I'm not actually as happy as I look in this photograph at all. Actually, I'm kind of bummed about the end of the Rays season (Photo courtesy DJOtaku)
It’s not completely over, since I will still watch games in the playoffs and the World Series, but for the teams that I truly care about the season is over.
The Rays lost to Texas 4-3 this afternoon, but I’m not gonna mope. Instead I’m gonna talk about what this season meant to me.
As the last season for the Florida Marlins, my hopes were high in April. The Fish were the edgy pick to sneak into the playoffs and dominate. Then things got kind of bad quick. Chris Coghlan was supposedly better, but then he wasn’t performing, got hurt again, and was sent down to the minors. Our third base prospect, Matt Dominguez, had his elbow shattered by a pitch and hit the DL as well. Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez both had extended DL stints and, worst of all, Florida went 5-23 for the month of June. Five wins in the entire month.
I don’t quite know what I was expecting, but I didn’t want Florida to limp into the gate in dead last, four games behind the Mets. Before June, Florida flirted with first place! Now that’s over. The Florida Marlins, as I knew them, are no more. Two World Series wins (1997 and 2003), countless frustrating, but fun seasons and, despite how great the stadium looks, I’m supposed to be getting excited to see this godawful logo representing the team next year?
Florida has always been a controversial team. Their attendance is low, their budget is low, they pocket revenue sharing, and they sell off their talent when it gets old and expensive. Owner Jeffrey Loria plans to change a lot of that now that the new stadium is secured. The Marlins were never Florida’s team. Despite their success and a population that adores baseball everywhere but in Florida, they just didn’t capture the state’s imagination. I hope that narrowing the focus to Miami can fix that. I hope that the Miami Marlins are not the black sheep of the National League because they are my team, I love them, and they have shaped me as a person and a sports fan.
As for my AL team, the Rays had themselves quite the season. Started out 1-8 and finished the season with 91 wins. 91 wins! Their fairy tale win against the Yankees propelled them into a killer first game against Texas, but they just couldn’t get those bats going hard enough from Game 2 onward. These guys have money issues, but they are so intelligently run that it’s truly impressive. If Tampa Bay can keep this up they will have a World Series title one day. I just hope they know that if they end up challenging Miami for it I will hope that they get swept.