2008 - Beast of the East
The Yankees & Red Sox found out the hard way...
The Yankees ... The Red Sox ... they had the money, they had the big name players. They had been dominating not only the East division but the entire American League. But then came along a small market team, a collection of young players with a lot of talent and a lot of heart, and in the end, we found there was a NEW Beast of the East.
Nobody believed the Tampa Bay Rays would ever compete with the likes of Boston and New York, they were told by everyone that they would never have a chance. The Rays not only did not have the financial wherewithal to compete, but they were the laughing stock of Major League Baseball since the day they came into the league.
Things would have to go perfect for an entire season, it would take a miracle for Tampa Bay to even win the wildcard, but even then nobody thought they would have a chance in the playoffs ... c'mon, the Tampa Bay DEVILrays ... in the playoffs!?!? Just making the playoffs would be a dream for Rays fans, after all they hadn't even known what a winning team looked like at that point.
Well in 2008, that magical season occurred; a season that exceed anyone’s imagination. Tampa Bay took the early divisional lead and never gave it back. The Sox made a run at them and the Yankees just never got it going. In June and then in July, the young Rays would not fold. The fans started to believe and sense a new day in Tampa Bay was arriving. This just might be real. Like the 2001 Buccaneers and the 2002 Lighting, that magical feeling was starting to spread throughout Tampa Bay.
From both Boston and New York fans, Tampa Bay fans had endured years of torment much like a little brother . When one of these teams came to the Trop, it was just sickening that Tropicana Field would be taken over by both Yankees and Red Sox fans. But finally in 2008 the times had changed, Ferg's and the Trop were becoming the places to be! Throughout the final few weeks of the season Tampa Fans found their rally cry, and it carried them past the White Sox and through one of the greatest ALCS one could remember, and into the World Series.
Finally ... there was a NEW BEAST OF THE EAST!