Experience of '08 key to these Rays

Experience of '08 key to these Rays

NEW YORK -- Everywhere the Rays go, the comparisons between 2008 and the current season are made. But while the comparisons are inevitable, this year's team is definitely different than the one that went to the World Series in '08.

"The primary difference I think is the experience that a couple of years brings of having done it before," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "In 2008, you almost considered it more magical in a sense. You were just kind of riding this cloud or this wave, and you just kept building.

"I think the primary difference is the experience of having done it before. People know that you can do it, so they come at you a little bit differently. Back then, everybody was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Everybody was always waiting for us to fall out."

Maddon pointed out that many observers expect the Rays to be in the race now.

"So the level of expectation is raised also," Maddon said. "Which is all good, but I think from my perspective, I think it's this experience thing that we now have that we did not have at that time."

Maddon said his players now know what to expect.

"They know how to deal with it a little bit better, although sometimes ignorance is bliss, too," Maddon said. "You just jump into something and you don't have any idea, and you just do it without any kind of overthinking. And that also has positive components to it, too."

Left fielder Carl Crawford was around for much of the Rays' losing prior to 2008 and says that the '08 and 2010 seasons have been equally fun, because after all of that losing, "I'd definitely had enough of that."

"Whenever you're winning, it's fun," Crawford said. "It's never boring or anything. It's definitely been fun this season, like '08."

Crawford added that he could understand why some draw parallels between the two seasons.

"Because this season has a 2008 feel," Crawford said. "But it's a different team. It was more of a surprise then. We're expected to do it this year. But as far as team-wise, there are a lot of similarities. It's just not a surprise. That's the main difference. It's like we're not sneaking up on anybody this year."

David Price was not with the Rays for most of the 2008 season, then made a significant contribution to the team at the end of the year and in the playoffs, so the left-hander noted that he really couldn't comment too much about 2008. But when speaking about this season's team, Price pointed out his favorite component.

"I really feel like we expect to win every game and we never feel like we're out of it," Price said. "I feel like we really belong here. We have a good team. I think everybody in here knows that and everybody in the league knows that. We come ready to play every day."