You know, the longer this season went on, the more I thought that I wasn’t going to have to write this post. I thought that this was our year. I suppose, in many ways, it still has been our year.
But take nothing away from the Phillies. They played better than the Rays all through the World Series, and they are fully deserving of their championship. Well done Philadelphia. Perhaps we’ll make it to a rematch next year.
To be honest, right from game one I wasn’t quite as sure of a Rays win as I had been going in to it.
(And before you draw any conclusions, no that’s not why I wasn’t blogging – I’ve had a ridiculously busy couple of weeks. And that combined with staying up all through the night has meant that I probably couldn’t have written a coherent sentence even if I did have time to… Truth be told I probably still won’t get back to something like normal service for another week or so yet, and then you can expect a proper set of season reviews, as well as the much anticipated (by me at least!) RAPAs – the Rays from Across the Pond Awards).
As for the series – well, we didn’t perform. We were out of form in pretty much every area, starting pitching, relief pitching, hitting and defense. And though we kept it close even through all that, you can’t expect to win against a quality side like the Phillies if you’re not playing at your best.
And it’s true, that after the amazing first 173 games of this season, not ending the year as World Champions is a disappointment.
But I just want to think about that statement for a second. We can actually have a sense of disappointment that the Rays are not the Champions. The Tampa Bay Rays. A team that’s highpoint in its whole existance before this season was winning 70 games.
What a year it has been.
And every single player that has pulled on a Rays uniform is a hero. What they have achieved, even having fallen short of the biggest prize, will not be forgotten quickly by anyone in Rays-world. By anyone in the baseball world come to that.
And even before I have the time to write a proper tribute to them all, I just wanted to take the opportunity to say that. These Rays have nothing to be disappointed about. They should feel only pride at what they have achieved. They have done the impossible. They have dispatched the Yankees and the Red Sox. They have won games that they never should have won, and won series that they never should have had a chance in. They have gone from nobodies to household names.
And more than any of that – they have put Tampa Bay on the baseball map.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have liked the big one. But come February when pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, the 2009 season will start and the defending American League Champions will have the word RAYS emblazoned on their chests.
I’ll settle for that.