For the first time since 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays have punched their ticket to the World Series and will face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 2008, Joe Maddon was managing the Rays, Cole Hamels was the World Series MVP, and current playoff hero Randy Arozarena barely was a teenager. Dave Roberts, the manager of the Rays upcoming opponent, was still playing with the San Francisco Giants.
To say the least, a lot has changed in 12 years. This is a Rays team that is certainly an underdog versus the power packed Dodgers lineup. But don’t overlook what they can do.
The Rays already defeated the up-and-coming Toronto Blue Jays, the ferocious New York Yankees, and now pretty much universally disliked Houston Astros. The only team that stands in their way is Los Angeles.
LA’s star player and former MVP Mookie Betts makes more in a year than the Rays entire payroll.
Tampa Bay also has a team full of Indiana connections. Whether that’s being a native Hoosier, or playing here professionally at some point, their locker room circles back to the 317, 260, and 574.
To break down the World Series, and also the Indiana ties, Indy’s own and Fox Sports Florida reporter Tricia Whitaker stopped by The Fan Morning Show on Monday.
“The Indiana connections on this team are incredible,” Whitaker said. “Mike Brosseau, who hit the home run off of Aroldis Chapman to beat the Yankees, is from Portage. He loves everything about Indiana and we love talking about it in the clubhouse.
Brosseau and the Rays bats have gotten it done all postseason long. Houston gave them a run for their money after being down 3-0 in the ALCS and forcing a game 7; But Tampa prevailed and has a shot at their first championship.
“Kevin Kiermaier is from Fort Wayne and then committed to play at Purdue,” Whitaker added. “It’s so much fun. You also have Tyler Glasnow, Charlie Morton and Austin Meadows who all played for the Indianapolis Indians. Aaron Slegers, who has been pitching phenomenal, also went to IU.”
The World Series will begin down at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Tuesday night. First pitch is set for 8:09 PM with Joe Buck and John Smoltz on the call.
Tune into The Fan Morning Show weekdays from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM.