Joe Maddon will try to convince us that this weekend’s series with the Red Sox is no more or less important than any other series. But for Rays fans and more importantly, for the rest of the baseball universe, this series is very important. In fact, we feel a case can be made that this is the most important series that the Rays have ever played.

For the first time in the history of the franchise, big things were expected from the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays. Many looked at the stable of young talent and the sudden willingness to infuse veteran leadership and saw a team that was finally ready to step forward. While the playoffs may still be a pipe dream, .500 seemed reasonable and with a few lucky breaks, the Rays sans Devil could be playing meaningful games in August and September.

After starting the season 3-1, the Rays proceeded to be decimated by injuries and dropped 10 of their next 15. All of the sudden the luster of the Spring was gone and people looked and thought “Rays being the Rays”…or should it be “Rays being the Devil Rays”?

And then came the Jays in Orlando and three wins later the Rays now sit 11-11, 3 games behind the Red Sox in the East and only 2.5 games back in the wild card.

If the Rays could win 2 or 3 games in this series, they can establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the 2008 season. All of the sudden people outside of the Bay Area will look in our direction and see a team that is for real. Baseball people and baseball fans will take notice and see the Rays hanging with the giants and they will see a team that has done this without their #1 pitcher. But maybe most importantly, the Red Sox, Yankees, O’s and Jays will take notice, and for the first time they will not see a stepping stone to the playoffs.

On the other hand, if the Rays lose 2, or worse, get swept at home…once again, people will look and see the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of old and will feel justified in having written the Rays off in March.

Papa Joe Maddon will try to be the voice of reason and the face of calm and cool. But make no mistake, this is a very important series for the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays and a huge series for the franchise and their place in the baseball universe.



  1. Possum Avenger says:

    Cork --

    After we won last night's game. I was thinking the exact same thing to myself. This weekend's Red Sox series is the biggest series in the history of the franchise. I really believe that. Sweep or take two of three and I don't think there is any looking back.

  2. Michael Connell says:

    good point. i would not have thought that before last night. but now? you guys might be right.

  3. Tommy says:

    This is a big series, but I'd argue the Yankees series in Mid July 04 was the biggest series in the franchise's history. We just finished a 12 game win streak like two weeks before and were 42-41 headed into the Bronx. Yanks swept the 4 game series and the Rays went 28-46 the rest of the way.

    This series can be a huge step in the right direction especially with Garza coming back and Kaz next week.

  4. The Professor says:

    i def think that was the biggest one prior to now. the one thing i discount with that one is even with the 12-game win streak nobody took the Rays seriously and that was a roster that didnt deserved to be taken seriously, at least in the pitching department. they were playing way above their heads at the point.

    this is different. people will look at this at not a surprise or the Rays playing above themselves. rather winning this series can be used as justification for the preseason love-fest.

  5. Charles says:

    I'm a Rays fan in Boston, and I cannot tell you how much I want a sweep in this series. I'll be listening to the game on XM tonight.

    I think tonight is the biggest hump to get through, considering Mr. Wakefield's majority pwnership of the Rays in his career. If they can finally get to him tonight, Buchholz tomorrow is beatable and the Shields vs. Beckett aces matchup Sunday will be must-see TV.

  6. The Professor says:

    that is something i thought about touching on, but didnt want to take away from the bigger picture, but a win over Wakefield would be huge for the psyche of the players because he has owned the Rays.

  7. John says:

    Maybe even the umpires will take notice and give us a call once in a while.

  8. Andy says:

    do you think brenden harris would have gotten to that ball in the 8th? that play right there could be the difference in this game...

    go rays...this team is fun to watch and i've yet to find a guy i don't root for...

  9. The Professor says:

    no chance in hell harris gets that ball unless somebody put it on a tee and gave him a 12 foot bat

  10. The Professor says:

    ps the Rays were still 10 back in that 2004 series, so that werent threatening anybody at the time. a series win this weekend and the rays throw themselves into the playoff hunt...yeah i said it. PLAYOFFS

  11. WiNKy says:

    THANK YOU BASEBALL GODS! l redact all that "ain't worth the Charmin Extra-soft he wipes his butt with" shit I talked about you Nathan Hayes (for a weekend series at least) Mons Venus on me tonight... you glorious bastard.

  12. The Professor says:


  13. Scot Gould says:

    Man, I'm sorry I saw only the first 5 innings. Good defense and Tampa Bay rarely are seen in a single sentence.

    Exciting Rays win.

    Regardless about tonight, one assumes Haynes probably will not last long once others return.

    What do the Rays have to work with? Haynes is an 720 ops hitter at best. Gross is closer to 820 and an average fielder. Can Floyd be traded? Gross is inexpensive, Floyd is not, has no defensive value and is probably overpaid. Gomes is cheap so unless some spectacular right fielder is picked up, he stays. Hinske has multiple position value. An interesting predicament.


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