Remember when the Tampa Bay Rays were doomed, because they let Joe Maddon (a.k.a. baseball’s coaching genius) walk away and join the Chicago Cubs? The thought process was that, no matter how much talent the Rays had–and they’ve let a boatload of talent get away for money reasons–their success was primarily the result of Maddon’s brilliance with the line-up card.
Guess again. The Rays won again tonight (pounding Texas 8-2), they’re over .500, and in second place a very respectable (and manageable) 3 games back of the division leading Yankees (who are a surprise in their own right–but that’s another post).
Meanwhile, Maddon’s Cubs have nearly the same record as the Rays, a very similar winning percentage, are also in second place (though 7 games back of the Cardinals, who basically own them), and–here’s the big contrast–are not particularly living up to expectations. (The Rays, of course, are exceeding expectations.)
It turns out that, apparently, the grass isn’t greener if it’s surrounded by ivy–and, of course, showered in another kind of green (money, that is).