Hey guys, I signed up here last night after reading some of the comments following last Monday’s game. I read the article "Season Ends With a Whimper Instead of a Bang", and the reactions from TB fans. The first thing I want to do is congratulate everybody, players and fans, on an incredible season. I know the heartbreak of having watch a season end when you are so close to a championship, especially when it means so much and you feel like the underdog. Us fans here in Boston dealt with what felt like a supernatural force of evil over the 86 years of "the curse". And just the idea of no more baseball for 6 months is always sad with the dark winter months ahead (at least up in the northeast :)
The second thing I want to say is that you guys were good. I mean really, really good. You didn’t give us a moments rest, and you challenged us through every minute of every game. When the Sox were down I felt we might never get back in it, and when we were up, even by 5 runs, we knew it was not going to be enough. It could have gone either way at any time. It was so stressful for me that I couldn’t even watch parts of the game, it was just too intense.
The umpires weren’t perfect, as usual, but I thought overall it was relatively fair. There were calls that went against us and drove me nuts, but we also got some breaks and of course the once in a lifetime "bounce" play on Sunday night that lead to a ground rule double instead of a run worked in our favor. I would have been pissed about that as a Ray’s fan, but at least it was by the book. We dealt with an obvious strike on a Ray’s bunt attempt (Sunday), possible fan interference at Tropicana and the idiosyncrasies of catwalk home runs. Both teams dealt with missed calls at the plate. Those things always happen, but I felt that both sides dealt with them equally for the most part. I think the final score was the result of the skills of both teams, and I think it could have gone differently at any time.
As for the Rays as a team, there was a lot of jealousy in Boston. An endless bullpen, excellent situational hitting, awesome fundamentals, consistent professional play. Those are all things that we sorely needed but were missing throughout our season (especially the last 2 months) and it was great to see a team that did all those things so well.
There’s one more thing I wanted to share. When the Sox were playing the last 3 games of their regular season I thought about all the different ways that things might play out. We had a three game series against the Nationals, and riding on it was a wild card spot (against the Yankees, most likely) and home field advantage for that game. It was an important series and it felt like playoff baseball. And in those games the Sox played the way they did in the first 4 months of the season. They played as a team. They ended up sweeping the Nationals and I realized that even if they lost the wild card game and missed the playoffs, I was ok with that. I just wanted to see them play to their potential and challenge themselves and their opponents. Of course it’s been great to see them beat the Yankees at Fenway and go on to the playoffs, but seeing them play to their potential again after 2 difficult months felt like we won the World Series to me. And that’s what happened in the ALDS. I think that title I mentioned earlier was wrong - I think you guys went out with a bang. I’m proud of the Rays and I’m a Red Sox fan. Great game, great series. We’ll see you guys next year.