Last night I wrote about how the Tampa Bay Rays were the model franchise in baseball. In the comments, a few people talked about how the Pirates should strive to be the model franchise. This is definitely true. I mention the Rays so often because they've been the most successful small market team. They've done this by using small market strategies, such as valuing young players and prospects, trading players at the right time for a big return, and avoiding the temptation to spend too much on big names.

When it comes to small markets contending, there is often talk about a "window of opportunity". The idea is that a team can only contend for a 3-4 year "window" until they have to blow everything up and rebuild for a few years.

I talk about the Rays so much because they have accomplish...

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