Halfway Point, Rays In First Place

We are already 81 games through the 162–game MLB schedule — at least the Rays are, and they currently sit in first place at 49–32, by far their best record ever at the halfway point of the season.  This is a team that won 66 games all of last season, and a dismal 61 the year before.  This is a team that received very little respect before the season, a trend that continues in some circles.  This is the first team since the 1903 Chicago Cubs to have this good a record at this point of the season after finishing with the worst record the previous year.  And once again, they are in first place in the American League East division.  The Rays: We Are One Team.

After they narrowly pulled out a 4–3 victory over the Pirates to win that series, the Tampa Bay Rays are in front of the Red Sox by ½ a game as they get ready for a huge showdown this week at Tropicana Field, where the Rays swept Boston back in April and have held a surprising home field advantage this season.  Baseball Tonight placed the perennially disappointing Blue Jays ahead of the Rays on multiple occasions, and they still get our name wrong occasionally.  (Peter Gammons probably owes us $100.)  Nobody thinks the Rays can hold it up this long.  But now it’s time to throw it in their faces, which has basically been the main goal of this team this season: proving people wrong.  We’ve been underestimated too much for too long, and it’s time to sweep the Red Sox back to ancient history.  After two World Series wins and the uprising of a newfound arrogance, the Red Sox have run out of sympathy.  And this does not mean that those New York dinosaurs should come back either.  It’s our time now.  Keep up the pace in the second half, which would amount to 98 wins, and show the baseball world that we really are the new 1991 Braves.  It’s the attitude that the Rays need to keep winning.

It’s time to shove it to the Boston Bandwagon and force people to jump off onto our side.  And with Shields, Garza and Kazmir on the mound, I like the chances.  Until it is accomplished, go Rays.

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