The last time the Blue Jays were in the World Series, Seinfeld was still funny, ESPN2 wasn't even a month old, Miriah Carey's Dreamlover was topping the Billboard charts, and I was ostensibly still a Phillies fan. So obviously I wasn't surprised when Joe Carter walked it off against Mitch Williams. I was expecting it; as I said, I was a Phillies fan.
I don't hold a grudge against the Jays. I don't particularly care for them, since they're division opponents of the Rays and we play them all the dang time, but I don't really hold any particular animus toward them or their fans. I mean, how can you hate Canadians?
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I don't need to lay out a history lesson for you to remember the last time the Rangers were in the Series, since it was just in 2011 and they eliminated maybe (I think) the most talented Rays team during our run along the way. So there was some poetic justice when they got within a strike of their first title not just once, but twice, only to see it all come undone at the hands of the eventual champs, the St. Louis Cardinals.
It was sweet schadenfreude for Tampa Bay fans, payback not just for 2011, but for 2010. And over last few years, the hits kept on coming to Texas: a late season collapse in 2012; a (very satisfying for Rays fans) loss in Game 163 to the Tampa Bay; a horrendous 2014 season, when they seemed intent on granting Ian Kinsler 0-162 wish for them; and what looked like a pretty mediocre season this year until some mid-season deals turned things around.
So, Rays fans, the question is: have the Rangers suffered enough for their sins of eliminating the best Rays teams we had? I mean, a lot of the guys who perpetrated their crimes are long gone. And we did get some head-to-head revenge in 2013. So is it time to let it go?
The answer to that question is no.
Now, I have to admit, I've been surprised by the support the Rangers are garnering in the comments section. I guess I can see it, if I squint. The offense features solid rebound efforts from Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo. Delino DeShields is a fun player to watch. Roughned Odor has a fantastic name and a solid game. The ex-Ray factor is strong, with the catching core of Robinson Chirinos and Bobby Wilson (and Chris Gimenez as C3!). But this is also still the team of Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus, the team that traded for Ray-slayer Cole Hamels, that brought back Josh Hamilton.
Seriously, what are you people thinking? Especially when the Blue Jays are one of the more exciting teams in the game right now.
After adding Josh Donaldson in the off season to their formidable Bautista/Encarnacion middle of the order , they were still floundering around .500 at mid-season. So their front office did what every fan wants their front office to do: they went All In.
And it worked! They brought in Ben Revere to set the table for the big boys. They pulled off a fantasy baseball trade, grabbing Troy Tulowitzki for the oft-injured Jose Reyes.
And most importantly, they brought in David Price to headline the rotation.
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Suddenly their weak spot, a middling rotation of R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, Drew Hutchinson, looked a whole lot better, especially if the returning-from-injury Marcus Stroman can slot in there somewhere as well.
So you folks pulling for the Rangers? All I can say is, you're wrong. The team for Rays fans to pull for is the Blue Jays. Do it for exciting baseball. Do it for David Price. Do it for perpetual goofball Munenori Kawasaki. But mostly, do it for a front office that saw what they had, then went out and got what they needed to put them over the top. And then hope that Silverman was paying attention.
Game One of the Texas vs Toronto ALDS begins this afternoon at 3:30 PM on Fox Sports 1/Sportsnet