OAKLAND, Calif. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Rays will take the field in a postseason game for the first time in six years on Wednesday night, an accomplishment for the club with the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball.
It is also a sign of how difficult it is for clubs that share the Rays annual challenges to get into baseball’s ultimate tournament and there is one Rays player that wants the younger members of the team to appreciate what they have done.
As a rookie, Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier got to experience a wild card victory over the Cleveland Indians. The Rays went on to lose in the division series to the Boston Red Sox. The year was 2013, six years ago. The Rays have not tasted the postseason again, until now.
“Enjoy this moment,” Kiermaier said. “This is never guaranteed no matter what team you’re on. For each and every guy in here, let’s sink this in and let’s think about the eight months we grinded out with each other at spring training just to get to this moment.”
Kiermaier’s life and career lessons have had an impact on his teammates.
Outfielder Austin Meadows has completed one of the best first full seasons in Rays franchise history, hitting 33 home runs. He is a budding superstar that recognizes what he is part of in 2019 and after listening to Kiermaier, Meadows is not about to let any moment get taken for granted, win or lose on Wednesday.
“We realize how hard it is to get into the playoffs first of all,” Meadows said. “Being able to experience this in my first season, I’m honored to be able to do that. Hopefully, we make a run at this thing but I’m just going to enjoy every moment.”