Nope, it still does not feel any better. That is what makes baseball so great. I was not even thinking about an ALCS, but now that the opportunity to play in one is gone for good, I have this empty feeling in my stomach. I am happy for the Rangers because Nolan Ryan is my life-long idol and I have many friends that are Rangers fans. The Rangers came into existence the same year I was born; they just won their first playoff series in franchise history. For all that the Rays have gone through in just 13 seasons, the Rangers have been to the playoffs just four times in 38 seasons and finally won their first playoff series. I think back to how this area was during the magical 2008 season and am envious of what the Metroplex area must be like today.
For more than 26 weeks this season, the Rays thrilled me, frustrated me, entertained me, and stressed me out – and I thank them for it. They made me proud to be a Rays fan despite the national media belittling the stadium and the attendance. They made me proud to be a Rays fan by winning the American League East when nearly every pundit (yours included) said they could not do it. They made me proud to be a Rays fan by not giving up and forcing the ALDS to a fifth game after dropping the first two games at home. For all that, I thank them.
I’d also like to take the time to thank many of the people that made this great run in 2010 possible for this site (in no particular order):
- Ryan Houston and the staff at Fanball.com for allowing me to cover the Rays for the Fanball Sports Blog Network
- Jason Hanselman for coming on staff and providing the site with terrific sabremetric analysis and writing
- Chris Hughes and JB Long at Bright House Sports Network for allowing me and the guys at TPR to provide a different type of content to their site
- The staff at ESPN 1040 for bringing me on as a Rays Insider for 2010 and the future
- Tommy Rancel and R.J. Anderson over at The Process Report for their friendship and body of work
- Steve Slowinski, Erik Hahmann, Free Zorilla and the gang at DRaysBay for letting me contribute to the pre-season Rays Guide and everything they provide during the season
- Jonah Keri for his upcoming book, his conversation on IM and email, and his efforts to spread the good word about the Rays on local and national radio
- The Fabulous Sports Babe for bringing me on the show several times this year as a guest and for letting me co-host with her during the ALDS live events
- Steve Kyler and Alex Kennedy for having me on The Game each Sunday morning this season
- John Russo of AM 1490 in Bradenton for having me on as a weekly guest to talk Rays baseball
- The Shot Doctor, David Buffa, and Scott Harris at 740 AM in Orlando for bringing me on several times this year to talk about the Rays as the only form of media that covered the Rays this season in Orlando
- Jeff Rickard, Steve Phillips, Jeff Erickson, Chris Liss, Ray Flowers, and Kyle Elfrink of XM/Sirius Radio for having me on as a guest throughout the season to talk Rays baseball and fantasy baseball
- All of the podcasts I have been on this season: Baseball Prospectus Radio, Baseball with Paul Sporer, SethSpeaks, BaseballPress, Jaysdome, and of course, The Podcast to be Named Later
- Noah Coslov of CineSport.com for bringing me on each week to discuss baseball
If I forgot anyone, my apologies but three hours of sleep can make someone a bit forgetful.
Last but not least, all of you that visit this site, leave comments, and interact on Twitter. It is your passion for this team that fuels my desire to grow this site even more in the coming months. Please do not lose that passion for this team for some of the names and faces in those jerseys may change in 2011, the team name on the front of those jerseys will remain the same. These are your Rays – be proud of them for winning the toughest division in all of sports two of the last three seasons and for what is to come in the future!