The Rays miraculous 2011 campaign came to an all-too-soon end on Tuesday afternoon, after a 4-3 Texas Rangers win eliminated the Rays from the ALDS. The players were disappointed it came to an end so soon after the miracle finish to the regular season, but most left the locker room proud of a campaign they will never forget. Team leader Evan Longoria echoed this pride, and expects the Rays to be right back in contention again next season.
On the management side, Joe Maddon expressed comparable regret but was happy with where the Rays went this season, after losing so many high-profile players this past winter.
"I do believe we could have gone further," Maddon said, "but I'm really pleased with where our players took us this year."
Andrew Friedman also addressed the media, reiterating the disappointment, but also noting the special achievement this team can look back on.
"In the moment, it's extremely painful for all of us," he said. "We have such an amazing group of guys with such resolve, with such fight all year long. Nine innings every night; we saw it in these last two games. It's a really special group to be a part of. I'm sure once we get out of the moment we'll reflect back and really appreciate what we accomplished. But being in the moment, it's really difficult to do that."
After a dominating Game 1 win, the next three games delivered a swift and crushing end to the season. As both Maddon and Friedman note, however, the achievements of this season will continue to be remembered, particularly the Rays role in what was the greatest night in regular season baseball history just one short week ago.