Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rooting for the Rays

With the Tampa Bay Rays headed back to Boston tied at 1-1 with the Red Sox in the ALCS, it's probably time to take stock of the franchise's remarkable futility over the past decade.

Enough is enough: The poor, beleaguered Rays fan deserves a defense. The mistake here isn't to sneer at expansion teams—to be uncomfortable with a team whose color scheme involves teal or magenta hoisting a World Series trophy is just to be a baseball fan. Rather, it's to regard duration, rather than intensity, as the proper measure of baseball suffering. By a standard that holds that a team deserves to win in proportion to what it's endured, the Rays have as great a right to a trophy as anyone else. Cheering for the Cubs is like carrying on with a rotten tooth; cheering for the Rays has, until this year, been like being stabbed in the face repeatedly with a butter knife.

Hard to disagree. I've rooted for some mediocre teams over the course of my lifetime - the Houston Oilers of the early-to-mid 80s and the University of Houston hoops teams in the post- Phi Slamma Jamma era come to mind - but nothing quite as putrid as the Rays.

Though I can't bring myself to jump on the bandwagon, it's nice to see the honest-to-goodness Rays fans experience some October ecstasy.

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