One of the first lines on the Tampa Bay Rays current commercial asked that we, “come together as one team.” As they say in peewee football to the NFL, “this is crunchtime” now for the Rays. How many cliches’ can I muster up today to really bring to light to you the total importance of the fans being in the stands these next 7 nights. You might have to “win them all one at a time”, but in reality, we might have to win them all period to get that coveted A L east crown in the end.
With the Bosotn Red Sox first hitting the Trop tonight for three games, a second round of “must win” games have hit the Rays clubhouse. We can either come out of this series with 4 games up on the Red Sox maximum, or be 2 games in back of them with them in the drivers seat for the first time in over 3 months. Let’s look at that. For the last 3 months the Rays have sniffed the clean air at the top. For the last three months the Rays have been the hunted. For the last three months we have fought to legitimize our team’s success.
But with wins in the next 3 nights, you have to admit, even if you bleed Boston red blood, that this is not your daddy’s Rays team. that the Rays teams in the past bite your ankles and caused you stomach pains, but finally went away after a week or so. This team is a quasi-vampire. They want to attack and attack you either with pitching or timely hitting.
You have to admit that during that last series in Fenway, neither team acted like they wanted the last 2 games as much as the Rays. This team has to remember where the jugular is and hit that sucker for all it’s worth in the next 3 days. Attack and regroup. Attack and rebound. Attack and finally get that white flag. Now the Rays have already proven they can beat theses World Series Champs at home this year. But can you realistically ask for a third series sweep. It might be a tall order, but it also might be the one thing that will finally make the Boston faithful sit up and know they are in for a gang war the rest of the year.
We are down to 4 series in the year that will define not only our season, but our future in alot of teams and journalists eyes. Do we do a New York Mets fold and find ourselves totally out of the playoffs by going on a rampage of silly losses that would not have happened during the last 5 months. Or, do we hit the ball all over the park and struggle to win, but win and show that talent is growing here. The even if we do not hold World Seires glory this year, that the next 5 years might be a bitter sweet time for every team in the A L East.
Just remember one thing here, The Rays have a hunger you will not understand. They are starving with the memories and the pst expectations of this team. They are fighting with the memories of past players, owners and even beer vendors who wanted to see a true championship in this sloped house. They wanted to fulfill their fates or destiny this season with the celebrations of champagne and fist bumps and hugs that last until the spring reporting date. They want to finally feel what the Red Sox and Yankees have felt for the past eons…………How it feels to be a winning team.