In the thick of it

Peter Drulias, Staff Writer

     It was only two years ago when the Rays rose to the top- winning their pennant race and first league championship in franchise history. Despite losing in the World Series to the Phillies in ‘08, the Tampa Bay Rays were extremely happy how the season turned out to be. The Rays’ high hopes for the upcoming season in ‘09 were crushed, getting off to a slow start and never to make up the ground needed to make another run in the playoffs. With the huge upset, the Rays organization made sure they would be ready for the following year.

     During the off season there was plenty of hype about the rays. Not only did they sign closer Rafael Soriano and catcher Kelly Shoppach, but they called up key players from their farm system as well. As you can tell the moves that have been made have paid off, making the Rays one of the hottest teams in baseball and arguably “one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the major leagues” says junior Eric Hanholde.

     Fast forward to September and the Rays are in the thick of it; currently leading the Yankees by a half game in the American League East with Boston only 7 games out. Taking the series from the Yankees that started Monday, September 13 seemed to not get it done either. The two teams are currently in a dog fight while the season is winding down quickly. It might come down to the last series that each team plays as well as the series recently played in New York. The Rays split the series with the Yankees, increasing their chances to winning the pennant race this year. The Rays got people going crazy, like sophomore Troy Strominger, who stated, “The Rays got me hooked; I am constantly checking up on the scores, seeing if they are pushing forward in the race.”

     This is the year it has to get done, though. Even though with early drama between Evan Longoria and B.J Upton, things have smoothed out and now everyone is on the same page and getting along which is the reason for the success they are having. They all play as a team and are not self concerned. Also if the Rays cannot reach the World Series, we might never know when they will again, considering some Rays like Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena are both free agents by the end of the year and are unlikely to sign again. Despite of the two All Stars leaving, the Rays are determined to get it done this year. Junior Travis Furnton feels that the Rays have a good shot to going all the way. I guess all Tampa Bay can do is sit back and watch what happens in the next week.