Rays lead by a half game up on Boston and 3.5 up on the New York Yankees in the American League East.
Just remember this, the Washington Nationals and the Tampa Bay Rays both started off strong after they changed their names. The Washington Nationals however, fell to last by the end of the season after spending most of the season in the hunt for a playoff birth. I have a feeling that the ill-experienced Rays will not make the playoffs, but they won't finish last in their division either.