How surprising is it to see the Tampa Bay Rays atop the American League East Division standings?
Now don't tell us you knew they'd be ahead of the Red Sox and Yankees on May 14. This team, a perennial last-place finisher, has never been in first place after the first week of any season. As outfielder Carl Crawford said last night, "At this time of the year, we're usually out of the race. The season is pretty much over for us. This is a different feeling.''
This is a great feeling. After sweeping the Angels and taking two from the Yankees, the feel-good Rays have won six straight and sit atop one of the toughest divisions in baseball.
OK, it's still May — they have 123 games left to play. But go ahead and enjoy the moment.
And enjoy our coverage of the team, beginning with Roger Mooney's story today, online updates and Web-exclusive notebooks on Bradenton.com. Also, be sure to check our Monday print edition for Rays Report, a page devoted to the team. In setting up this week's schedule, Mooney boldly wrote that "the Bronx Bombers are in town for four games, and you can make the argument they aren't the best team on the field.''
The argument gets more convincing with every victory.