By Tom Rose
The Philadelphia Phillies will play the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series beginning tonight, in St. Petersburg, Florida at 8 p.m. EST on FOX.
This will be the 104th edition of the Major League Baseball best-of-seven Championship Series, marking the first World Series appearance for the American League Champion Rays since entering the league in 1998. The National League Champion Phillies make their sixth appearance, with their only victory coming in 1980 over the Kansas City Royals.
Just in case you’re not up on the TV stats for this East Coast rivalry, let’s play a little catchup:
The Rays have home-field advantage, playing the first two games at Tropicana Field in Florida today and tomorrow, before the series moves back up the East Coast to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for games three and four on Saturday and Sunday. Game five will also be played there, if necessary, on Monday, and if the series stretches out to next Wednesday and Thursday, it’s back to St. Pete for the final two contests. All games will start at 8:00 p.m. EST and air on FOX.
FOX is hoping for a truly Fall Classic with a seven game nailbiter coming down to the final out. The teams, both from the East Coast, have little chance of luring out-of-market viewers other than displaced fans and baseball purists. But if the series spins out to a decisive 7th game, pure history-making spectacle should pull eyeballs away from America’s second favorite pastime: the Prime Time Fall TV schedule.
If the just ended AL East Division series is any indication, the bet is this will be one for the books. The Rays’ near historic collapse against the defending Boston Red Sox was averted in dramatic fashion only with several come from behind wins mounted in the late innings, pushing the match right up to the 7th game.
Will you be watching? Who do you think will win?
Let us know by posting your comments below!