So there we were, safe at home and comfortably ensconced on the couch with the lovely and generous Mrs. Tao after a night of birthday boozing topped off with some ill-advised McNuggets. The Jays were leading in the ninth, and there's no way the fates would allow us to suffer through another late inning shitshow. Right?
Oh, how we wish the fates truly intervened in such things.
A great take-out slide from Ben Zobrist, a ballsy suicide squeeze, some more relief pitcher nibbling and Carl Motherfucking Crawford, and suddenly a series win turns precisely into the aforementioned late inning shitshow. By the end of it, we were sure that someone had laced our sweet and sour sauce with something goofy, because nothing seemed to compute any more.
And the rest of the night turned into a full blown peyote vision or fever dream or something. Junior Griffey retires? Armando Galarraga throws a perfect game? Except that he doesn't. because the grumpy dad from that American Chopper show miss the easy call by a full stride at first base? The sports channels lead off with three baseball stories, on the night of a Stanley Cup Finals game? My god! Someone, strap me down! I hear the Sirens singing!
By the time I had sweated out the rest of my booze and grease at about 3 am, we were sure that we'd imagined most of the evenings events. But if we hadn't, the one thing that we could rationalize about them was this: The Rays are a really good team. The sort of really good team that is going to make you work for all 27 outs, and that can make you fill out the full column on your scorecard at any given time. That's why they're in first.
And that's why we shouldn't completely take this series to mean that the Jays aren't good. They took the Rays to the limit in all three games, and with some sturdier bullpen work and bullpen management, they could have taken all three games.
Hopefully, we're not drifting to far into cliché here - we're not sure that the booze is totally out of our system, so this might be an "I love you guys, man!" moment - but we're optimistic that the Jays could walk away from the series and use is as a learning moment. Maybe all of that character-building hokum is real, and the team is going to walk away with the notion that they should have won, and they could have won, and most importantly, they are going to win next time.
And then they can take their frustrations out on the Yankees. Who deserve it.