Every news and sports outlet has discussed the sheer feasibility of the collapse of the mighty Boston Red Sox and the rise of the penny-pinching Tampa Bay Rays. Seriously, look at either of these teams' Google pages, and you'll find countless articles by ESPN honchos, Bleacher Report vets and even the dissertation-esque stylings of Jonah Keri, courtesy of Grantland.com, who have waxed poetic about the historic potential of this clash of the AL East titans.
So, in a show of respect to all of the millions of words penned and typed about this subject, I will withhold an opinion on this division battle to end all division battles (at least until the same thing happens next year). Instead, I want to thank these titans of the triple, these bastions of base hits, these poets of pitch, these Homers of, well, homers for the last month and beyond of incredibly entertaining baseball action.
I have been a huge Rays fan since the likes of Seth McClung were taking the mound and well before these last four seasons of prosperity. As a result, I could not be trusted to give an objective, unbiased analysis of the remarkably fun past three weeks.
I, like most baseball aficionados, had the Rays written off for weeks. But as they have clawed their way back into relevancy, and once again into the role of the underdog in the David and Goliath story that is their entire franchise, they have another predictably boring end to the regular season, something that all baseball fans can enjoy. The entire baseball world has been swept up in this week's Red Sox vs. Rays series.
And how can you not enjoy this if you are a baseball fan? Every writer is obsessed with the epic battle between these two teams competing head-to-head in the one of the most iconic stadiums of all time.
This goes way beyond the David and Goliath storyline. This is the scrappy up-and-comer with no business being in this position battling for supremacy with the surprisingly vulnerable juggernaut. Pretty much every successful sports movie from Rocky on down has exploited that exact storyline. The major difference, this has not been written. A genuine cinematic experience is taking place right in front of us, and we all have a front row seat.
To be honest, although I am rooting vehemently for the Rays to topple their $160 million counterparts, in the end I will take away how much fun the final five weeks of the season have been.
Regardless of whether the Red Sox turn it on and finish the Rays off for this season (until they emerge reloaded next season), or the Rays complete one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history, or even if the Angels (just a game back of the Rays) find some way to sneak past the both of the them to snag the prize, it does not matter. This has been insanely, immeasurably and irreplaceably fun. And I thank the Rays and the Red Sox (or as they're known back home, the Evil Empire Lite) for all of it.