The 2008 World Series might not be good for the Nielsen Ratings as they probably would have preferred a Cubs-Red Sox series, but a Rays-Phillies matchup will be worth watching. I guarantee it.
Tampa Bay wasn't even supposed to get this far. I mean, they play in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox, and their roster is filled with guys who have never played on huge stages.
They were supposed to take a backseat to New York and Boston, they weren't supposed to win the division. See what happens when you drop the "devil" from your nickname; you become a "ray" of sunshine for all of Major League Baseball.
You wanna know why the Rays have sent the MLB into a whirlwind?
They refuse to give up, and they aren't scared of anybody—that's why.
Just look at the ALCS alone. Tampa suffered an epic collapse in Game 5 in Boston, and lost another close one at home in Game 6.
So with their backs against the wall heading into Game 7, and everybody thinking that Tampa would become the latest victim of the Red Sox comeback, the Rays stayed poised and won their way into the World Series.
When opposing teams enter "The Trop", they know that they can't simply come in and take three games at a time like in years past. You are going to be in for a fight for nine innings, and maybe more.
And now, this group of Rays has plenty of confidence as they continue their quest of going from worst to first, because they just knocked out the defending World Champs.
The average age for the Tampa Bay Rays is 27. Evan Longoria and David Price are the youngest at 23, while Trever Miller and Cliff Floyd are the elders at 35.
These guys are young and don't have a care in the world, and when you play this game like a kid, you are going to have success.
They certainly acted like kids when they decided to sport the mo-hawks for their playoff run.
Granted not everyone has done so, but these 25 guys play as one, and that's all that matters at this level.
The Rays have shown the league that you don't need to have 20 superstars on your roster, or spend zillions of dollars to get big names in order to win. That is the greatest thing that could have happened to this game.
Tampa has sent a message to those 'smaller market' teams like Milwaukee or Minnesota (to name a few), that anybody can get to that final platform.
Other teams like the Rays, who have never been given a chance in the world, will now be saying "Why not us?"
Tampa manager Joe Maddon may not be a mathematician either, but his teachings of "9=8" definitely worked. With each win, that second number comes closer and closer to being cut in half.
Right now 9=2, and there is a real possibility that 9 can equal as little as 1.
You don't necessarily need the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs for a World Series to be great; you need more teams like the Tampa Bay Rays.