Obviously, I'm glad the Rays won... because I don't like the Sawx, their fans, their players, etc. But more than that, seeing the joy exhibited by the Rays players after they won last night was just one of those really cool things in sports. They were thrilled, relieved, joyful.... and many of these guys were part of the worst team in baseball last season.... and to be part of that journey has got to be just amazing.
And as much as I hate the Red Sox, I do have a grudging respect for them. Bill Simmons, who jumped the shark a long time ago in most peoples' eyes, wrote a column after the 2001 World Series, when the Yankees lost in seven games to the Diamondbacks on a bottom-of-the-ninth rally. Simmons wrote about how much he respected the Yankees and that you can tell the mettle of a champion not only when they win, but in how they are toppled. Like when a dynasty ends, the mark of a champion is in how hard they fight to the bitter end. Those Yankees struggled to push that series to seven games and almost pulled it out in the end... and they fought to the last second.
The same can be said of the 2008 Red Sox. Through the Manny disaster and trade, Ortiz slumping badly this season, Lowell not even being on the ALCS roster, injuries all over the places, etc... this team still played hard to the end and did not give the Rays anything. Down 7-0 in the 7th inning of Game 5, with TBS and everyone else already talking about the Rays versus the Phillies, and with Sox fans (who likely became Sox fans in about October 2004) the Sox players had to be the only ones who still believed they could do it. And they almost freaking did. Incredible.
Back in October of 2004, on my old site, when the Yankees were initiating their collapse to the Sox, I wrote that you couldn't ever take your boot off the Sox throat. Here's what I said on October 18, 2004:
"The Sox are a team I just don't feel comfortable around until they're gone.You need to run them over with the bus, then back over them, then run over them again. And then get out and hit them with the tire iron. Repeatedly. And then back over them again."
And they're still that team. They're still hungry, they still believe they can win no matter what the situation. And last night, if a few things had bounced their way... or if Drew wasn't called out on strikes on a pitch a foot outside that even the pitcher said he thought was a ball in the postgame.
I still don't like them or a lot of their players, but they refused to give up their throne easily and I respect them for that.
"Dude! I know! We was rahbbed! I can't believe the Sawx lost! I'm gonna go home and beat my girlfriend now... should cheeah me up."