So here I am, a Philly sports fan, who by all accounts should be thrilled to have my baseball team in the World Series. Well, I am. I have a $100 bar tab from buying everyone drinks when we clinched to prove it. On the other hand, I'm a Philly sports fan. The only mofos more pessimistic than we are dwell in the Cubs and Red Sox nations respectively. We find things to grouse about even when we're winning, because we just don't want our hearts broken. So when the team screws up (as they inevitably will) we can throw our hands in the air and exclaim, "See, whadItellya? They're a bunch of $#@^%(! bums!" then proceed to get indefensibly drunk and pretend like we don't care. What kind of Philly fan would I be if I didn't carry on that time-honored tradition on the brink of the '08 Phillies taking up the quest to redeem the '93 Phillies?
All signs point to disaster. The Tampa Bay Rays are "the best story in baseball" according to every friggin' sports outlet you will see or hear from now until the middle of next season. They took a crow bar and pried the reigning champs out of the postseason. This, after languishing on the margins of MLB for the entire decade since their inception, barely worthy of major league designation. I've eyed them the last couple of years thinking, hell, all they need is some pitching around Kazmir, and they'll have themselves a team! Never did I imagine I would have to be reckoning with the unlikeliest champs since the '69 Mets in the World Series against my Fightins.
Despite the whimsy of their tale, the Rays leave me cold. For starters, they're now the enemy, but that's the least of it. The Red Sox would have been the enemy, too, but I would rather have battled them, another old-school franchise from a city rich in baseball history. Then it would feel like a REAL Series. Instead, we have the Rays, a team from a state that should only be allowed to have college sports and, like, beach volleyball, because nobody gives a good **** about pro sports down there, especially not baseball. The Rays, who weren't even allowed to keep their original moniker for more than ten years because the residents of the state are freaked out by an acquatic animal with a slightly sinister name. (Really, guys, what did you think would happen? If you said their name often enough you'd suddenly vanish in a cloud of smoke and brimstone? C'mon.) The Rays, who couldn't even sell out the ALDS versus the White Sox. The TAMPA BAY Rays who play in St. Petersburgh! Yet here they are rolling into the 2008 World Series heralded by a bunch of front runners proclaiming, "I've been a season ticket holder since '98!" not bothering to mention they sold most of their stash to out-of-towners showing up to watch the Yankees spank dat ****.
And they're stacking up to be another team of destiny.
The last time the Phillies ran up against this crap was against the Colorado Rockies, another team of destiny from a town that couldn't hold So Taguchi's jock strap in terms of sports rabidity or history. The Rockies, who decided to run off 20 games at the end of the season to smack up the Phils in the first round of the playoffs. A team ultimately outmatched and derailed in part because of their long layover, waiting for their AL opponents to finish off their series. (Oh, Tigers devotees know a little about this, too.) Is this sounding familiar, my phellow Phils phans?
Which would you have rathered: lose to the Red Sox, or lose to the Rays? I know, I know, you're sick of the Sox and the Nation and you're as happy to see them bounced as you are to watch a Brady-less Patriots team get their doors blown off by the likes of the lowly Dolphins. Trust me, I understand. But as a baseball fan first, Phillies fan second, can you really get excited about the Tampa Bay Rays? Do you really want to lose to these guys who collect more tumbleweeds than warm bodies during the regular season? Because you know it's going to happen, right? The baseball gods have written it, just like they wrote that Mitch Williams fiasco and that nonsense against the Rockies. You really want to see this upstart team, most of whom weren't even born in 1980, come into the Bank with all the momentum in the world and only two days off and shell Jamie Moyer for six homers in the first inning and a third? You really want to see Lights Out blow his first save this year in the bottom of the 9th of game 7 against freakin' Gabe Gross? Well strap it on, guys and gals, that's what you're gonna get. All signs point to Carl Crawford and Co. as the newest Chosen Ones, annointed by the baseball gods to fullfill their destiny against our boys, the same dieties of the diamond who designated the Fightins to be the first franchise in sports history to accumulate 10,000 losses, and whose fans thought it was funny.
I'm gonna go pay that bar tab and prepare to run it up all over again with a whole lotta SeewhadItellya on tap.