My friend Joe posed an interesting question to me last week during the Red Sox-Yankees series.
"The Rays and Yankees play each other next week in Tampa. Who do we root for?"
The standings might say the answer is the Yankees, as they have little hope of getting back in either the AL East or Wild Card races. They trail TB by an amazing 12 games, and the Sox in the WC by 7 (and the Twins by 4), and have just 25 games left to play. New York is in the middle of a brutal road trip that takes them from Tampa to Seattle and then Anaheim. It would take an astounding reversal of fortunes (of two or three teams) for them to make any kind of serious run.
So that's why I'm rooting for the Rays in this series.
I've witnessed too much in my life as a Red Sox fan to ever pull for the New York Yankees. They maybe dying, but they still have a pulse. I'd feel differently if they had just been mathematically eliminated, but they are still out there. I've heard the arguments about the Red Sox schedule the remainder of the way and that, of course, is good. Right now it appears that both the Sox and Rays will make the playoffs, one as a division winner and the other the wild card. (I'd rather see the Red Sox win the division, but as long as they are there in October, that is the priority.)
The BIG series are coming up next week and the week after, when the Rays come to Boston next Monday, and the following Monday the Sox head to Tampa, both three-game series. Those series may ultimately determine who goes where.
As far as the Yankees go, I'll be comfortable with them on the day they are mathematically eliminated, and not before.
Go Rays. (At least for the next three nights.)