Dancing with the (Devil) Rays

Dan WoodillContributor IOctober 22, 2008

We've all heard about "teams of destiny."  We've all rooted for the "underdog" before.  If you put both of them together, they equal the Tampa Bay Rays of 2008.

Coming into the season, there was a feeling by prognosticators that Tampa would enjoy better success in 2008.  They had a pretty good, young, but unproven set of starters and a crop of every day players, who potentially were very good players. Sprinkle in a new and untested manager in Joe Maddon competing in the highly touted AL East, and it was a long shot. It was almost 200 to 1 that the Rays would make a splash.

As each month went by during the season, the "naysayers" waited for them to take a nosedive.  The problem was that the Rays kept their confidence, grew as a team, fought off misconceptions, and presently find themselves in game one of the World Series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.

Who would have expected that young stars such as BJ Upton and Evan Longoria would almost single handily put their team on their backs and hit homers at unprecedented marks?  What made this team full of 25 and under stars toeing the slab think that they belonged?  It's called the new wave in baseball. A team full of hungry young players that are topped off by a couple of grizzled veterans.

Game one of the series starts tonight.  The baseball world still is in disbelief that powerhouse teams like the Red Sox, Angles, and Yankees are vacationing instead of fighting for a title.  All I can say is that strange things have happened before in professional sports, but this time I wouldn't bet against the mighty squad from Tampa.