With the 2013 Under Armour High School All-America Game being played yesterday at Tropicana Field, it was hard not to watch the game and long for baseball season. As the camera zoomed in on football players, I could not help but want more shots of the Trop itself. The dome, the Kane’s 10-Strikeout Board, the Tropicana Pure Premium sign with an orange on it, and many more iconic images that Rays fans associate with the Trop. It seemed strange that the football players sat in the bullpen’s chairs along the sidelines instead of the Rays sitting in the dugout.
Unfortunately, we have 85 days until we can see the Trop again on Opening Day. However, the presence of the nation’s top high school football recruits participating in the game yesterday reminded us all of the great promise that lays in these players’ futures, much like the promise of a new season.
Every baseball fan dreams about a new season being the year when their favorite team will go all the way and win the World Series. Tampa Bay has yet to become the home of World Series Champions, after the Rays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in their first and only World Series appearance in 2008.
The 2008 season was arguably the most inspiring in Rays history, as the organization went from worst to first after their first ten seasons were all losing seasons. Many moves made by the organization during this offseason highlight their ability to stock their current lineup and farm teams with players who can deliver many more incredible seasons for years to come.
This was most evident when the Rays signed third baseman Even Longoria to a contract extension through 2022, worth $100 million, then traded pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for four minor leaguer players. Wil Myers, the Royals’ number one prospect, is now the Rays’ top prospect as well, with many Rays fans already putting their hope in him to lead Tampa Bay in many successful seasons to come. The other prospects include Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard, who are also predicted to help lead the Rays in many future victories.
Only time will tell if both the high school players in the All-America Game and the Rays’ young prospects will live up to the high expectations placed on their careers. But while we are waiting to find out, we can only sit around and count down the days until a hopefully successful 2013 season begins for the Rays.