Though they were ultimately defeated by the Dodgers in a thrilling World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays sure put up a heck of a good fight against the MLB powerhouse.
The world got to witness a truly electric play in game four of the series, one that will surely go down in history as one of the greatest baseball moments of all time. Brett Phillips, a name previously unknown to the nation, is now a household name for both Rays and baseball fans alike. In the thrilling last inning of October 24’s game, the Rays were down 6-7 with two runners on base and two outs. The Rays were hoping to get some runs out of star hitter Randy Arozarena, but when he hit a mere single the pressure shifted to 26-year-old Phillips (a career .202 hitter without a hit in 29 days), who was only in the game as a pinch runner. With all eyes on him, Phillips laced the ball to centerfield, where it was bobbled by the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, which allowed Kevin Kiermaier to score and tie the game. After recovery from the error, the ball was lobbed to catcher Will Smith as Arozarena thundered in from third, took a tumble, but Smith mishandled the ball too and Arozarena was able to get back on his feet and slide into home base to score the winning run. Phillips took off sprinting around the field, chased by his teammates, while the rest of the world was left wondering what in the world they just watched.
The ninth-inning play had all the ingredients to be an unforgettably perfect moment, and it serves as a great reminder of everything we love about sports. Brett Phillips is the perfect hero– just a kid from Florida who grew up rooting for the Rays, described as a ray of sunshine by everyone who knows him. He went from rooting for the Rays to achieving what every little league-er dreams of. Throughout his career with the Rays, however, he hasn’t seen much field time or wild success but has always been there for his teammates. He was always there to provide moral support and boost teammates’ spirits with his positivity and spirit. He put his all into helping his teammates get better and do whatever he could to support the greater good of the team over his own personal game. The play itself was unpredictable, exciting, and even a little bit comical. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of play, the likes of which we might never see again. Everything that could’ve gone wrong for the Dodgers went wrong, and everything could’ve gone right for the Rays went right. Between Randy Arozarena taking a barrel roll, the multiple LA errors, and Brett Phillip’s energy, the game was certainly something special.
While it’s a bummer the Rays ended up losing the series, it was a well-deserved victory for the Dodgers and a very exciting series overall. The Dodgers were clearly the better team, and the Rays would have to play four perfect games to pull off the unthinkable. Although that obviously didn’t happen this year, the Rays have lots of young talent and a very bright future ahead of them.