Rays-Red Sox, the world is (really) watching, day 2
Rays nation? Well at least Rays bay ....
According to the team, the TV ratings for last night's game were the highest in franchise history.
The Rays say the game had an 8.5 average rating (and 13 share) and peaked at 10 p.m. with a 12.8 rating (and 20 share), making it the No. 1 watched program in the Tampa Bay market at that time. The 12.8 share was the highest in team history, and the combined 271,000 homes in the Tampa Bay and Orlando markets was also a team-high.
Meanwhile, the national media is traipsing through Tropicana Field and regularly raving about the Rays, and the Red Sox seem to be aware, if not impressed, by what the Rays have done. Here is the cover from the upcoming issue of ESPN, The Magazine.
And it appears the Yankees have noticed.
Even with the Red Sox headed to the Bronx for a fiery Fourth of July, Yankees are definitely paying attention to the Rays, and, from what Mike Mussina said in this Daily News piece, sound a bit concerned:
"I think they're going to be there," Mussina said after taking a tough loss Monday night. "They've been doing it for three months, and though they don't have a history of winning, once you believe you're a pretty good team, then you can do a lot of things.
"I think they believe now. And I know for sure the rest of us believe they're a good team. Unless they have a major injury, they're going to be there."
Add another name the list of believers, as David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel also crowns the Rays as the best team in the game, and then goes a little further, writing:
"City fathers warned fans to arrive early to beat the crush. City mothers have been naming their first-born males "Akinori. Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially entered a parallel universe. Up is down, ugly is beautiful and the Tampa Bay Rays are the best team in baseball."
ESPN's Peter Gammons weighs in on the market for Indians ace LHP C.C. Sabathia, writing that: "Tampa Bay has lurked, but Rays people say there's now way they can sign him after the season, and their focus is on a right-handed bat with (Pittsburgh's Xavier Nady) and (the Cubs' Matt) Murton on their radar.''
Former Red Sox slugger Brian Daubach, now hitting coach with the independent league Nashua Pride, talked to the Boston Herald about his painful memories of past Rays-Sox brawls.