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First Place and Almost Entering July?

Only one thing can encompass how this feels:

Cat_and_fiddle_medium

Okay and perhaps a few hundred words...

 

When PECOTA projected 88 wins for us, I'll admit I was thinking of ways that wouldn't happen. As it turns out Scott Kazmir has missed time, as has Carlos Pena, and Carl Crawford, and Gary Glover along with Jason Hammel are still on the team. Here we are, in first place, June 29th, and like Jim I really don't want to commit and say we're playoff bound just yet, I'm waiting until after the deadline to do so, but man, this season has been hell on my nerves.

For the first time we can say we care about the result and its more than fan speak. Quick, do you remember who we played last July 4th? It was the Red Sox with Edwin Jackson going. The year before? The Red Sox, with Casey Fossum going. The year before that? I don't even remember. The point is these early July Red Sox series almost never matter, until now.

I don't want to hype this series up too much, because that leaves room to fall, but if the Rays can win this series, and they can, things are going to get beyond interesting entering the All Star break. I'm living and dying with every result, but I'm loving every minute of it.

The losses had almost become numbing, but lately when we've lost it feels wrong, it doesn't ruin my day, but I don't feel as good as I do after we win. For the first time in our history, perhaps outside of that amazing run in 2004, we're going to feel the results and it's not going to be a load of despair.

I can enjoy Evan Longoria hitting bombs and running all of over the place making plays and know he's not going anywhere for a long time. I can enjoy James Shields changing speeds and making hitters look stupid. I can enjoy Dan Wheeler shutting down opponents in the 8th and sometimes the 9th. I can live with the mistakes because I know at the end of the day they're the rarity and not the rule.

The Tampa Bay Rays are a good team. This is not an epiphany, no, but rather this is the emotion coming back. My self imposed results paralysis is over, and for once it feels good to be a Rays fan.