The Tampa Bay Rays have been winners over the last four seasons under Joe Maddon. Maddon's winning AL Manager of the Year in 2011, a season with few expectations, should attest to the dramatic effect he has in Tampa Bay.
Things will not get any easier for Maddon and the Rays heading into 2012. Budget restrictions, ticket sales and a plethora of external organizational factors will severely hamper the Rays ability to extend themselves past their current budget.
Luckily for Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, he has the best in the business working for him in head coach Joe Maddon and general manager Andrew Friedman.
Without Friedman and Maddon operating from the same sheet of music and seamlessly integrating the talented youth in the Rays' minor league system, the resulting success over the past four seasons may not have happened.
Whatever Maddon and Friedman are doing, it's worked thus far—to a point.
They Rays have had a taste of success and now need to get over the hump and to the next level. How many problems would winning a World Series solve for the young Rays franchise?
When trying to build a fanbase, success is vital.