From the day the Tampa Bay Rays took over first place in the AL East, people have been saying it can't last, they're going to fold. And each time people asked me what I thought of the Rays being in first, I said I was excited about it and although they might fold, I didn't think they would.
For a couple years I've been saying the Tampa Bay organization has been putting together an interesting team, one that would some day soon be a contender. Although to be totally honest I didn't expect them to launch directly to the top so soon. I figured they'd be third or maybe even second in the division as this season got underway. In response to my my opinion that they were building a good team, more than one person dragged out that old chestnut about blind squirrels and acorns, but if that were so, how can so many other teams have fallen so short so many years?
The Rays are made up of wise (and lucky, let's be honest about the effect luck has on baseball) minor league trades and rejected player pick ups. They have not rushed the team, but let them develop.
At the All-Star break people were asking me when I thought the Rays would fold, and I said I don't think that they will. When Labor Day and the stretch drive arrived, people asked me if the Rays were about to fold because it was impossible for a perennial cellar dweller to rise to the top and dominate a strong division, and again I said I don't think they're going to fold.
People give me quizzical looks when I say I'm rooting for the Rays this year and have been all season long. They ask, "What about the Red Sox?" and I say it would be fine with me if the Saux win another World Series, but the big thrill of that win was at its greatest back in 2004. Following the Rays' domination of the AL East has been the most interesting aspect of the 2008 season, and I am rooting for them to win the AL pennant and take on the Cubs.