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cooling off and heating up ....

The smothering temperatures eased a bit in Baltimore on Wednesday, but while it was more comfortable at Camden Yards the Rays weren't any less steamed at the disappointing way Tuesday's game ended, with Baltimore's Corey Patterson leaping high at the left-centerfield wall to rob Greg Norton of what would have been a game-tying two-run home run. Manager Joe Maddon joked Wednesday that he watched the replay once and didn't need to see it again.

As the Rays head into June, taking a season-long five-game losing streak into Wednesday's game, Maddon said he is confident that things are going to improve. The way he looks at it, the starting pitching has been better than expected, the bullpen has stabilized with the addition of Tyler Walker, the defense has improved and the offense can only get better with the expected return of both 2B Jorge Cantu and OF Rocco Baldelli within the next week to 10 days. Maddon also points to the number of close games the Rays have played, with 38 of their first 52 decided by three runs are fewer (Rays are 18-20). He figures that learning to win the close ones will help their overall growth too.

The decision to not change the name for next season, first reported in the Times on Sunday, was not really much of a surprise. Sure, Rays officials will have more time to work on the project, more time to gather opinions, try out options and make decisions on a new name, color scheme and logo, but they can also take advantage of better timing.
The Rays probably won't be much better in 2007, which will be marketed at the 10th anniversary season of the franchise. So why not wait until 2008, when they do expect to field a more successful team, and usher in the next decade of Rays baseball with a new name and new look? Any suggestions?

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:30am]


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