“What I need is more cowbell!”
It certainly lacks the popular appeal of a Red Sox – Dodgers matchup or a Cubs – Anyone matchup, but this Phillies – Rays card has the potential to be a great series.
My heart is with the Rays in this one, by my head is having a tough time choosing the winner.
First, the Phillies, who are playing with a purpose. They speak freely about Phillie teams of the past, about the legacies of John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra, and Mike Schmidt. They want to be the Phillies of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Cole Hamels. They have a distinct awareness of a team history containing only 1 World Series title in the 500 or so years the team has been around. They have a purpose and that purpose is to win the World Series. That purpose is the fuel behind their incredible mental toughness. Pound for pound they were not the best team in the National League, but they played better than any other team. In a sport that is 90% half mental, that counts more than anything else.
The Rays may not have the same sense of purpose, however, they possess a unshakable belief in themselves. They have played through the expectations that they would tank. They battled tooth and nail in Game 7 of the ALCS against a Red Sox team that expects to win those games. They’re young, they’re confident, and they’ve been doing all season what everyone said they could not. It’s a mistake to think Cinderella will be leaving before midnight.
Overall, I just want a 7 Game gritty series.