|ALCS Game 7|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on October 20, 2008
The Rays must have been sweating it out last night.Â Too much history had already repeated itself this season and the Rays were just an upstart team who according to all the experts had overachieved.Â And the Red Sox were playing with passion, looking not only like defending World Champions, but playing with that killer gleam in their eye.Â The ALCS was on the line and the Rays were definitely on the ropes.
Finding themselves down 1-0 the Rays could have surrendered to what almost seemed inevitable, but that isnâ€™t the way of these feisty Rays.Â It seems as if that someone is always is there to step up on this well-balanced team.Â Tonight it wasnâ€™t a single player, but their entire pitching staff - led by starter Matt Garza who yielded just that one run, and two hits to the Boston batters over 7 innings. The Rays bullpen continued that trend, allowing just one more hit as the closed the door on Red Sox nation.
The Rays are going to the World Series!Â Â That sure seems like an improbable thing to say.Â But in May it was hard to say the Rays were going to finish better than second in the AL East, in September it was hard to say the Rays were good enough to win the AL East.Â In October it was hard to imagine the Rays could win the American League pennant.Â But surprisingly itâ€™s no longer hard to say that the Rays will be the favorite going into the World Series.
Winning the AL was the penultimate step in the fairy tale story of the Tampa Bay Rays, but there is more of this story still to be written.Â And itâ€™s a story we all want to read.Â The Rays are a young talented team with incredible balance in their lineup as well as a pitching staff which may be able to develop into the best in all of baseball.
But after this season, and the seasons of Minnesota, Florida and last yearâ€™s run by Colorado that model doesnâ€™t seem so silly anymore.Â Certainly it will have General Managers from other teams sitting up and taking notice as they plan for the future.Â You can bet they will all be sitting up to watch and to root for the out of nowhere Rays.
They wonâ€™t be the only ones, real baseball fans will be watching, and a lot of them will be rooting for the Rays, for a team that changed the balance of power in the AL and can give hope to fans of even the most hapless of franchises.