No. 17: Tampa Bay Rays

2013 Ultimate Standings

Updated: September 23, 2013, 12:11 PM ET
By Rachel Ullrich | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 16
Title track: 55
Ownership: 85
Coaching: 21
Players: 39
Fan relations: 36
Affordability: 6
Stadium experience: 90
Bang for the buck: 4

In the overall standings, the Rays are still riding the wave of their surprise 2011 AL East wild card. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Missing the playoffs in 2012 dropped their title track ranking 10 spots (down from 45 in 2012), and confidence in coach Joe Maddon dipped from fifth to 21st (he's still the fourth-most-loved coach in baseball, though). But the biggest fall by far came in the players category (14th last year). The off-loading of B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena, and fears over whether the contracts of Matt Moore and David Price will soon become too unwieldy for the low-spending Rays, certainly cost some votes. Still, getting potential Rookie of the Year Wil Myers in a trade this offseason likely would skew the vote upward next year.

Yes, Tropicana Field is still an eyesore, but the Rays actually saw their stadium experience ranking climb 23 points this year thanks to a series of eight free postgame concerts from acts like KC and the Sunshine Band, OneRepublic and Carly Rae Jepsen. And the cost to see a game -- $32.29 -- remains third lowest in the majors, keeping the Rays high in the categories of affordability and bang for the buck. And if you have to spend three hours in the Trop, at least the Rays are usually winning while you're there.

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