If the Tampa Bay Rays lose a playoff series on their own turf, and no one is around to see it, did it even really happen? Don't ask us. We're just the last-place Yankees. The Rays have bigger things to focus on than our shenanigans.
And maybe someday, they actually will focus on them, instead of bloviating about getting plunked and gagging away another postseason, an annual tradition at the Trop. Alas.
Playoff Randy Arozarena and the stacked Rays staff managed to muster precious little against the Texas Rangers this week. This was a Texas team that nearly blew a playoff spot entirely after holding onto the AL West all year, only to regain a division lead prior to the season's final series ... when they let the Astros pass them, reconfiguring the seeding at the horn.
Maybe that left the Rays shaken and unprepared. But hey, that's what the end-of-season preparing Brandon Lowe thought was so important while playing the Yankees in August is for.
If you'll recall, Lowe took umbrage with some beanballs when the Yankees and Rays played their final series of 2023 at the Trop, then used his postgame press conference to throw dirt on the Yanks' grave. It was a textbook example of proving you care about something by claiming you don't care about it at all, actually.
And, at the end of the day, both the "last-place Yankees" and the 99-win Rays captured the same number of postseason games. The Rays scored just a single run across two games, disappointing a raucous Florida crowd -- or was it technically a "crowd"? More like a "raucous small gathering" or a "raucous socially-distanced dinner party."
Yankees always try to emulate Rays model, which involves losing short playoff series
The 2020 postseason represented the only post-2008 run this model franchise has participated in -- and, fittingly, that was jumpstarted by beating the Yankees and Aroldis Chapman. Without us, they're nothing.
Outside of that empty-stadium run (where the Rays must've felt at home), the franchise has won a whopping zero full-length postseason series since their 2008 AL Championship, mixing in a couple one-game Wild Card triumphs along the way. It's difficult to determine which ouster was more embarrassing: 2021, when a 102-win Rays team failed in Boston, or Wednesday evening, when the team that threatened to boatrace the AL East in April ultimately went out with an historic whimper, earning Sports Illustrated's unfortunate title of "The New Face of Playoff Ineptitude."
Yikes. Now they're learning from us.
This Tampa team combines a combative nature with a holier-than-thou attitude, never humbly stooping to the same level as their analytics forefathers like Billy Beane, who at least had the common decency to state that his "sh*t doesn't work" in the playoffs. The Rays, who won't acknowledge that truth, at least keep living it year after year. Take it from a "last-place team": it doesn't matter how you get to the couch as long as you land there in early October.