Monday, June 30, 2008

Tampa Atop the Bigs

The Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in baseball through their first 81 games, or the first half of this season. Granted, we've seen unlikely teams do quite well through the first half before, maybe the best example is the 2005 Washington Nationals, only to completely fall apart later in the season. I remember writing a column for the college newspaper about the Nats, and maybe this is the same thing, but...

Tampa seems actually built for sustained success. Maybe they don't finish this year on top of the American League East. Maybe they don't even get the AL Wild Card. But they've got a lineup and pitching staff that situates them in the top of the American League for at least the next few years. Nearly everyone on the team is young, with rookie Evan Longoria and youngster BJ Upton highlighting the position players. The Rays have strong starting pitching and could even be making a move to acquire CC Sabathia from the Indians before the trade-deadline. Even better, they seem to hate the Red Sox and Yankees, which puts them in the likable category with most fans around the country.

Let's hope they can keep it up and at the very least keep one of the two northeastern teams out of this year's playoffs.

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