Are the Rays for Real?

by Matthew Curtis
May 28, 2008 2:03 AM
1 Comment
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Don't look now, but the Tampa Bay (formerly Devil) Rays have the best record in baseball. This is not a joke. Apparently the team banished Satan in the offseason and a whole bunch of their talented young players have started to gel at the same time. Kind of reminds me of the Twins way back in '87 when they put it all together, going from the worst record in the American League all the way to the World Series Championship. Excellent starting pitching and productive potential All-stars like BJ Upton, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and rookie sensation Evan Longoria have this team at 31 - 20, 11 games over .500 for the first time ever. In fact, Tampa Bay is only the second team in MLB history and the first in over a century (joining the 1903 New York Giants) to have the best record on Memorial Day after finishing with the worst record in the league the previous season (66 - 96). Be sure to check out the great comic book/Bizarro-world cover of the new issue of Sports Illustrated that totally gets this extraordinary development in the AL East thus far.

So what does all this do for drawing local fans? Apparently nothing, as they barely broke a pathetic 12,000 people in the stands for a holiday game. Perhaps it's that dump of a domed stadium with the catwalks in the outfield ("The Trop") in that bad location, or perhaps there's not enough baseball fans in the Bay area who think this team can actually compete in a division with the Red Sox (still really good) and Yankees (obviously having problems but still have to reckoned with over the long haul). All I know is the team has won 16 of their last 17 home games, and they seem to have it all working right now. I'm just happy someone's giving Boston a run for their money. Now let's see them keep it up, and maybe locals will start paying attention. Go Rays!

--Matthew

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1 Comment

  • gabe | May 28, 2008 4:33 AMReply

    Wake me up after July. If the Rays are still on top, I'll be impressed. I could even be Werner Herzog-like and offer to eat my show. The Rays are showing some early season gumption, scrapping some impressive wins, but I do not believe they are built to last. Year in and year out we see catastrophic meltdowns from teams that make an early run, but who just can't keep up over the course of the full season. Likewise, teams like the Yankees always seem to surge late, and eek their way into the playoffs. Also, the lack of fan support speaks volumes about why MLB never should have put MLB teams in Florida in the first place. As an underdog story, the Rays would be worth supporting if they played in a real baseball stadium, and if the city's own fans bothered to support the team. Sad to see (as in Baltimore) when Red Sox and Yankee fans out dwarf the home town crowd when their fanatical road shows pass through.