Saturday, August 23, 2008

We just got back from a wonderful week in Vermont. More on that, with pictures, later.

While I was in Vermont, I watched the Impossible to Forget DVD about the 1967 Red Sox. 1967 is often referred to as the birth of Red Sox Nation as we know it today. Before the season, Tom Yawkey wanted to replace Fenway Park, preferably with a domed stadium. The Sox drew 8,324 for Opening Day against the White Sox (thanks, Retrosheet). It was hardly the regionwide holiday it is today.

This made me think of another "Impossible Dream" team unfolding right in front of our eyes. Yes, I'm talking about the first place Tampa Bay Rays. After a decade of utter futility, the Rays hold a 5.5 game lead over the Red Sox and they will have at least a 10.5 game bulge over the Yankees by the end of play tonight.

Is this the turning point for baseball in Florida? Despite the Marlins two World Series championships, their propensity for dismantling their championship teams has been a problem with developing a long term fan base. However, it appears that this Rays team is built for longer term success. They have a core of young players and a few veterans adding stability. They are fighting through what some would consider devastating injuries to Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria and Troy Percival. They won a stirring comeback victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Park today, a team fighting for a Central division title and a wild card berth themselves.

I wish they weren't doing it in the Red Sox division, but this is as exciting a team as I have seen in a while. It will be fun to watch and see if they can hold on for the last month of the season.


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