Monday, July 07, 2008
Rays: Is this the Beginning of the End?
While ESPN baseball announcer, John Miller, was extolling the virtues of the Rays success, analyst, Joe Morgan, sat quietly. Silence is golden, and Morgan didn't have to say a word to prove he is not a believer. Judging by the comments of Boston slugger, David Ortiz, he isn't a disciple either. Ortiz forewarned, "The Rays will fold." Pennant races are strange especially for young teams: The ball gets heavy; umpires blow calls; opposing teams become desperate; and every manager decision is questioned. For the Rays, this is a creepy Catch 22. In every sense of the word, the Rays are babies taking their first steps toward a pennant, and like any toddler, you know they're going to stumble along the way. Unfortunately in the American League East, you can't even afford to trip. Any misstep will be perceived by (the powers that be) as the one causing this club to lose its way. For example, did Evan Longoria throw away a pennant when his errant throw allowed the Royals to avoid being swept. Was that the beginning of the end? Is the prize rookie going to be the one who finally realizes he's way in over his head. You say, "Well, you're not going to win every game," but when you're being outspent two to one, you sure better win that game. If the Rays are reeling, the Yankees are not going to be offering a helping hand when they tangle with Tampa next. With a tenuous four game lead over the Red Sox, the Yanks are the ones in the best position of turning Cinderella into Miss Piggy. Experience clubs like Boston, Detroit, New York, Chicago, also Minnesota realize the pennant race begins right now. The Rays are untested, unproven, plus they have a bad pedigree. No one expects them to be here, so the party won't start until they leave; and it looks like Joe Morgan would like nothing better than to show them the door.