Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Rays

Praise for the Rays

For six grueling months, Tampa Bay outlasted the mighty New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to win the AL East. Then they beat the 2005 World Series Champion White Sox in the ALDS. And last night, they completed the seven-game series victory over the defending World Series champion Red Sox.

After exorcising the “Devil” in the offseason, the Rays have enjoyed ascension from the AL East cellar to the game’s ultimate throne, the World Series. They’ll host the Philadelphia Phillies.

They don’t wear pinstripes or call Fenway home, but the Rays are a great story for every small-team fan out there. If you’re a fan of the Pirates or Royals, this is the model you’re looking for.

Great scouting, drafting and player development have this young Rays team on the brink of a World Series championship. Manager Joe Maddon will have his hands full with a Phillies team that had no trouble eliminating the L.A. Dodgers in five games.

My pick is the Rays in 6 games, but after predicting just three of eight playoff teams and two of six playoff series correctly, I’m not sure how much stock you should put in my World Series pick.

So let’s put away the Hollywood storyline of Manny and Joe Torre coming back to Boston. That World Series doesn’t exist. The best two teams left in baseball are Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. And it should be a fun series where all the drama happens on the diamond.

For more information, visit MattHubert.com.

Role Reversal: The New Yankees (plus my LCS picks)

Deal with it, Red Sox fans. It’s not 2004 anymore. Two World Series titles later, you are far from the lovable losers you once were. Instead you are the NEW New York Yankees.

That’s right. Ridiculous payroll. Overbearing fan base that loves to tell you how great they are. Hated by the rest of the league. Playing into October every season (five out of the past six to be exact).

As an A’s fan first and Yankees hater second, let me take this break before the LCS to officially add Red Sox hater to my baseball fan card. It seems only fitting to complete the trifecta. As a Lakers fan, my Celtics hated has never been higher. As a Raiders fan, I can’t stand the Patriots. Now, my anti-Beantown feelings are complete.

The crazy thing is, four years ago, I never would have seen it coming. I loved watching that 2004 team rally to beat the Yankees. It was a historic series, but ever since the Red Sox won that series, the psyche of the average Boston sports fan has shifted from “we’re never gonna win the big one,” to a sense of entitlement “we have to win the big one.”

Now here come the Tampa Bay Rays. Could the culture clash be any more vast? This is a small payroll team built on homegrown talent, playing in its first postseason under manager Joe Madden. I couldn’t name one player on their team aside from the guy whose name reminds me of Tony Parker’s wife, but that’s the point. No one knows wear this team came from.

Can they win a seven game series against the mighty Red Sox in the ALCS? Why not? They held onto the division in the regular season, so they’ll have home field advantage. It’s what I want, but my gut tells me that Boston’s Yankees impression isn’t over yet. My pick is Red Sox in six games.

Hopefully I’m wrong.In the National League, the Dodgers made my Cubs pick look pretty bad. As I said before, I was expecting heartache for Cubs fans, but I thought it would come in the World Series. Now, I’m convinced that the single most influential player in the National League is former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez. Sorry Philadelphia, my pick is Dodgers in five.

For more information, visit MattHubert.com.