Where are my manners? I've been so caught up in my own post-September 28 sorrow and self-pity that I've completely forgotten to thank the Tampa Bay Rays for ensuring that this October sucks just a tiny bit less than last October and every October in these parts since 1995. That tiny bit, however, cannot be understated, for that tiny bit is huge if you are a Mets fan living in the New York Metropolitan area and all you want, if you can't have your own team playing, is for your neighbor's team to be not playing.
THANK YOU TAMPA BAY RAYS!
Thank you for making the tenth month a less dark place. Thank you for all you've done to beautify the New York sports landscape. You are the cleansing rain that washed the trash off the fetid sidewalks.
I'd been waiting more than a decade for a savior to rise from those American League East streets, for someone to pair with the Boston Red Sox and create a playoff-proof barrier against chronic disgust. I always thought it would be the Blue Jays. Shows you what I knew.
It is the Rays, the Rays, the beautiful Rays. That much I do know, and that much I am thankful for.
Three of the National League teams competing in this postseason had a very recent and direct hand in ensuring my team's lack of participation (though my team pretty much did itself in). I can't root for any of them free and clear, as if I'd really want to. The fourth team will be vastly overhonored in my team's new park no matter what they do this October; the Dodgers require no further decoration. In the American League, there are three teams who have all slain their ghosts during this decade, sympathetic sorts I've always thought, but they don't too badly need my sympathies at the moment. That leaves the Rays, the Rays, the beautiful Tampa Bay Rays, the beautiful Tampa Bay Rays who, by winning the American League East, claimed what had always been, since divisional realignment, a legacy spot presumed to belong to somebody else. Those somebody elses don't have it anymore, and ain't October in these parts that much more slightly tolerable because of it?
That's the Rays' handiwork. The Red Sox', too, but that no longer seems remarkable. The Rays do. The Rays are. The Rays calmly cast aside the doubters in 2008 just as the Mets did in 1969. The Rays stood firm, just as the Mets did not in 2008. There is nobody left to root for in a way that uplifts us all besides the Rays, the Rays, the beautiful Rays of old Tampa Bay.