We. Need. Baseball.
Well, there is actual baseball being played, but it’s being played between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros and only one former Ray is involved in the games. Looking at you Logan Forsythe, make us proud.
So, as we still have over a triple digit amount of days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Port Charlotte, let’s look back at all of the Rays home runs hit during their World Series run in 2008.
There aren’t too many to look at, since the Rays were utterly shalamacked by the Philadelphia Phillies over the brief five games series, thanks in part to Mother Nature turning Citizens Bank Park into her own personal water park, complete with the slip ‘n slide.
Carl Crawford served as the ignition of the Rays offense during his years with the club. You would find him, usually, hitting toward the top of the lineup, getting on base, and then immediately swiping second and third, and sometimes home if he felt up to it. Other times, he skipped the whole swiping process as he would just decide to hit a home run instead.
This was the case during the first game of the World Series in 2008, with the Rays trailing 3-0. Cole Hamels had held the Rays scoreless thus far, despite getting hit hard early. Carl Crawford stepped in and took a first pitch hanging breaking ball and deposited it into the seats in right field to get the Rays on the board.
Unfortunately, the Rays offense mustered just one more run the rest of the night and they fell to the Phillies, 3-2.
After a game two victory by Tampa Bay, the series move to Philadelphia, where the Phillies would take the third game of the series.
Game four was an embarrassment.
The Rays pitching staff allowed five home runs, including one to the opposing starting pitcher, Joe Blanton. There were terrible umpiring calls, Akinori Iwamura struggled defensively, and the offense just didn’t show up, as well as the aforementioned, Joe Blanton home run.
The Rays belted two home runs of their own during the game. While trailing 2-0 in the 4th, Carl Crawford decided to do the home run thing again as he lined a pitch into the seats in right field for a solo shot.
The Phillies answered back quickly though and the Rays were down 5-1 an inning later. Eric Hinske pinch hit for Andy Sonnanstine and walloped a mighty blast of his own to dead center field at Citizen’s Bank Park.
That would be it for game four. The Phillies tallied 10 runs while the Rays just got their two runs across from their solo shots, so they entered game five trailing three games to one.
If the Rays had won game five, it would have been a truly amazing game filled with several tremendous moments. They did not win game five, so it stands out as a horrible game that had no business being played in the first place.
With a slight drizzle at the first pitch, things went bad quickly as the Rays allowed two runs to cross in the first inning. As the night went on, the weather got colder, the wind picked up, and the slight drizzle turned into a full-on monsoon. B.J. Upton’s muddy trek around the bases will be forever embroidered in the minds of Rays fan.
But this isn’t about Upton’s mud soaked slip’n’slide adventure, it’s about the long ball. The Rays had one more blast left in them during the 2008 post-season, but it wouldn’t come on this day.
No, they didn’t win.
Instead, Bud Selig and the MLB officials finally came to their senses afters seeing Upton’s mudscapades and suspended the game with the scored tied at two in the 6th inning.
So, the game resumed over a day later and the Phillies promptly took the lead once again.
Rocco Baldelli, the man who began his career as one of the top prospects in baseball only to suffer from numerous career threatening injuries, had miraculously returned to the club during their stretch run and provided some clutch hits. He’d provide another one during the 7th inning as he took the first pitch he saw and turned on it, sending it into the first row of seats in left field for a solo home run to tie the game at three.
In an alternate timeline, that homer triggered a Rays rally where they gained the lead and ultimately stormed back to claim the series.
That’s not what happened though unfortunately as the Phillies answered right back in the bottom half of the frame and the Rays dropped the game and the series.
We hope the story of Rays World Series Home Runs will have some new chapters in the not too distant future.