June 12, 2016
Tampa Bay Rays
For the first 10 years of their existence, they were the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After 2007, before the 2008 season (yes – in a Shemitah season), they just became the “Rays, “without the Devil. In those first 10 seasons, the team averaged just 64.5 wins a season, with 97.5 average losses. They finished dead last 9 out of those 10 years (with only a single 4th place finish). In 2007, they finished 66 and 96.
Their owner, since 2005, has been Stuart Sternberg … here’s the Wikipedia on him: “The youngest of three children, Sternberg was born and raised in a Jewish family in the Canarsie neighborhood of New York’s Brooklyn borough, the son of Beverly (née Tartell) and Samuel Sternberg. Sternberg’s passion for baseball developed as a child while playing the game in the streets and playgrounds of his neighborhood. One of Sternberg’s most cherished memories is of watching Sandy Koufax pitch while attending his first Major League game, with his father, at Shea Stadium in 1965. Sternberg has played in various organized baseball leagues over his lifetime and has coached his two sons’ Little League teams for five years.”
Very interesting, to say the least! There’s that KOUFAX guy again!
Here’s the Wikipedia entry on the Tampa Bay Rays: “Following the 2007 season, Stuart Sternberg, who had purchased controlling interest in the team from Vince Naimoli two years earlier, changed the team’s name from “Devil Rays” to “Rays”, now meant to primarily refer to a burst of sunshine rather than a manta ray, though a manta ray logo remains on the uniform sleeves. The 2008 season saw the Tampa Bay Rays post their first winning season, their first AL East championship, and their first pennant (defeating the rival Boston Red Sox in the ALCS), though they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in that year’s World Series.”
So – let me get this straight: after 10 straight seasons of futility – averaging 64.5 wins over the decade – their Jewish owner who has the controlling interest in the team, during a Shemitah season, changes their name by dropping the “Devil” part – and the team “miraculously”, that very season, wins 97 games, finishes in first place (over the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Blue Jays, and the Orioles – a very tough division!) and makes it all the way to the World Series? And – they lose, but normally, not ignominiously (always the sign of a curse).
All these odd coincidences! It just must have been their time, I suppose…
By the way: over their first 19 seasons, Evan Longoria has had the highest career WAR rating – at 44.
Do you know who’s second?
Fella by the name of Ben Zobrist (at 36).
Now – where have we heard THAT name before?
As James wrote in James 4: 7:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
And Paul to the Ephesians in Chapter 3: 20 – 21:
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”