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THE GOOD: After every game (well most games), we take a few moments to celebrate “the good”, to dwell on “the bad” and reflect on what we learned (“the telling”). Once that is done, that game is over and we move on to the next game. Now? There is no next game. There is no “good”. We don’t want to hear about what a great season it was. We don’t want to hear about how the Rays exceeded all expectations. None of that matters today. There are no excuses. There are no silver linings. Maybe in a couple of days we will be able to reflect on what happened in 2008, but not today. Today is about replaying that last pitch in our minds over and over until it is permanently burned into our synapses. We don’t want to forget that moment. For that is the moment that will drive the Rays to be better.
THE BAD: It would have been nice if the Rays had shown up for the World Series and not the Devil Rays. It would have been nice if the Rays got to play in a World Series with decent umpiring*. It would have been nice if the Rays would have been able to play game 3 before their bed time. It would have been nice if the Rays could have played 9 innings in game 5, uninterrupted and without a monsoon. We would have liked to see that series. We don’t know if the Rays would have won, but we would have liked their chances. The Phillies are a good team. They are not this good.
THE OTHER BAD: We don’t have a big problem with Jason Bartlett trying to score with 2 outs in the 7th in a tie game. He probably has a better chance of scoring on the single than waiting for the next batter to get a base hit. We do have a big problem with JP Howell hitting in the 7th with 1 out and a runner on first. Joe Maddon still has 5 pitchers available including David Price and Edwin Jackson both of whom could work more than one inning. (OK, Jackson is a giant turd, but he would have been available in a 12th or 13th inning). And why let Howell hit if Maddon is just going to pull Howell after one hit in the bottom of the 7th?…Speaking of “Why”. Why the hell is BJ Upton swinging at the first pitch in the 8th inning. A first pitch with no outs and a runner on first. A first pitch in the 8th inning down 1 run. A first pitch that was not in Upton’s power zone. A first pitch to a hitter that saw 4.1 pitches per plate appearances this season. Then again, Upton, one of the fastest players in baseball, grounded into 16 double plays this season. Of the 20 players that stole more than 25 bases this season, only Alex Rios (22) grounded into more.
THE TELLING: Clearly the answer is Deadspin. We will now set out to become the Editor of Deadspin prior to the 2010 season. During the last two even-numbered years, the World Series champion was the favorite team of the editor of Deadspin. 2010 World Series Champions: Tampa Bay Rays.
*We have no idea if more calls went for or against the Rays. Obviously the calls against the Rays stand out more to us, but at times it seemed that the umpires were having more of an impact than either team