Part I: So We're Playing the Rays

Once again, Swing and a Long Drive is taking you on a three part series to build up to the next round of the playoffs. This edition, the World Series.

After a long wait, the Phillies finally found out they will being playing the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. So what is it about this Tampa Bay team that makes it so special?

Matt Garza captured the ALCS MVP as he helped to beat the Red Sox 3-1 in game 7. The Rays came oh so close to allowing another Red Sox ALCS comeback, but Garza put a stop to it.

B.J Upton, who hit just 9 homeruns during the entire regular season has hit 7 this postseason.

To start the 2008 season, the Rays had a new name and new look. Formally known as the Devil Rays, they took the "Devil" out and changed their uniforms colors from a green to blue. The Rays are also looking into a new stadium. The Rays made some big changes, and they have the talent to be a big team in the future.

The 1998 expansion team's first game ever came in a loss to the Detroit Tigers. That was the first loss of many. Prior to this year, the Rays never broke a .500 record.

Because of all those losing seasons, the Rays were able to have several first round picks in the draft. Evan Longoria, a strong 2008 Rookie of the Year candidate, is among one of those player.

David Price made his Major League debut in September, and he threw the last pitch in which Akinori Iwamura made the force out at second base.

The Rays finished tied for most wins in Major League Baseball this season. They beat the White Sox in the ALDS, and the Red Sox in the ALCS to advance to the World Series.

It may have been a long time since the Phillies have won, but the Rays have never won a championship, nor been this far into the postseason, or even the postseason at all. The inexperience in the World Series are two traits the Rays and Phillies have in common. (Only Brad Lidge, Pedro Feliz, So Taguchi, and Cliff Floyd, have appeared in World Series.)

The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are truly baseball's Cinderella story of the year. Before the season, their odds to win the World Series were 200:1. Now they are in the fall classic. The truly shocked all of baseball with their amazing season. With their talent, a winning season was bound to happen, but who knew they'd go this far, this year.

Come back for Part II: Tampa vs. Philly, coming soon.


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