FanHouse’s Andrew Johnson proclaims the Rangers to be the next Rays:
Trying to find the next Tampa Bay Rays a year after their meteoric rise to the top of the American League is a bit of an insult to what the Rays accomplished in 2008. Going from worst to first in one season just doesn’t happen very often in baseball.
The 2008 Rays were the next 1991 Braves, if anything, so trying to find the heir to the Rays one year later when it might actually take a full generation for that team to emerge could be a fool’s errand.
On the other hand, if we look at the 2008 Rays as following in the footsteps of the 2007 Rockies and 2006 Tigers, it’s much easier to find a team that could take the mantle of enormous surprise in 2009. Enter the Texas Rangers.
I think Andrew is right that the Rangers are going to be very good very soon, but I kind of hope this “The Next Rays” thing doesn’t become a new meme in baseball. You know and I know and Andrew knows that good teams don’t arise overnight, but there’s a wide swath of fandom and mediadom that probably doesn’t understand that. I’d hate nothing more than for baseball to become like football, where people expect some team to come out of nowhere every season, with the identity of that team serving as the offseason’s primary parlor game. Such a dynamic creates impatient fans and is a disservice to the scouts and front office folks who put a lot of damn work into turning losers into winners.