Monday, October 6, 2008

Gold Star Winner: October 6, 2008

Tampa Bay Rays
2008 American League East Champions
Won ALDS vs. Chicago White Sox, 3 games to 1

Since no one said anything particularly provocative today, I decided to forgo the usual Gold Star post and give the award to a more atypical recipient, the Tampa Bay Rays, in recognition of their improbable series-clinching victory against the Chicago White Sox this evening.

The Rays - formerly the Devil Rays (yuck) - had finished in last place in the AL East in nine out of their first ten seasons.  This season, however, they went from the league's worst record in 2007 to winning the division over the wealthy Northern juggernauts otherwise known as the Red Sox and Yankees.  In fact, the Yankees didn't even qualify for the playoffs this season, thanks to the emergence of the Rays.

Today, the Rays prevailed in Chicago to win their first-ever playoff series, and set up a date with arch-nemesis Boston in the American League Championship Series.  The winner will move on the World Series.

Even though Tampa Bay will have home-field advantage against the Red Sox, I'll take Boston to win the series (as will the rest of sane America).  But right now, let's savor the Rays' remarkable accomplishments this season, none bigger than what they did today.  Congratulations, guys.  It's gonna be a hell of an ALCS. 

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