Sunday, September 21, 2008


That's been Joe Maddon's motto all year. It takes everyone on the team to make it to the final 8 standing in October. And yesterday, the Rays proved that they could make it by following this mantra.

Every game has seen a different hero. Starters, bench players, bullpen, rookies, everyone contributed and I'm so proud of all of them. We were at the game Thursday and yesterday. We had gotten great tickets months ago for the Twins series and both games we had a lot of fun. But I have a confession to make. Both games I rooted against my Twins, for the first time in the 22 years I've been watching baseball.

The Twins were supposed to have a rebuilding season this year after losing Santana and purging the rest of their starting rotation. Instead, they have put together a winning season and late in September are still in contention for the central division pennant. That's very admirable of them, and I am thoroughly impressed. But if they happen to eke past Chicago, even I wouldn't be stupid enough to bet on them making it past the first round. The majority of the starting rotation has never pitched into September, let along October in a playoff atmosphere. The Twins have choked in the first round of the playoffs in three of their last four appearances. And I stand by my assertion that if they couldn't get the job done with Santana, Mauer and Morneau all having career seasons (still dwelling on 2006), then they need a miracle.

This is the Rays' year. It is their story that in 11 seasons they haven't had a winning season, and this year they will win 90+ games. I see so much in them what I saw in the 2002 Twins, with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, when they took everyone by surprise and made it to the playoffs. The little guys finally won, and frankly, the Twins aren't the little guys anymore. I rooted for the Rays because for 5 years we watched shitty baseball, and our last season here we got redemption. We went to so many games where the visiting team drew more fans than the home team. And the Rays forgave Tampa Bay because after clinching a playoff spot yesterday, they didn't disappear into the clubhouse to celebrate, they brought the champagne out to the fans. They all trotted around the perimeter of the field giving high-5's and hugs.

I cannot describe how excited I am for playoff baseball this year. It takes the edge off of moving, switching jobs, and facing the cold weather.

But today, on the last game of the Rays-Twins series, after the Rays have secured their place in history, I'm rooting for the Twins. Joe Mauer is in the batting title race, afterall.


anne said...

No words can describe it - but I can totally feel it too. SO FREAKING EXCITED!

Beth said...

I don't feel anything as I am not plugged into baseball, but it's sad to see the end of Yankee Stadium.

I can say in sports, my husband loved the Colts (football) for years and took me to a game, then I was hooked. And year after year, they lost. Year after year we watched. When they finally won the superbowl a couple of years back, it was such an ultimate high. Sometimes waiting makes it that much sweeter.

Hot4Teacha said...

I still love ya, you turncoat.

Thank god you'll never EVER become a Red Sox fan. Then, there might be some issues and disowning.

dr sardonicus said...

Congrats to the Rays! Their rise to the top has to be one of the best sports stories of the year.

Yet (and it pains me greatly to say this) it is going to be the Cubs' year. These Cubs look different - they have confidence and grit, and don't get rattled by the fluky stuff as they have in past years. This is the year that the Cubs break that 100-year championship drought.

Dianne said...

"turncoat" LOL @ hot4teacha

I love the magazine cover.

fermicat said...

It was hard for me to get excited about baseball this year with the Braves sucking so bad. But I am happy for you. Sports are a nice mental getaway from heavier things like your upcoming move.

Scott said...

I'm not into baseball either, but I can relate to that feeling of excitement when my team is getting close to the big payoff. I was excited about the Cowboys this year, and I still am, but I'm no longer sitting on top of the world. My flawed bunch is going to have to kick, claw and scratch to have a chance.