Consider Your Mind Blown: Playoff-Bound Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays clinched their first-ever playoff berth with a 7-2 win over the Twins, one year removed from having the worst record in baseballs. It’s either one of the most remarkable turnarounds in baseball history, or proof of some deal with the Devil made by Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Tampa Bay Rays

(I mean, I have to admit I was a little surprised to see this guy lurking around the Rays’ locker room after the game, but that doesn’t mean much, right? Maybe he’s just a fan?)

The game was a sellout, which you would hope for the second-to-last home game of the season with the team poised to clinch their first-ever playoff berth. But as the AP notes, the most amazing story in MLB this season has been playing to less-than-packed houses all season, making their league-leading record at home all the more amazing. Maybe visiting teams are too spooked by the lack of crowd noise to concentrate?

And oh yeah, the Chicago Cubs clinched the NL Central on Saturday, although they’re the defending Division champs, so it’s not like they hadn’t done this before. But the way this team celebrated, you’d almost think they were cursed or something. The Cubs are guided by former Rays manager Lou Pinella, who didn’t even have to dye his hair blonde to motivate his team this time.

Now that we’ve all enjoyed the Rays’ miracle season, though, we can get back to the important baseball news from an ESPN standpoint: anything involving the Red Sox or Manny Ramirez.