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HooRAY for Tampa Bay

The Rays roll right into the ALCS with an impressive series victory over the White Sox, and guess what? They just might go all the way

SCOTT JACOBS

Goodbye laughingstock, hello final four.

If there was ever a doubt that the Tampa Bay Rays were for real, even as we entered the post-season, those doubts have been put to bed. If there was ever a wonder if these baby Rays could hang with the big dogs, those questions were put to rest. If anyone thought this team was a mirage, guess what? They’re still here. The Tampa Bay Rays once upon a time were the team that could only dream of playing post-season baseball. Now, they’re one Red Sox win away from hosting the ALCS.

After an impressive, scrappy series win over the home run happy White Sox, the Rays proved once and for all that they’re for real. And they’ve got another huge thing going for them. They’re from Florida. Once just a crazy efficient stat, there’s now something to this whole Florida teams in the playoffs thing.

Seven for seven.

Florida teams don’t lose in the post-season.

The Marlins christened both of their trips to the postseason with World Series titles, and the Rays look like they may be on their way to keeping that crazy string of Sunshine State success going.

Something in the water or something. Kind of astonishing if you think about it. No state, no pair of franchises has been more successful percentage wise in winning post-season series. Okay, so the Rays are still drinking from the sipee cup considering this is their first go around, but whatever they’re feeding those guys keep it up.

O and there’s this: maybe the Rays are just really good, and that their 97 wins were the true story. They survived a tough AL East to secure the second best record in the AL, and now their young guns are psyching themselves up for the ALCS. 9=’d 8, but today, 9=4, and maybe, just maybe, it equals 1.

Windy Worst Nightmare

And just like that Chicago is wiped right out of the playoffs. The Cubs bowed out quietly to the Dodgers on Saturday in their second consecutive sweep to the NL West winner. The White Sox at least got a win before being punched out by Tampa today. And just like that the dream is dead. South Side. North Side. How about no side? With both teams already out there will be no Chicago party this year. There is however still the possibility of an LA-LAA Fall Classic. When Juiced Sports went to press the Angels had just started game four of their series with the Red Sox.

How about a Dodgers-Phillies NLCS? Well, we’ve got it. The Dodgers hadn’t won a post-season series since 1988, and the Phillies hadn’t done anything in October since 1993, so the NLCS presents a matchup of two playoff success starved teams and it should be a good one. As you may know Philly’s sports teams haven’t won a championship (sorry Arena League doesn’t count) since 1983, a curse commonly known around the city of Brotherly Love as the Curse of William Penn. They haven’t been to the Fall Classic since Joe Carter belted them right into elimination and history in 1993. The Dodgers haven’t been to the Fall Classic in 20 years. Someone’s going to get back there in 2008.

And a Rays-Red Sox ALCS would be bon apetit. It’s about time the Yanks-Sox rivalry takes a back seat. What better matchup then the new rivalry growing between the Sox and Rays. And just sort of a funny fact: if the Red Sox advance to the ALCS, the Rays will have to beat both Sox to make it to the World Series.

Sock it to ‘em Tampa Bay! Beat Sox=Fall Classic? Could be a catchy t-shirt Joe Maddon.

About the Author

sjacobs

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