Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Way to Go Baby Rays!

The perfect symbol of the Baby Rays of Tampa Bay, 23-year-old rookie southpaw David Price, who never threw a pitch in pro baseball until five months ago, closed the show on the most outrageously impossible pennant in American League history last night in the Trop. Who else would you want in the most pressure packed situation in the history of bad teams suddenly become good, but a pitcher with no experience of big-game pressure at all? Why not? No experience required. On-the-job training with a trip to the World Series at stake.

Rays Manager Joe Maddon, who must ride barrels over waterfalls in the offseason to relax, called for Price with the bases full of Red Sox in the eighth inning, a 3-1 lead and oblivious J.D. Drew, who doesn't know what pressure is (and also doesn't know what day follows Thursday) at the plate. What's sang froid when you've got a 96 mph heater, an evil hard slider and all of its comes out of a 6-foot-6 delivery?

So, Maddon, who probably put the Rays' dreams in jeopardy with his book-shredding managing in Game 5 in Boston, did exactly the sort of decision-making that he predicted after Price's first major league start in Baltimore last month. After seeing his dominating stuff and poise against the Orioles, Maddon said that Price might be "useful" in October. In fact, he was the one extra power arm that an efficient but slightly undermanned Rays bullpen needed.

As I posted here, I've been a Rays fan for a long time -- compared to most people! Hey, at least I can measure it in months (a few), not weeks or days.

The Rays-Phils isn't the Series everybody wanted. But it's certainly the one I wanted. I don't know if Dave Sheinin will be able to contain himself tonight, writing about his fellow Vandy alum Price. Classy young man. Add him in the bullpen to the return of Carl Crawford and I think, believe it or not, that the Rays are going to win the Series.

Seeing the Red Sox comeback in Fenway was amazing, but I've got to admit that seeing the Rays win on TV tonight, after covering the Redskins today, isn't quite the real thing. But close enough to make do! Wonder if we'll get to see a dog pile like that in Nationals Park someday. The Nats have the Worst Team in Baseball part mastered. And, with the No. 1 overall pick next year, they may get their own David Price.

By Thomas Boswell  |  October 20, 2008; 12:03 AM ET
Categories:  Rays , Red Sox  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Lineups For Game 7, And a Question
Next: Even a Blind Squirrel


In the immortal words of Red Sox Nation,

wait til next year!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 20, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Since most of us in Florida are from somewhere else, we have been slow to adopt the Rays as our own. Not tonight. Tonight we were all Rays fans with our hearts in our very dry mouths as the Rays crept toward the edge of the cliff, but never fell off. Maybe after 15 years, I will finally begin to think of Florida as home, now that OUR team has won the ALCS.

Posted by: Lee in FL | October 20, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

Since most of us in Florida are from somewhere else, we have been slow to adopt the Rays as our own. Not tonight. Tonight we were all Rays fans with our hearts in our very dry mouths as the Rays crept toward the edge of the cliff, but never fell off. Maybe after 15 years, I will finally begin to think of Florida as home, now that OUR team has won the ALCS.

Posted by: Lee in FL | October 20, 2008 2:00 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Phillies fan, but I think the Rays are better in several areas:
-- starting pitching, particularly if Kazmir can go six innings. The Phillies struggle against lefties.
-- defense, especially with outfield coverage.
-- lineup flexibility against righties or lefties.

But I like the Phillies for two reasons;
-- The Phillies' bullpen is in great shape, though David Price has 'filthy' stuff.
-- The Phillies can win one at the Trop and then go home for three games. I think Philly will be bonkers.

Posted by: Kevin | October 20, 2008 3:40 AM | Report abuse

I was around the Rays for their first three seasons and went through some very rough times with the team. Tony Saunders going down, management's refusal to provide customer service and threaten to throw fans out of the park for no reason, having a promotion for prenant women and making them sit in the upper reaches of the upper deck, management hiring then railing Mike Veeck for his ideas and not working with him on making them work, the orange roof, etc.

It's nice to see that their new management team came in, cleaned house and is building from within. The Yankees and Braves built from within and look how long they went to the playoffs. The Red Sox have some good home grown talent, look at how successful they are. The Capitals are all home grown except for a couple of picks here and there who are going to be phased out by home grown talent. They're expected to make the playoffs this year.

Nats fans needs to buy into the idea of building from within. Management has successful lower-level minor league teams and that will just continue. They need to keep up with good drafts and build the talent at home.

Orioles, they needed to never look to Syd Thrift whose work in Pittsburgh is still ringing through their organization.

Good luck to the Rays!

Posted by: Jarrod | October 20, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Yay, Baby Rays! I've been rooting for them to go all the way since earlier this year, even more so after David Ortiz' early July comments about their chances of making the playoffs. The Rays were featured on This Week In Baseball not long after those comments:

In early August there was an SI feature on David Price and African-American baseball history in the Tampa Bay area:

How great would it be to see a dogpile like that in Nats Park?

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 20, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

the text this morning in boston is john 11:35, the shortest verse in scripture: 'jesus wept.' yet on balance it was a case more of tampa bay won than that boston lost. young guys beat experience in this case.

for a while it looked as though joe maddon had doomed the rays. often the baseball gods do not let you repeat what you started if you once get close but don't finish. but with boston's top two hitters going something like 0-32[?] with men in scoring position, the gods definitely punish you for that.

terry francona, chewing and spitting all the time, looked exactly like larry wuhl playing the bench coach in "bull durham," utterer of that fabulous line about a troubled player having jammed chakras and breathing out of the wrong eyelid.

straightforward baseball man, nothing fazes him. francona's baseball epitaph might be crash davis's line, "god's definitely a woman -- but she's no lady." there was nothing francona was supposed to do different except keep his hitters from getting hurt and old.

so now the filthadelphia filthies travel to tampa to open the woild serious. in theory you would say they were due to sweep except, with 8[?] days off, they are like the last two series losers, both of whom had extra days off and were swept or 1-4'd. so maybe rhythm favors the rays.

which town and fans deserve it more? tampa, of course, despite having committed the unpardonable sin of being in that part of the east texas scrub pine and salt grass marsh territory known as florida. the fact that the filthadelphia fans are quicker to boo their own team than they are to boo the opposition is, to me, an endearingly psychopathic trait of approximately equal moral weight to tampa's playing baseball on a rug.

as between someone who as been to the series and one who has never been, i will probably always take the one that hasn't been. and if the rays win it all, it will give the yankees notice of one more set of bodies to have to climb over in their division next year, which is never bad. lordy be, even the orioles could be better next year -- a proposition hitherto unsustainable in the angelos decades of futility.

it will be difficult for this serious to be as explosive and dramatic as sox-rays was. but not impossible. both rays and filthies can hit. filthies have the more storied pitching but tampa's young arms are impressive. probably the filthies are favored by the professionals. you probably can't go wrong betting them.

but my heart will have a little ugly bottom-dwelling sea creature for its darling, instead of the filthie phanatic. guess for me the execrable essence of filthadelphianess is lower than the odium of playing on a rug.

Posted by: natty bumppo | October 20, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Boz - many of us deserve a bit of tweaking right now, and of course you have to put your real name on your posts (instead of a Poster To Be Named Later's anonymity). Looks like I was wrong for doubting Garza (although we don't know how Sonnanstine would have done), and I sure blew the Dodgers pick below, but otherwise, not so bad. Wonderful game, very good, can't win 'em all, the slightly but clearly better team won, Go Rays! [repost dated 10/7 from your "Game 6 of the World Series post follows]
"No, the Rays won the season series 10-8, taking 4 of 6 in a home and home in September. Basically, it was a Papelbon blown save (in the Beckett game I think)that separated the teams. Otherwise, they tie at 96 wins, 9-9 head to head, and go to division record as the next tie breaker. I think that may have been a tie, and then it goes to 2d half records. Ridiculously even.

"Rays have a fine rotation. Sonnanstine, the alleged weak link, killed the Sox in 2 starts in September. Kazmir has been the weak link since June, and when he's your weak link . . .

"Well balanced offense. .340 OBP (vs. .358 for Boston), more homers and steals than the Red Sox, but not by much. I'll still take Papelbon vs. Wheeler at closer, and would not think that Balfour, Bradford, and Howell is better than Delcarmen, Masterson, and Okajima, but it is debatable. [10/20 note - Balfour and Delcarmen were, unfortuantely for both, a wash. Darn you, David Price!]
. . .
"Rays and Red Sox will be interesting, and, except for my Boston bias, I'd say Rays in 7. Then Rays - Dodgers in the World Series."

Posted by: PTBNL | October 7, 2008 2:58 PM "

Posted by: PTBNL | October 20, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

No tweaking necessary, PTBNL. Your posts are always informed, reasoned, and classy. I look forward to reading background info on the Rays from you (as well as Jarrod and Lee, who have posted to this thread).

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 20, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

As the French said when the Germans invaded France, "Eh."

Posted by: Red Sox fan in denial | October 20, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see the Rays win. Love to see the Boston fans crushed. They are the worse now that the Red Sox have become the new Yankees. Too bad the Cubs did not make it this year.
How come these new Fla. teams like the Marlins and the Rays do so well and the Cubs are still waiting?
I think Boswell was way too hard on the Rays manager the other day. So this is nice to see Boswell eat some crow and say some nice things about the Rays manager. Baseball is played by the book by most all managers. I once saw Buck Showalter as manager of the NY Yankees take out a starter with a 5-0 lead and bring in the closer for the ninth innings. Guess what? The Yankees lost 6-5. The closer did not close. As Yogi said so well "It ain't over till it's over". Now it is over. And the Rays are going to the World Series with a bunch of players nobody ever heard of. Great baseball. Will the Nats ever go to a World Series much less ever win one? Stay tuned.

Posted by: joeb | October 20, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"The Nats have the Worst Team in Baseball part mastered. And, with the No. 1 overall pick next year, they may get their own David Price with the No. 1 overall pick."

The Rays sign their No. 1 picks.

Posted by: Not So Fast | October 20, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

These guys are like the '69 Mets.

Terrible expansion franchise that adds layer upon layer of talent (especially on the mound) and sees it come to fruition in one remarkable season.

Posted by: mark | October 20, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

GREAT JOB RAYS!!! It has been so much fun watching a young,fun group of guys reminding the rest of baseball that this is what the game is about-playing with your heat and soul and enjoying the ride!! Looking forward to some great competition for the next couple of years.

Posted by: YankeeGirl | October 20, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I was born in St. Petersburg and raised in the Tampa Bay area. I never embraced the Rays, since I left Florida to attend college in Virginia before the Rays were a team. But I am very proud of my hometown team and was THRILLED to see them beat Boston. I do hope the Nationals are next, though...

Posted by: CAC in Takoma Park | October 20, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

The best part is the Rays have all their players signed to long term contracts. They have the best rated farm system in the majors and they have David Price. He is going to be a superstar!

Posted by: Mark | October 20, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

i agree david price is going to be a super star i just hope he doesnt get traded after the contract is up

Posted by: Rays #1 | October 20, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The curse is broken ... now TEAR down FENWAY and build a 21st Century ballpark!!!

Posted by: GATES in FL | October 20, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

It's ironic, but the Rays have had some hard luck with their first rounders. Josh Hamilton was the #1 pick. 'Nuff said. Dewon Brazleton went between Mauer and Prior and Gavin Floyd and Mark Teixeira. At least Prior pitched in an NLCS. Of course, Rocco Baldelli (#6 I think they said) should have been the FOTF before illness made him a part-timer. The jury is far from in on Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend, two big college pitchers from Rice (I think) who have not developed due to arm injuries but are at the AAA level. Of their high first round picks, just Upton (#2) and Longoria (#3) contributed before Price. So far, the best use of the top pick before Price would be the trade of Delmon Young to get Garza.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 20, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

This should guarantee the Rays get that new ballpark that has been planned.

It is going to be a great one!

Posted by: Ben Sona | October 20, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about you, but I've been seeing dog piles at Nationals Park all season.

"Wonder if we'll get to see a dog pile like that in Nationals Park someday."

Posted by: Just try not to step in them | October 20, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The Phils and Rays series offers a refreshing break from big market dominance. The teams are indeed this year's best in baseball. The major media need to embrace this World Series and give it the publicity it deserves.

Posted by: justafaninEureka | October 20, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Amen to that, justafan!

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 20, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I love the Rays! That is one weird ballpark they play in. It will most likely give fits to the Phillies outfielders trying to find the ball up against that weird roof and the catwalks.
Nice to watch a great team of unknown ballplayers take it to the big name teams.
Very much like the marlins of a few years ago.
As was written they built a winning team and did not try to "buy" a pennant with a big name superstar.
But the Phillies are really good also. Should be a great series. No nice that Boston and LA and New York are not in it this year.
Tampa has the Rays. I call them the SunRays. Warm in Fla. Feel the Heat!

Posted by: joeb | October 20, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

joeb / Eureka - The Phillies have the largest single undivided TV market in the country. Brad Lidge is one of the top paid closers. It might be nice to have new teams, but let's not confuse the Phillies with Minnesota or Kansas City, or even Phoenix or Miami.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 20, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I have been watching the Phillies all year and know how good they are. And I saw those large crowds in Philadelphia in the playoffs. I expect Philly to win the series but that crazy ballpark in Tampa may give the Phillies trouble.
Once they get the Rays back to Philadelphia the Phillies should do really well.
But the Rays may have something extra on their side. They really do remind me of the Marlins of a few years ago. Flying under the radar. But I like that Philly lineup. I will take Philly in 7 games.

Posted by: joeb | October 21, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company