...how could this happen?
It is hell playing for a team with a miserable, laughable baseball history. But, things are looking up for you, as you enter this playoff round with a sizable statistical edge against your opponent. Things start off great, but with a seven run lead, and only nine outs away from a World Series, the dream unravells as your opponent comes back and takes the game, along with the next game.
And so, heading into Game 7, you have no shot, right? I mean, the momentum you held as recently as the 7th inning two games ago slipped away, fell into the other guys' laps. They clawed back, came roaring back in fact, and it is your role now to lie in the middle of the tracks, waiting to get run over. Statistical superiority be damned, we're doomed, I've seen it before, over and over again, and it is inevitable. THAT is what's gonna happen, right?
Of course not. Not if you're on nearly any other team on the face of the earth. You have a Game 7, at home, in the warehouse you play in, the score starts at zero to zero, and you have a shot at winning, same as the other guy. And if you're the Tampa Bay Rays, despite your previously miserable existence and your disinterested fanbase, you send something called Matt Garza out to start, and a guy you called up in September gets the last four massive outs against the defending World Champs, and you win a pennant, pop corks, and get ready for your first World Series.
Even though you've only existed for 11 years. Even though you've never won more than 70 games before now. Even though you coughed up an insurmountable lead in an elimination situation against an opponent who has won the championship in two of the past four years. Even after having to Change Your Name before the start of the season, picking fights in Spring Training and having other teams condescend to you, petting your head like a toy terrier and gushing how cute it is that the wee little Rays are acting all scrappy. Even though your most famous player is only famous because his name sounds almost like the same name as some hott actress!
Even after all that, you pick yourself up and win Game 7, because you can, because you're good, because after all, this is just a game, and you both put your pants on one leg at a time, and all the other cliches you can dig up. Because your hitters hit, your pitchers pitch, and your manager pushes the right buttons. Because you're Not cursed, because you don't have a Hundred years of negative dissonance you're trying to overcome, and because you simply played better, made fewer mistakes, and you ran out of innings and your run total was more than the other guys.
Doesn't that all sound so simple, so obvious?
Then Why The Hell can't WE ever do it?