7 Games Does A Season Not Make.
The media’s “doomsday” prognosis that the Tampa Bay Rays have to come away in this 7-game home stand with a positive mark might just boarder on the extreme. Sure they are facing two of their bitter rivals in pivotal contests that could decide the fate of any of the three come October.
With the Rays sporting a .500 ( 19-19) record entering this first Friday night contest, there is a push for the team to again show some dominance within their home dome, but winning does eradicate any sense of impending doom and erases late season doubt from the present equation.
Still, even if the Rays do pull off a 4-3 home stand or better, the inherant problem is still they will only pick up marginal ground on the 2 squads ahead of them in the American League East standing, and the post season
early projections. Now would be the perfect time for the Rays to exorcise a few past demons at Tropicana Field and thrust their might upon their high profile behemoth opponents.
Some might say it is the right time to face these demons of the A L East with injuries and inconsistent play dominating their results. But these squads also had a few days off, like the Rays and might have caught their proverbial second wind. Doesn’t matter that the Rays are throwing their Top 3 at the Red Sox to begin this series, wins trump everything.
Right now, wins within the Teflon Trop are at a premium, and with a Nationally baseball audience watching the Rays from Saturday to Monday, winning also sets up the rest of the country in believing in this Rays squad. Doesn’t matter what mental edge, elegant soliloquies or presence Rays Manager Joe Maddon expresses here, the end result on the scoreboard will be paramount.
A 7-0 perfecto home stand mark not only thrusts the Rays second half home field advantage firmly into the mindset of every squad, including the Yankees and Red Sox, but also into the skulls of those teams that venture into the re-vitalized Trop. Conjuring up images of impending losing results instead of the possibility of a fistful of wins before leaving the Trop could play a great mental edge for the Rays if they are successful in this hoime stand.
Paramount to the Rays future right now is re-establishing their home field edge, their proverbial “10th Man” advantage that has been fleeting at best in 2011. Large crowds during this series will be speckled with red, and pinstriped fans, but the loud and musical Rays Republic has to answer the call. They have to bring their “A” game if they want to again experience post season magic in 2011.
A 4-3 split might only help the Rays creep a game up on either the Red Sox or Yankees. Combine that with the Rays 1-2 record against the Yankees at the replica Yankee Stadium, and you get a feeling of urgency right now to win.
Winning is a fickle thing. You can have a clear advantage and still get shut out or even go down in a stunning defeat. If you stare it right in the face and go aggressively towards defeating your opponent, the odds do favor you. That is the true key to coming out either as winners or losers in this 7-game showdown.
Sure winning is the wanted result, but having this Rays team begin to steamroll, to show their aggressive nature both on the hill and in the box will decide not only these 7-games, but their post season future. 7-games does not a season make, but these 7-games could decide so many people’s thought processes surrounding the Rays immediate future. This is not a “doomsday” prognosis, this series does not have a “Do or Die” stamp firmly upon it yet.
Taking both of these series will go a long way in erasing the cloud of doubt overhead this squad, eliminate a boatload of excess drama and swirling concern. Taking this home stand to the piedmont and providing a winning cushion again at their home field could finally give this team a second half foundation to drive towards the postseason. Then again, isn’t it the ways of a good team to fight from the bottom, pass their adversaries and proceed towards the goal every
game, not just in a 7 day stretch?
162 games is a long time, but to condense this madness into a single 7 game set and not over the course of the combined 36 games between the Rays and these two high dollar darlings just seems like the media’s own madness. Winning the seasonal series, posting up and throwing losses on these two traditional powers will go a long way in deciding the Rays future……not just 7 games.
If this Rays team can eliminate their mistakes, take advantage of what is given to them and post up some run support for their starters, then even Charlie Sheen will be screaming “Winning” from the Trop
In the end winning trumps losing…..But that doesn’t sell newspapers as much as drama. Let’s keep the drama in afternoon television, not around my Rays.