HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – It’s a few days after. Not even By now, Rays fans, you’ve stopped having nightmares. Or maybe you haven’t. The Rays’ wonderful season, storybook in so many ways, came up two chapters short in Texas. But let’s be gracious. We’d like to congratulate the winning team, as well as Los Angeles Dodgers Series MVP Kevin Cash.
It was no way to end this season, Rays shortstop Willy Adames watching that called third strike. It’s all over but the Randy Arozarena personal appearance at Bill Currie Ford.
In the nightmare, slow motion, it’s one Dodger out into the sixth inning of Game 6 and Cash, apparently having breathed in the fumes of edgy Rays metrics for too long, is leaving the Rays to pull Blake Snell from a game Snell owned, just two hits and nine strikeouts. The last man to have at least nine strikeouts through four innings of a World Series game was 1963, another lefthander, a Dodger named Sanford Koufax.
Snell uttered a profanity as he headed for the dugout, and probably uttered more, hidden away behind his COVID mask. He was replaced by the once unhittable Nick Anderson, who promptly surrendered the lead and with it a world championship.
We began fitting Cash for goat horns, with reason, despite all he the right buttons he pushed to get the Rays to the postseason with the best record in the American League. Funny, but Cash will eventually be named manager of the year, strange, but true, after his John McNamara moment. Funny, but it was McNamara who let Bill Buckner stay in the game to let Game 6 of the 1986 World Series go between his quivering legs. This one was on Cash.
Okay, I’ve had my say. There’s no reason to cry over this, Rays fans. If you want to cry, wait until the back the moving vans up to Tropicana Field and the Rays leave for Montreal. And in defense of Cash, the Rays lost to a damn good Dodgers team, a team that had been the best in baseball all season, and that goes for the Series. Los Angeles had a profoundly deeper lineup and, as it turned out, a better bullpen.
Don’t cry for the Rays. This was not a tragedy. A tragedy is the pandemic sweeping through the country and the world again, a virus that wouldn’t even leave the World Series to go in peace. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was yanked from Game 6 after his positive COVID-19 test came back. Baseball is still looking into why the hell Turner was on the field after, celebrating with his teammates, without a mask no less. Turner will campaign for President Trump this weekend.
Yes, Game 6 was crushing, seeing as it wiped out Tampa Bay’s shot at elusive exacta by following up on the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup. We had Titletown all mapped out, with Brady and the Bucs waiting in the wings. Ah, the trifecta. All gone. Now we’re down to Antonio Brown and when he blows up. Oh, what could have been around here.
But the Rays had a smashing season. They knocked off the mighty Yankees in the postseason, then the cheater Astros, a good year’s work if there ever was. They just didn’t have enough to win it all.
The Rays are not going away. Neither is Cash, who will be back, maybe even with a raise, though after Game 6 I’d make it in French money. The Rays will lose some players, maybe including pitching master Charlie Morton. On the other hand, the virus sacked baseball’s finances, so free agents might come cheaply next time around. And if no one has any money, or acts like it, well, they’re the Rays, aren’t they?
The Rays are not going away. Yes, it won’t be easy to repeat this trick, but they can do it. They will find a way. It’s what they do. It was the Dodgers’ year. Maybe it’ll be the Day of the Rays next year.
Bucs, you’re on the clock.
If any of you see Bruce Arians on the way to the huddle to pull Brady, well, the Rays warned us.