20 October 2008

Price is Right for The Rays

What a game.

Last night's Game 7 that catapulted the Rays into their first World Series was one for the ages.  No story sounds better that the old "Doormat a year ago...now heading to the Fall Classic" yarn.

That said, while the game was full of great storylines, for my money the one that'll stick with us is the baptism by fire of 2007 No. 1 overall pick David Price.

Only a year removed from mowing down batters in the SEC, Price continued his dominance through every level in the minors...earning a coveted spot on the Rays' expanded roster, and now...their postseason team.

As if that wasn't enough...now manager Joe Maddon calls his number for the most important inning of the franchise's history....asking him to hold a two run lead over the defending champion Red Sox.

The Sox (or should we say comeback kids?) showed why they've won 2 World Championships in the last 4 years...fighting back from the brink of elimination 3 days previous to win Games 5 and 6, forcing the decisive Game 7.

Jon Lester and Matt Garza battled brilliantly...two great pitchers and as my wife will personally attest from covering them the last 2 years...two of the best people in the game of baseball.

But, to me, this game...this series...and ultimately the cog that will propel the Rays to win the World Series rests in David Price.  That's the kind of stratospheric performance that transforms a good young player into a great superstar in the making.

I'm not going to pretend to know what will happen come Game 1 on Wednesday on FOX (insert shameless plug here).  What I do know is Coach Maddon NOW has the closer he's been searching for.  

I remember the same thing happening to a Cardinals pitching prospect 2 years ago.  Adam Wainwright had gone from promising prospect...to jilted minor league mainstay...to new life in the Cards major league bullpen in 2006.  In the postseason, injuries and ineffectiveness to Jason Isringhausen shoved Wainwright into the October spotlight.  He seized the moment, leading the Cards to an improbable run through the October nights to beat the mighty Detroit Tigers in 2006.

Now, David Price will move back to starter...probably winning a spot in next year's rotation.
But, for now, this is his Wainwright moment.  If he seizes it, he kickstart a career for the ages.

Just my two cents.

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