A sampling of e-mails the St. Petersburg Times received after the Rays lost the World Series to the Phillies on Wednesday.
Hey there, Rays fans:
San Francisco Giants fan here. Thanks for thrilling me throughout the playoffs. You are a classy, gutsy team. I loved watching you. You fought in the Series, and you know what? In this Series, a call here, a bounce there and it might have been different. In the end, it wasn't to be. No postmortems needed. Tell the kids to hold their heads high. Have a parade. Rays, you were ...great!
The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, and I congratulate them on the win. But the real winners are the Tampa Bay Rays. These guys went into this season knowing the record of this team and played their hearts out for us. They made it to the World Series, and they played hard. It wasn't the easiest of times for either team due to weather. This year's Rays gave us some of the most exciting baseball we've ever seen from our hometown team. In my heart and mind, they are the real winners. A hug goes to each of them. Great job, guys.
Congratulations to the Rays for an outstanding season. This season has turned my wife and I from casual observers to full-fledged baseball fans. The tide has changed for Tampa Bay area baseball, and we look forward to many seasons of exciting Raysball.
Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans.
While your disappointment of not prevailing in the 2008 World Series is paramount at this time, here's a note of praise from a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area and a passionate Phillies fan.
Manager Joe Maddon is a really class individual, and it was reflected throughout the Series. The Tampa Bay Rays are a formidable and young team, and with players like Evan Longoria and David Price, this team will be a force to be reckoned with in the American League in the future. There's no way to harness B.J. Upton, and this Phillies fan wishes all the best in health to Rocco Baldelli in the future.
You all were the best in the American League, and it showed in the World Series.
Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
Okay, I'll admit it. I was one of those people who did not really start paying attention to the Rays until a couple of months ago, and I did not get really excited about watching them until they took on the Chicago White Sox in the postseason. I even surprised myself a little bit when I, after seeing Orlando Cabrera kick dirt at our pitcher, Grant Balfour, jumped up and yelled at the TV, telling their shortstop to grow up and squealing excitedly when Balfour struck him out.
This team and these players did not win the World Series, but they definitely have won a fan for life. Three months ago I could not have named one player on the team, but they are my team now and forever more.
Thanks so much to all the guys who played like true champions, and to Joe Maddon and all the staff for such an exciting postseason. (I was a nervous wreck during the entire Boston series.)
You guys did such a good job. We love you and can't wait until next season.
My thanks to everyone associated with the Rays who gave us such a fantastic, exciting season. Fans and the team rocked the Trop like never before. What a year to celebrate!
We need a couple of bats, but a big thing that should be easy is a new third-base coach. Sending Jason Bartlett home in Game 5 Wednesday was a mistake. Hopefully the Rays have been watching the tapes and know this.
No, the magical 2008 Rays season did not end with them hoisting the World Series trophy. That being said, our beloved American League champion Tampa Bay Rays have every right to be proud of themselves. We as loyal fans have every right to raise a glass and toast the Rays on one heck of a great job! They'll be back next year and better than this year. The is one state of Florida team that will not go quietly into the night!
From what I noticed about the paper's presentation of the Series results, it indicates the heads lowered, as if the Rays are ashamed they lost. However, after all, they still are the American League champions, and for this young team, that's an amazing accomplishment. It's something to be proud of, and they should lift their heads high.
And this acknowledgment comes from one who isn't a Rays fan, just a sports fan.