The mantra 9=8 (spoken as "nine equals eight") was used by the Rays during the 2008 season. The phrase was originally created by manager Joe Maddon while riding his bike after the 2007 season. The meaning of the phrase was that if nine players play nine innings of hard baseball everyday, that team would become one of the eight teams who qualify for the post-season. Prior to 2008 season, the Rays had never had a winning season in franchise history, much less a post-season appearance.
After a slow start to the 2008 season, the Rays began to pick up speed and found themselves among the best teams in the league that year. Maddon had blue t-shirts made with the phrase on the back in yellow, representing the team's new colors, and gave them to the players during the season. His idea to put the slogan on the back of the shirt, rather than the front, was that a person who was walking behind someone wearing the shirt would see it.
Rays right fielder Gabe Gross, who was acquired by the team through a trade early into the 2008 campaign, said that as much as it was 9=8, it was more along the lines that 13=8, because the Rays had many players contributing to the team's success that season.
The Rays played well enough throughout the year that they surpassed their previous team record for wins in a single season by more than 20 wins and ultimately clinched a spot in the 2008 MLB post-season for their first postseason appearance in franchise history. As the phrase 9=8 had come to fruition, Maddon stated that the phrase also meant that theory and reality had come together.
With each level the Rays reached, the equation was changed. After they clinched their post-season spot, it became 9=4, to represent the teams advancing to the LCS. When they won the ALDS, it became 9=2, for the teams advancing to the World Series. When they won the ALCS, it became 9=1, representing the possible World Series Championship. In the end, they did not win the World Series, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.
A week before Spring Training for the 2009 season, Maddon introduced a new slogan, '09 > '08. The meaning of his new idea was that he doesn't like to use the words "great" or "greater," but would rather the phrase be spoken as "better than." His only problem was that there is no symbol for "better than." Originally thinking about creating a new symbol to mean "better than," he admitted that he didn't want to get "too nuts," so the symbol for greater than would have to do. Re-emphasizing that 9 would always equal 8 in the Rays' math, the upcoming season would be greater than the previous. He wanted the players to understand that "in order to build this new road we have to be better than we were last year." Unfortunately for the Rays, 2009 was not better than 2008. Though they finished the season in 3rd place with an 84–78 record, making it the second best season in franchise history, they failed to reach the post-season.
For the 2010 season, another slogan was created. Unlike the previous two seasons, this slogan did not involve any sort of math. The slogan was WIN, an acronym that stood for What's Important Now?, with the message being "stay in the moment." In his explanation of the slogan, Maddon credited Ken Ravizza, the performance consultant of the Rays and a sports psychologist, as the creator. Maddon stated, "It's always about staying in the present tense and having a higher state of awareness." GTMI became another notable slogan during the year, standing for Get The Man In (though it is reported a player has used a "more colorful" term to take place of the word "man"), referring to an in-game situation in which the Rays had runners in scoring position. Historically, the team had a habit of stranding runners on third base with less than two outs. In practices during the 2010 season, the Rays would run the "get-the-man-in drill" to improve situational hitting. Derek Shelton, who came into the season as the team's new hitting coach, taught that batters should not look for a pitch they could hit for a home run, but one that they could hit well enough to score runners.
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Other articles related to "team slogans, slogan":
... For the 2010 season, another slogan was created ... Unlike the previous two seasons, this slogan did not involve any sort of math ... The slogan was WIN, an acronym that stood for What's Important Now?, with the message being "stay in the moment." In his explanation of the slogan, Maddon credited Ken Ravizza, the performance ...
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