SAN DIEGO ̵1; Three days of rising anxiety turned into a happy night for the Tampa Bay Rays, who became the new champions in the American League on Saturday night after being sent to the Houston Astros in seven games with a 4-2 victory to advance to World Series in the MLB playoffs.
“The last three days have been pretty frustrating,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ve definitely increased our stress levels. That’s a great team there. I’d rather finish it in Game 4 or 5 than Game 7.”
There may be more than 2,000 aeronautical miles between Petco Park and the home of the Rays at Tropicana Field, where this game will take place under normal circumstances, but little has been reduced to reduce the way they compete with These games, a single game in front of fans all the time.
“I feel bad that the fans didn’t go to the parks,” said Charlie Morton, a Tampa Bay starter who also won Game 7. “Our families won’t see us unless they are in quarantine. Mom flew. from New Jersey, but I can only see him from 15 feet away.But the silver lining here is, go posteason and it’s not the same.But I looked across the dugout and I knew the guys we were playing with , they care, and they want to win.
“Probably more this year than any other year, the motivation is doing it for everyone. You follow the protocols; you are moving away from society from families at home. Telling their children is not they embrace them. It brings out a level of humanity and empathy that you would not have seen in a normal time. “
This environment can be similar to a team travel game at 8 a.m., empty standing and almost no outside energy. But the intensity on the field during games is the main quality of the league. Celebrating on the field was a bit daunting, with players looking unsure about what they should do as they gathered in the infield as they received the AL championship trophy.
“It’s very intense,” Cash said. “I can’t sit here and say if we were in the Trop, our home, or at Yankee Stadium or Minute Maid they would not have been so intense in those ballparks. But the intensity of what our players showed and what they had the opposition presented made everything very, very tense for all of us.I did not [sleep last night]. I do not know if I have slept. Lots of anxiety. We’ve all watched ‘Four Days in October.’ I don’t want to see it again. “
The Rays, who have the best record in the American League, will end their 16-day stay in San Diego and fly to Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, ready to appear in the franchise’s second World Series. It doesn’t matter that only a few hundred people, mostly family and a crack of reporters, security guards and stadium DJs, actually witnessed what happened at Petco Park in the past two weeks.
The American African American penny will carry the same weight as any previous championship flag, even if it comes with a periodically shortened 60-game period. One man will be crowned as AL champ this season, and even though it took four more days full of tension after they took the lead in the 3-0 lead series, the Rays are more eager to fire some cigarettes of success in what turned into a seven-day marathon to eliminate the Astros.
Tampa Bay played just 12 unbeaten games in 13 days: five games in five days against the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series, one day off and then seven out of seven against Houston. Meanwhile, the Rays shared the same hotel with the Yankee first and then the Astros, a five-storey resort in nearby Carlsbad where a club occupied two floors, two different floors and one floor provided of buffer.
“It’s not easy,” said Tampa Bay catcher Mike Zunino. “We played five straight days in [division series], seven straight days at [championship series]. These people responded. “
Rays players are in quarantine at a hotel in St. Louis. Petersburg, Florida, in the last week of regular season, sharing that space by visiting the Philadelphia Phillies first and then the Toronto Blue Jays during the wild-card round before arriving in San Diego.
Many Rays players choose to join the quarantine spouses and children. However, parents are not allowed to do this, leaving them to wave and shout at their sons from 20 feet away after the games.
Tampa Bay reliever Shane McClanahan made his major league debut against the Yankees during the ALDS and gave up a full-count walk to Kyle Higashioka, the only second big leaguer he ever faced. Then, McClanahan can only talk to his parents on the phone. He said that the first thing his father told him was, “So, a 3-2 walk, huh?” He said he replied, “Yeah, great to talk to you too dad.”
This is the big league life in 2020.
Another key difference these players are already accustomed to: no wild, champagne-drenched clubhouse celebration. Those are considered a no-no at this time, somehow after the World Series. Instead, the Rays had a dance-off in front of their dugout after defeating the Yankees. At this time, they slipped inside their clubhouse, but whatever but the normal “Animal House” style madness you will see in any other year than 2020. Let’s just say that the carpets of clubhouse.
“We did a great job to make it as fun as possible,” Zunino said. “There’s confetti and silly strings. But there’s nothing better than popping bottles and running that and burning your eyes.”
The Rays, playing at 30-year-old Tropicana Field, first rushed to the luxurious and spacious home clubhouse of the Padres that had been their home for the past two weeks. When asked about the differences between their home and Petco facilities immediately after their arrival on October 2, exporter Nick Anderson answered by asking, “Are you trying to confuse me?”
No amount of canned crowd noise can double the feeling of a real, 40,000-plus crowd. But none of that matters in these Rays. They will play under the brightest light possible, though it may be difficult for some baseball fans to figure out who they are watching.
“We don’t have too many household names that a ton will know,” veteran outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “But we know the very good average players we have there. We’re just a bunch of enthusiastic, enthusiastic guys, and we show it on the field and we know how to win games – and that’s all that is important to us. “