Editor's Note: Baseball Tonight is more than just the world's greatest baseball program and this blog; it's also a community of fans that stretches around the globe. To honor our viewers, BBTN is starting a new feature where we give you the megaphone, and allow you to hold forth on our favorite game. Leading off this new endeavor is Shawn Johnston, currently the leader in ESPN.com's Fantasy League and a two-time champion of Electronic Arts' MVP Baseball World Series. Johnston, an Orlando native, has asked to address the sorry state of his Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Hello? Is this thing on? LOL. Anyway. Hi, I'm Shawn (7UPtonYrs for you Xbox Live peeps — you see my name in your nightmares LMAO ), and like the Loch Ness Monster, you prolly didn't know someone like me existed: a die-hard Devil Rays fan. I'm 24 and live in Orlando (you might have read about my anti-gravity suit experiments at Epcot in Stargate SG1: The Official Magazine) with my parents, older brother and little sister. What Barry Bonds is to IRL baseball, I am to fantasy baseball and MVP 2005. Phear me!!!
The Devil Rays get trolled by the major media outlets because journalists (no offense to you BBTN guys — ya'll rock like Seamus) have a hard time seeing into the future. But I'm not afraid of time travel, and I know that with guys like Scott Kazmir, Delmon Young, BJ Upton, Carl Crawford, Jorge Cantu and the like, the D-Rays will be k-awesome for years to come, and with some brave moves by a hotshot GM (), they can kick Orc ass this year, too. (And even without a IRL Sharkport, though my buddy h0tsh0tsdeuXXX says he's close to inventing one. KICKASS! )
Here's my plan (some of you might think some of these moves are unrealistic but I tested all of these in the owner mode of MVP 2005 — the most realistic baseball game ever made — and all of these trades were accepted. PWND!!!):
001 NoMo Hideo (LOL!!!): Trade NoMo and Toby Hall to the Mets for Mike Cameron and David Wright. Wright gets better each year (by year three of my simulation he had 100's in contact and power vs. righties), and while Cameron isn't great on contact, his defense is good and he's got great speed. With my patented steal trick (double tap toward second, and on the second pitch take off, pressing up and right to get a perfect slide away from the throw), every Cameron single turns into a de facto double.
002 Get Him Up(ton): Call up BJ Upton and put him in at catcher. All catchers have to do is catch balls and throw out runners at second (WTF Piazza? Douchebag!), and BJ has a great arm (90 power, 85 accuracy), and can rake against lefties.
003 Get Thee Some Moneyballs : Here's the big deal. Trade to Oakland Aubrey Huff, Lance Carter and Travis Lee for Rich Harden, Joe Blanton and Dan Johnson . Billy Beane who??? LOL!!!
With these moves, the D-Rays become faster, younger and would be the envy of even Curt Schilling's Dwarvin Cleric Cylic. (Thanks, Curt, for turning me onto baseball! You ROCK!!! ) Now if we could convince MLB to undergo a fantasy draft I'd have the Rays winning the series from now until the cows come home. Lou, you listening?