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World Series 2008: Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays square off

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Since the Rays downed the Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS, I've heard from many people that they weren't going to watch a pitch of this World Series. A few of them cited the aesthetic shortcomings of Tropicana Field, a lack of rooting interest and just general frustration that both Chicago teams fared some miserably.

And yet despite all these comments, Game 1 of the World Series will be played Wednesday night in St. Petersburg. Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I've got a lot of enthusiasm for this Fall Classic.

It's no secret that we've been on the Rays' bandwagon for some time now. It's hard not to root for a team that is playing so beyond the expectations set for them. And the way they're doing it is pretty fearless, as exampled by untested rookie David Price picking up the four-out save in the deciding game against Boston.

Sun-Times baseball guru Chris De Luca reports that the upstart Rays aren't likely to get a case of stage fright.

"''One thing that surprises me about Tampa is how their young guys don't care what situation they're in,'' Phillies closer Brad Lidge told ''These are guys 24, 25 years old that look like they're 10-year veterans. They look like they've been there before. They're obviously very talented, but at the same time they're not blinking.''

The Rays finished 51 games out of first place in their 1998 debut season. Before this season, the closest they got to a division title was finishing 18 games out in 2000 under Larry Rothschild, now the Cubs' pitching coach and the first manager of the Devil Rays.

They would have had every right simply to be content to reach the playoffs. Watching them hold off the defending World Series champion Red Sox in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series showed that the young Rays have their eyes on the ultimate prize.

Across the diamond, a well-rested Phillies team is looking to bring the city of Philadelphia its first world title since 1983. A SPAM musubi-fueled Shane Victorino is tearing the cover off the ball and starting pitcher Cole Hamels has been downright dominant in the postseason.

Pat Burrell has been excelling in other ways.

When they wrapped up their series with the Dodgers in five games, we sort of jumped the gun, claiming the Fightins' would take the World Series in five games as well. We'd like to retract that.

Vegas pits the Rays as favorites, Rays fans are learning the only prescription for baseball fever is more cowbell and it's just too good of a Cinderella story to have an unhappy ending. Even though it'd be great to see legendary Phillies' broadcaster Harry Kalas singing again, we think it's going to be Tampa hoisting that trophy.

Sports Pros(e) says: Tampa Bay in Six

What do you think? Who wins and in how many games?

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Being a Philly native for 41 years and a Phillies phan for almost as long, I would really like to see them win. It will not be easy nor a blowout but I think their talent and frame of mind will prevail. Good luck Guys!!!!

Kyle responds: I'm a fan of the "ph" replacing the f in almost all contexts. 1983 was a long time ago...enjoy breaking the drought -- if it happens.

What World Title did they win in 1983??? it wasn't baseball the Orioles beat them in 5 games the last world series they won was in 1980 not 83

Kyle responds: The Sixers.

The Rays truly are a cinderella story. These are a group of young guys with more talent rolling around in their bullpin than almost any other team in both the national and american league. They have raw talent, enthusiasm and most important a team spirit that can not be broken. After the 8-7 loss and then another even more dissapointing loss they kept a high spirit and a "can't keep us down" attitude. They prevailed through a season of doubt and crappy fans who would not even come to their games. But they were there to play as a team and give it their all which turned out to be more than enough to give them the respect they deserve. Go Rays!!!

ESPN whon't know how to act when they cover this series. There are no New York Teams, no Chicago teams, no Boston. They may have to do some homework for a change. Of course their angle will be "the upstart Rays capturing the hearts of the baseball world!" I know I'll be watching coverage before and after the WS games on my local cable network out of Philly. That way I won't have to see annoying, boring stories of how this al relates to New York, Chicago and Boston....and don't forget ESPN's other favorite subject: Brett Favre, a good but not great and highly overrated quarterback.

Kyle responds: Do you have any dip for that giant chip on your shoulder, John? Thanks for reading. For the record, I think Hamels wins tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays Vs Philadelphia Phillies is a surewin of 4.21%

The city of Philadelphia is so starved for a title that those fans could will this team to a victory. The Rays are not going to know what hit them when they arrive in the City of Brotherly Love. They think cowbells and mohawks are cool, wait until they see the crowd in Philadelphia in Games 3, 4 and 5.

The Tampa Bay Rays symbolize the unique American ability to overcome
enormous odds to rise to the top. The Tampa Bay Rays are destined to
make history in the 2008 World Series! Go Rays!

The Rays came to Philly and finally learned what real phans are!! Phillies are destined to win this series...and it's looking more and more like it each game!! The Phillies deserve this championship...and so do the phans!! GO PHILS!!

You really messed up that prediction huh? Don't worry, so did all the other so-called sports writers. Congratulations Phillies!

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on October 21, 2008 9:54 AM.

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