The Tampa Bay Rays are going to the World Series. Think how bizarre that sounds. But there's no arguing how good the Rays have been all season. And it took a whole lot to survive the gut-punch of blowing a 7-0 lead in Game Five and pull out Game Seven over the Red Sox, 3-1, Sunday night.
You've got to give it up to the Red Sox but in the end, too many power arms and just enough offense pushed things Tampa Bay's way.
I want to pat myself on the back for my choice as Joe Maddon as AL manager of the year in our preseason preview section but even I thought the best the Rays could hope for was about 85 wins. And that would never be enough for the wild card with the Yankees and Red Sox above them in the AL East. So I was right on one count and wrong on another.
I'm off to Tampa/St. Pete today and we'll have full coverage of the World Series in the paper beginning on Tuesday and here on the blog. We're also planning a live chat heading into the series, tentatively Wednesday morning in the 11 a.m. range. So be sure to join me for that.
And feel free to post your reflections on the ALCS in the comments. If you're a Red Sox fan, what do you do about the likes of Jason Varitek? Tim Wakefield? Mike Timlin? Some decisions to be made for sure.