Sox-Rays: A Blossoming Rivarly

 

Rivalries are not born overnight.  They must be genuine and not artificially created.  The greatest historical, sports rivalries like Red Sox/Yankees, Ohio State/Michigan and Duke/North Carolina are built upon decades of competition and hatred.  Memorable victories and devastating losses. 

 

While mutual respect exists among rivals, a healthy resentment still brews.  The players don’t like each other.  The fans despise one another.  The mere sight of an opposing team’s emblem evokes queasiness.  An Auburn fan wouldn’t be caught dead cheering for Alabama and vice versa.  Never has a friendly word been shared between Jets and Dolphins fans on Sundays between 1 and 4 pm.

 

That being said, even though it’s new, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have developed themselves a healthy, little rivalry.  I should know.  I experienced it in person once again last night.

 

I was fortunate enough to land a ticket to Tuesday’s extra inning thriller from a good friend.  I also had two other groups of friends in town so I was doing triple duty traveling between their three different sections… and of course, the lounge.  I covered more ground than the peanut salesmen.  I should have suited up myself and made some extra coin.  GET YOUR ICE COLD BEER HERE!!! 

 

Red Sox Rays BaseballEven though the Red Sox lost, the game was well worth the price of admission, particularly since I didn’t pay for the ticket.  Although it’s cliché, the atmosphere was truly electric.  The game lasted five hours with trash-talking galore for the majority of them.  The game went 13 innings until emerging superstar Evan Longoria belted a walk-off, two-run homer to sink the Sox, giving Rays fans the last laugh. 

 

I always contended that an upstart Tampa Bay team, only in its fifteenth year of existence, could never compete with the likes of the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles in the American League East.  Was I ever wrong?  The Sox and Yanks have money to burn and owners willing to spare no expense to put a winning product on the field.  That includes spending up to $200 million annually on payroll.  The Rays spend one-third that amount yet are again competing for a spot atop that division.

 

Last year, the Rays proved they were not intimidated by the big, bad Sox, knocking them out of the playoffs and advancing to the World Series.  What’s ironic is that the Sox were traditional underdogs against the Yankees.  After winning two of the last five World Series, they now play the role of Goliath to the Rays’ David.

 

While the Trop used to be a place for opposing fans to rule the roost, that is no longer the case.  Sox and Yanks transplants still show up in hordes when their teams are in town.  For home games against the Sox, the Trop regularly draws over 30,000 fans, about 90% capacity for the building.  But the stadium is no longer overrun with Sox fans as was once the case.

 

For Rays fans, beating the Red Sox isn’t like beating everyone else.  It’s much more satisfactory and that is what defines a rivalry.  If the Rays take three out of four against Kansas City, there’s cause for celebration.  If the Rays sweep a series against the Sox, clear a parade route.  Justifiably so.  These are big games and the Rays will not go quietly.

 

Dare I say, despite what the standings show, the Rays might be the better team. After sweeping a mid-week, two-game set, the Rays lead the season series eight games to four.  Despite rotation and bullpen inconsistencies, the Rays are twelve games over .500 and only 5 ½ games behind the Yankees.  With thirteen games remaining against Boston and New York, the Rays might just control their own destiny.

 

Don’t get me wrong, by no means was Tuesday night a Saturday at the Swamp, or the Horseshoe, or in Death Valley, but it was pretty rowdy.  It will only get better as the pennant races heat up with the Rays back in the thick of things.  What should concern Sox fans is that this Rays team has their number, particularly at home where they’re 5-1 against Boston this season.

 

Sox fans don’t hate the Rays as much as Rays fans hate the Sox, but they might want to start.  This team will not be overlooked.  If you sports fans want to experience a true, up-and-coming rivalry, purchase your tickets ahead of time for September 1-3 which is the next time Boston comes to Tampa.  It’s not quite Laker-Celtics, but it ain’t bad.

 

 

21 thoughts on “Sox-Rays: A Blossoming Rivarly

  1. You got that right. Truth is, NOTHING is quite like the Lakers/Celtics.
    As for the Rays/Sox, it may be a rivalry but for me, its very frustrating being a member of Red Sox Nation. On paper, the Sox are clearly the better team. They just seem to have this mental block when playing the Rays. Thankfully, its a long season and anything can happen.

  2. Snake… I knew I had to mention Lakers-Celtics to get you to chime in… he he.

    Lakers-Celtics is still the best NBA rivalry going but there are matchups in other sports that are a little more steamy. And with the Knicks sucking for so long, a lot of their classic rivalries have also fallen off the map.

    I think free agency has also squashed some of the better NBA rivalries. Lakers-Kings was nice for a while but all those players from those teams are long gone.

    The NBA gives us a lot more individual rivalries, like Russell-Chamberlain, Bird-Magic, Jordan-everyone. With East and West teams only playing twice a year, it really takes meeting in the Finals consistently for teams to build up some nice hate.

    I’m not quite sure why the Sox have a mental block when it comes to playing at Tampa Bay but they better get it figured out quick.

  3. I don’t go to Red Sox games anymore Rev. I find it hard to root against either of these teams. Before this year, I followed the Rays from the first day of workouts at the Naimoli complex and got caught up in the emergence of the team last year before the first pitch was thrown in anger. I am even a season ticket holder.

    I had my Championship in 2004 and again in ’07 so last year the Fabulous Cindy and I got caught up in the fun. This year, all is back to normal and I can’t watch the Sox lose. I gave my tickets away.

    Was there any explanation as to the “Dead Ball” play at the ballpark?

    I see you are still posting on FOX. It seems the only pupose to that lately is to let people know you are not dead.

  4. Chris

    I think that a rivalry has to be one that’s been built upon over a period of time. Whilst it’s true that the Sox Rays’ rivarly is merely to my mind in its infancy. It does add to the intrigue to what’s now happening within the AL East.

    With regard to Snake’s comments. It’s not about so much there being a mental block. Moreover , I think it’s about a team that just seems to have the Sox’s number at a given time. It happens to all teams that tend to meet each other over the course of a season , multiple times. It’s like a pendulumn it has to swing in both directions and not just one !

    Alan Parkins

  5. Chris

    The title link should read For $97m You’d Better Guarantee Me Something . Sorry ’bout that !

    And this was piece I’d completed on the Knicks and their alleged interest in White Chocolate , former Grizzlies and Heat point guard Jason Williams .

    Can hardly wait to see what he’ll do once he’s there with the Knicks , should they obtain him. It should prove to be a real joke !

    Like Water For Chocolate ….

    Alan Parkins

  6. Hey Rev, I’m glad you made it to a Sox- Rays game (you rat).

    The Rays are going to have to play more consistently if they hope to catch Boston much less the Yankees.

    I think they can do it, but they need to get hot real soon.

    Take care brother.

  7. Al… I do think the rivalry is headed in the right direction. It’s nowhere near Red Sox-Yankees but it’s healthy.

    And I do think Rays fans hate the Sox more than they hate the Yanks.

  8. Al… I’m all for players getting what they can get. You know I’m no hater.

    Even though I don’t really like Steve Czaban, he said it best when saying Eli is one incomplete pass to David Tyree from having things be totally different.

  9. Aer… I know there’s plenty of season left but what concerns me is the fact that the Rays and Yanks are playing great ball while the Red Sox look stagnant.

    Big 4-day weekend against the Yanks. Need to at least split, I would think.

  10. Chris

    I’m all for a player being rewarded for their productivity. But this borders on being asinine with regard to Eli Manning. Granted in each of his four years thus far the team has made the playoffs.

    But the reward here is by no means justified. What happens two years down the road with the likes of Roethlisberger when his contract is up for renewal ?

    Basically burnt an all nighter down in Miami in terms of work. I’ve got today and tomorrow off . But am now waiting on a decision to see if the client approves of the work we’ve done. Albeit , I think that a decision won’t be forthcoming ’til the early or middle part of next week.

    I guess when it comes to big business there are those who make the decisions . And then there are those who merely are the beck and call of those at the top of the food chain.

    Dropped this piece while I’ve been sitting here on the beachfront watchin’ the hot babes ! God what I’d do to lay some pipe on one those chicks ! Ah here comes my Dos Equis. I may not be the most interesting man in the world. But I do believe at times , I might as well act as if I’m important enough to be the most interesting man in the world . LOL,LOL ,LOL !!!

    As for the Rays , I’d certainly like to think that they can make it to the postseason . But just like the Florida Marlins they face a monumental task in trying to usurp the teams ahead of them in trying to win a wildcard berth.

    Dropped this piece titled Picks And Pans.

    Picks And Pans ……

    Let me know what you think as to its merits ?

    Alan Parkins

  11. Chris

    I understand what you’re saying about Steve Czaban. I felt the same way about the Chiefs’ Bernard Pollard when he took out Tom Brady of the Pats in ’08. That __ked up my wish to see if he(Brady) could lead us to the Promise Land , once again.

    But we’ve got to be about the here and now. Not about what might’ve been !

    Here’s a montage of 24’s Elisha Cuthbert and also of Ana Lucia Dominguez. I hope you that you like it all ?

    Elisha Cuthbert montage …..

    Ana Lucia Dominguez montage ……

    Alan Parkins

  12. Chris

    Rumor has it that Goodell has met with disgraced player , Donte’ Stallworth. Surely the Browns’ wide receiver isn’t under the impression because Vick’s been reinstated , he ought to be as well ? Especially given the fact that he felt that he’s served his time as far as legal arena is concerned.

    This’d be a travesty if Goodell were to allow that to happen ! Nevermind the damn outrage that it may well create.

    Alan

  13. Bo… The team still has enough talent to win. Landing Halladay would have been the icing on the cake.

    Yes, I’m double-posting. Not only on Fox but on other sites as well. But this site is now where I try to attract the most attention. Thanks for swinging by.

  14. Chris

    Well it looked like Stallworth manned up and is prepared to accept whatever punishment is meted out to him by Goodell .

    Is it me or is the former Aggies’ wide receiver Michael Crabtree a complete a_s ? The kid hasn’t even been in the league 5 minutes and he’s making demands of the Niners , that they’ve got to pay him or else he’ll sit out the season ? WTF ? If I were Singletary, I’d rescind the pick and send him the fu_k out , on the horse he rode in on. Who the hell is he , to think that he ought to be paid the same as someone taken earlier in the same round of the draft ?

    I guess at Texas Tech they just teach the kids to be overly conceited as well !

    Alan Parkins

  15. Chris

    Is the Red Sox keep losing the way they are at present. It could make the wildcard berth scenario all the more interesting between themselves the Rangers and the Rays .

    But as I’ve already alluded to , I do believe that the Rays have placed themselves behind the 8 ball, because of their failure to win back to back series with consistency.

    Alan Parkins

  16. For the life of me, I don’t understand what Michael Crabtree is thinking.

    Much like Manning’s pass to Tyree made him millions, Crabtree’s success and high draft position was in large part due to the big catch he had against Texas.

    So he’s gonna sit out instead of taking a little off the top? Illogical, Captain.

  17. Al… like I mentioned in the post, those September series will be definitely worth watching.

    The Yanks are peaking. We’ll see if they can keep it up.

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