(Our look at what others are saying about the Red Sox-Rays showdown)
We'll try to refrain from too much schadenfreude in this space today -- if anyone knows how Rays fans feel this morning, it's Sox fans who were aboard the bandwagon before 2004.
Plus, with two games remaining to get the win they thought they had in the bag last night, it's not as if the series is anywhere near over -- though judging by columnist Martin Fennelly's "Oh, the horrors!"-themed piece in the Tampa Tribune, it's apparent that the Rays are, at the least, somewhat staggered and shell-shocked heading into Game 6:
The Rays, once seemingly moments from the World Series, walked from the field at Fenway Park as Sox danced and fans screamed, victims of what will go down as the great single-game comeback in LCS history -- the greatest collapse, too. The tubs of champagne, which had been sitting in tubs on carts, were quickly wheeled out of view.
"I just can't believe what happened tonight," Carl Crawford said. "It's devastating."
And then, in the next instant ...
"I'm still thinking we're going to close it out."
Fennelly also notes that the last three innings were a flashback to the pre-2008 Rays:
The Rays walked from the field in a daze.
They walked away with nothing but their 3-2 series lead - and it doesn't feel like a lead anymore.
At just the wrong time for the 2008 Rays, the 2007 Rays returned.
First became worst again.
he Rays lost a devastating game Thursday night, 8-7. They didn't lose anything else. They did not lose momentum, they did not lose their confidence, and they did not lose their grip on the ALCS.
Saturday night, Sunday at the latest, they will close out this thing. Just you watch.
I think I liked Fennelly's column better.
"… If we had won it, we'd be in the World Series by now. We'll just have to wait one more day, hopefully, to get that done," the Rays' manager said shortly after the game. "Listen. It is what it is. I don't dwell on it. Nobody feels worse than the guys out of our bullpen right now. Nobody feels worse. They've done a tremendous job all year. I thought we played a great game.
"They just came back and beat us tonight. That happens sometimes. We're going to go home, take tomorrow off and come back, and [James] Shields will pitch in Game No. 6. But you can't dwell on it. Again, we'll lose for a half-hour or so, and then we'll move on. We have another game to play."