Tag:Tampa Bay Rays
Posted on: June 12, 2008 2:21 pm

The Next Storied Franchise

Friday starts a 17-day stretch of Interleague play.  Who do you think will come out on top?  Do you think this is the year the NL will take the lead?  View the full list of Interleague Wins By League

As a longtime Florida resident, I'm excited to see the Marlins vs. the Rays.  I'm pretty sure almost nobody out there picked either team to be within a few games of their division's first place spot (Note to those of you that did - PLAY LOTTERY NOW).  Surely nobody here thought that . . . let's revisit the preseason staff picks. Rays - fourth place across the board.  And, the Marlins, 4 out of 5 picked the fish to finish last.  I know, I know, it's not even the All-Star break yet, but this is still impressive.  At what point in time will these teams be given any respect?  Perhaps we should hold off (on the respect part) as the naysayers probably add fuel to the fire. 

In one of Scott's columns, he said it best about the Rays: "Welcome to the best story in baseball in 2008, a tale that many within the game saw coming as early as a year ago because of the treehouse full of young talent the Rays have amassed -- but a tale nobody saw coming this quickly.

"I'd be lying if I told you I thought our record would be (38-26) at this juncture," manager Joe Maddon says. "The part of that that's sustainable, though, is our pitching and defense. When you can do it in those two aspects of the game, that's when you have your best chance to keep it going."  . . . Read the full story.

Anyway, back to the point.  Both of these teams are making a serious run at division titles, both are fighting for a new stadum but who will have the staying power to take this momentum and go with it. . . not just through October but into 2009 and beyond?  In South Florida, fans are especially fickle and even with an amazing run at the end of this season, I'm guessing that unfortunately, it's not the Marlins.  I'm not in Tampa so I'm not sure how it is there, but could they be approaching the status they need to become one of those storied franchises . . maybe?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com