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October 20, 2008 at 1:15 am ET
71 Comments
More Cowbell (UGH!)

Rays 3, Sox 1
WP: Garza (2-0) LP: Lester (0-2) SV: Price (1)
HRs: BOS-Pedroia (3); TB-Aybar (2)

Summary:
The Tampa Bay Rays advanced to the World series for the first time in their history by knocking off the defending World Champion Red Sox on the strength of Matt Garza’s pitching and a few well-timed, clutch base hits.

#1 Stunner: Garza 7IP, 2H, 1ER, 3BB, 9K, HR, 118P
The fiery righty was awesome after allowing a home run to the second batter of the game, begging the burning question: what is in his iPod?

The Biggest Loser: Jon Lester 7IP, 6H, 3ER, 0BB, 8K, HR, 107P
The lefty sure picked a shitty time to lose back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

Recap:
Boy oh boy is it going to be a long winter for yours truly.

As if watching your team lose in Game 7 of the ALCS isn’t bad enough, how about living in the area of the team that knocked off your club? If you think that kinda sucks, you’d be dead on.

And if that isn’t bad enough, what about having to shave an idiotic landing strip into your skull because of a bet you lost to a fellow writer/fan of the other team?

Yep, it doesn’t get much worse than that, and it’s just a taste of what this fan is going to have to endure for the next, oh, 6-12 months at the least.

Not that I’m asking anyone to feel sorry for me – I am a Red Sox fan after all, and we know sympathy is one of the few emotions we never evoke from other people – but I’m just trying to give you a little perspective on how bad this loss really is for me.

Okay, you can stop laughing any time now.

And if all those things combined aren’t enough to make me feel like total shit, then I always have this game to fall back on to remind me of how close Boston came to pulling off yet another LCS miracle and turning this tumultuous season into a potential pennant winning one.

Of course I am happy that Boston staved off the embarrassment that would have come with losing the series in their own yard, but by winning Game 5 in dramatic fashion, and then taking care of business so efficiently in Game 6, it just set us up for a crushing downer of a loss tonight.

Iテつknow, I know, now we know how it feels. Doesn’t make us feel any better, though.

WhenテつLittle Big Manテつhit a home run in the first inning, it looked like the good times of the past two games were gonna keep on rolling. But the Rays turned the tables on the Sox and took a 2-1 lead by patiently grinding out a run here and a run there, rather than bludgeoning Boston over the head with an early barrage of longballs.

Call it a slow and painful death.

By the time Jon Lester surrendered aテつleadoff shot to Willy Aybar for the Rays 54th homer of the series to make the score 3-1, it felt like the Sox were trailing by ten runs. And it may as well have been, thanks to the rock-solid Rays pitching.

A masterful bit of bullpen work (and managing) saw five Tampa Bay pitchers combine to squelch a Sox rally in the eighth, and even the presence of a rookie relieverテつwasn’t enough to rattle the Rays into blowing their ticket to the Fall Classic this time.

And so the off season begins for the Sox and the Nation, and I will attempt to put this loss behind me by shaving my head into a Rayshawk while I try to explain to people down here that I am indeed a Red Sox fan.

As they pelt me with laughter, ridicule and insults, I will take comfort in the fact that…actually, I will just take cover and wait for my hair to grow back and this shitstorm to blow away.

Congrats to the Rays for a hard-fought, well-earned series win. And D. Chalk – you suck!

Tune in tomorrow for theテつresult ofテつour bet.

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71 Responses to “More Cowbell (UGH!)”
  1. Hey, we’ve all taken hiatuses from our teams once in a while – it helps keep us sane!

    As for the Trop, it’s practical and useful, but by no means delightful or accomodating. You’re right about the crowding when it’s full, which up until this month hasn’t been too often, and the best thing you can say about it is that it serves its purpose. the only alternative, other than moving the team, is to build that park down at Al Lang and hope the breeze is enough to dispense some of the stifiling sumnmer heat, and the half roof can stop the rain from delaying every game.

  2. Jeff says:

    1. After you alluded to your belief that I was the one that banned you, dipshit. Nobody banned you, you’re just too stupid to figure out the interwebs.

    2. I know all about Curt Schilling’s stupid fucking pandering. I just don’t see how that has any bearing on the argument we were having. That doesn’t mean I’m too ignorant to speak about it. I’ve already told you my opinion, politics have nothing to do with baseball. Somehow you think that they do, I’d like to know how.

    3. In a nutshell….Modern liberals want to use state powers to make changes. Classic liberals want more individual freedom and less gov’t intervention. Libertarians want all individual freedom and no gov’t intervention in most cases, but they can’t even agree with themselves as to what they believe in. Most would say they are more or less anarchists and idiots. In any case, none of these ideologies really match up with modern democrats, which is why it’s a bit dubious that people refer to democrats as liberals. Regardless, I still don’t see how any of this has any relevance in the context of our argument or baseball in general. If you’d like to continue with this political discourse I’d suggest that you find an alternate medium, if not just STFU about it, OK?

    4. I don’t think my team SHOULD win every year, that’s not practical. But I do hope they win every year, that’s what being a fan is all about. My team didn’t make the playoffs this year, I didn’t whine about it, but I do realize that they failed to meet their goal for the year. Whether you like it or not, you are the one that is coming off like a whiny bitch as we speak (which is also after your team got eliminated). That’s you, not me.

    5. Eat a cawk, lots of them.

  3. Jeff says:

    Rosie,

    I really think you guys need to work the pay-per-comment clause into your next CBA. I think it is more than fair, and it may push some (unnamed) writers to actually make good, relevant posts.

    BTW, I don’t know if it was part of the deal, but I think it would beneift the readership if you would post a pic of your newly shorn cranium, complete with purple and/or blue dye I hope!

    As far as the fans go, I’m not really concerned. That was really fodder to try to get under Chalk’s skin. We all know there are true Rays fans out there, but every team needs bandwagon fans to make money. Now that they’ve actually had a good season hopefully they can begin to build a real fanbase.

  4. I will put a request in to Jesse at the next B&C board meeting.

    Oh there will be a picture post of the mohawk. I have to have photographic proof, or it doesn’t count. Chalk won’t take my word for it for some reason.

  5. Jeff says:

    Haha, you wouldn’t fib would you? Happy shaving.

  6. Fib, never! Stay tuned for the picture post. Gotta get the wife to help me with the back. I’m just praying I don’t look like Jonny Last of the Mohawk-icans Gomes!

    BTW, no blue dye – wasn’t part of the deal. I wasn’t THAT stupid (THANK THE LORD!)

  7. Shotgun35 says:

    Max, what is wrong with nice crisp hats, tees, etc.? Should the clothes not be crisp and clean? I mean the Rays do have a brand new logo this season. Plus, most of those crisp tees are playoff shirts.

    When Boston won their first World Series in 86 years, did the Nation not have plenty of fresh crisp tees to celebrate?

    I mean the Tampa Bay fans could have bought the torn and tattered looking hats like several bandwagon Red Sox fans did once Boston became relevant again 4 to 5 years ago.

    I also found the Rays’ fans to actually be pretty knowledgeable when I attended Games 1 & 2 of the ALCS. Of the stadiums I’ve been to in the recent years, only the New York fans were more knowledgeable.

  8. Allow me step in for Max for a moment here, since I don’t think he’s still around.

    The “crisp shirts” line was an attempt to show that the fans are so new they do not have any old Rays gear. Sure fans can buy new gear, especially playoff stuff and if your team has to change logos, colors, names, etc… to become popular. But usually you see some people, a.k.a real fans, wearing the old gear as well.

    Look around the Trop next game. Very little hunter green or garish turquoise & purple garb in there. Why? because there are hardly any fans in the building that have been there from the beginning of the Devil Rays era. They are all new, just like their Rays clothing.

    Pretty soon they’ll be buying retro D-Rays gear, and they will pretend they bought it at the Trop in 1998, when they really bought it at International Mall in 2008.

    For everyone (read: college kids) who bought the pre-tattered Sox hats, there were 1,000s more who actually owned age old gear that they had worn for decades. It’s like a badge of honor, something most Rays fans (excluding Brett and his pals) know absolutely nothing about.

  9. Jeff says:

    Spot on Rosie! Nothing wrong with new clothes. Everything wrong with new clothes and old school attitude.

  10. Domed says:

    whoaaaa

  11. Shotgun35 says:

    Mr. Rosenfield,

    I understand that was Max’s intention. However, do you think if you were the fan of a new team with atrocious colors (I refer to the original rainbowish unis as the hunter green were at least bearable) that when the team changed you wouldn’t grab up some new garb?

    For example, I think it is pretty much consensus of everyone that has seen the new Oklahoma City logo, etc. that it is bland and unenticing. If it 10 years, the team changes to a new logo and color scheme, I would be fairly certain that fans that jump on the bandwagon this year would upgrade.

    There is a difference between the classic look of Yankee pinstripes, the Boston “B,” the Green Bay Packers “G” or even the Houndstooth look for Alabama football fans and atrocious color schemes that looked more suited for the 1970s than a 1990s expansion team. I think fans are much more likely to upgrade when the previous look was god-awful (and most of the season ticket holders I talked to while in St. Pete had upgraded).

    p.s. I even upgraded to the new hat from my old Princeton Devil Rays (TB’s rookie league affiliate)

  12. I hear what you’re saying, Shotgun, and to some extent you have a valid point. But my belief is that most of these people aren’t wearing the old gear not because they find it hideous, but because they never bought anything until this year/month.

    Even if you don’t like the logo or look of your team, you still buy a hat or jersey to show your support and to wear to games from the outset of a team’s existence. Then, if a design change occurs, proud longtime fans can sport the old stuff to show that they have been there from the beginning, plus buy the new stuff as well.

    That’s not the case here. Almost everyone in the area has jumped on the wagon this year and bought their shirts, hats, visors, car flags, etc…in the past few months. Hence their shirts are crisp and new, just like their fandom.

    This may not be the situation with you, but it is true for many, many people in the area. I only have to look out my front door to witness it first hand. People that never gave two shits about the Rays are now sporting the gear and acting like longtime diehards, when it is simply not the case.

    You may have upgraded your cap, but do you still have the old one and wear it ocassionally?

  13. Jessica says:

    Jeff,

    There’s one thing you’re missing in all of this Rays fan hating. The Rays have only existed for ten years. When you were a kid and your dad took you to Fenway there was a tradition that was many years in the making. It takes a while to build a fanbase.

    There are Dads here in Tampa Bay that take their kids to watch the Rays too. The tradition is just starting, and now that they’re winning it will only help the cause. That’s just how it works, and not just in Florida but everywhere.

    The Tigers were terrible for years, they built a new ballpark and gained some fans, but when they started winning again fans came out of the woodwork. I hate to break it to you but after 2004, Boston probably has more of these fans than any other team.

    Also Tampa Bay has a huge number of transplants. How many people do you know that were born and raised here? When I moved here I chose to make the local teams the teams I root for, for better or worse, but many others stay true to their roots. The area is a hard sell.

    So why hate on the fans? Who cares how they got there. Just be happy they’re there now. The Rays deserve them.

  14. Jeff says:

    Nobody is hating on the fans per se. We are hating on the fact that we know most of them have been fans for 3 months and they act like they have been for 10 years. Everyone understands that it takes time to build a fanbase. Just don’t act like pompous douchefans when your team has been good for 1 year and you have been a fan for 2 months of it. That’s all.

    My last post pretty much summed it up….Nothing wrong with new clothes(fans). Everything wrong with new clothes(fans) and old school attitude.

  15. Jessica,

    Not sure if you were replying to me or Jeff the commenter (you can refer to me as J Rose), but Jeff answered perfectly. Of course a new franchise isn’t going to have a long lineage of fans, but these new fans ARE acting they’ve been there from day 1 when it is absolutely not true.

    I know there are dads in TB that take theier kids to games – I am one of them. I also know the people who have been going to games from the beginning, or for many years, and the ones who haven’t, like my neighbors, who were diehard Phillies fans until this bandwagon exploded. Now she says she doesn’t even know who she is rooting for in the seires. I’m like ” a few months ago you didn’t give two shits about the Rays, loved the Phils, and now you’re torn?!” WTF? That’s a bandwagoner, and that is the majority of “fans” I’ve encountered.

    Every time someone down here gives me shit about backing the Sox, I say “I’ve been a fan for 28 years” and they ALWAYS say they’ve been a Rays fan from the beginning. WRONG, cause I’ve been to more games down here than most of them. I’m technically more of a Rays fan that half of these people, but I don’t even root for them. I’m a baseball fan first and foremost and I’m happy to live in a mjor leage city and attend games, but my allegiance lies with the team I grew up with.

    I’m happy for the team and agree they needed fans. But Jessica,hypothetically, if the Rays go back to the cellar next year, how many of these fans will remain loyal to the team? Truthfully? Not many, I’ll guarantte you that.

  16. Sorry for the horrible misspellings above. My wife has been getting on my case about them!

  17. Jessica says:

    Just as long as you can admit there are just as many Boston fans doing the same thing. That’s what I’m saying, it happens everywhere. After 2004 every person in a Boston hat was saying they’ve been waiting their whole life for that moment. By 2007 you had 10 million more fans who were supposedly life long Red Sox fans. Whatever.

    It’s annoying for fans who have really followed the team for sure, but my point is it happens everywhere. Boston and New York have been around forever but they have even more of these bandwagoners. It’s what happens when you win, and you’re right many of them are fairweather fans.

  18. Oh I agree 100%, the Red Sox Nation multiplied by 10,000 after winning the series. But it was a pretty formidable fanbase to begin with, so there were more original fans than new ones. It was like a badge of honor to go through the losing times with the Sox. Our mantra growing up was “maybe in my lifetime”, and when it finally happened, so many people tried to glom on to the success, it became a massive, nationwide horde of obnoxious bandwagoners mixed in with the diehards.

    But you’re right, it definitely happens everywhere and like I said, I have no problem with people becoming a fan of a team. It’s part of what sports is all about, having success and winning people over. There’s no rule when you have to start supporting a club, but just admit when you did instead of acting like someone you’re not, you know?

    I guess as long as we are comfortable with our fandom, we can’t worry too much about the others, especially since we can’t prove or disprove when their support started. Hey, wait a minute, what about a national fan ID card… :)

  19. Jeff says:

    I like the fan card idea….and you have to prove how long you’ve been a fan.

    “Oh, you’ve been a Rays fan since the beginning?”

    “Ok, name all four infielders from 1998.” Didn’t think so…denied!!!

  20. Yeah, Ive had that idea over the past few days with all this talk about real fans. You could have a card with a copy of your first ticket stub on it and this kind of info:

    JRose: Red Sox fan since – 1980
    # of games attended: 250+ (updated via internet)
    # of games watched on TV: 1,000+ (updated via internet)
    Hated Opponents: Yankees, Rays
    Favorite Former Player: Dewey Evans
    Favorite Current Player: Jacoby Ellsbury
    Best Game Attended: 1990 Tom Brunansky Game
    Favorite Moment: Winning it all in 2004
    Worst Moment: Aaron Bleepin’ Boone’s HR in 2003

    And so on.

    Maybe I should get a patent on this, ASAP. Or not.

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