Commentary

Rays Fever

Updated: October 21, 2008, 3:22 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Oh baby, Jimmy V must be dancing up in heaven! Jimmy Valvano was always about the little guy. He would be on cloud nine knowing the Tampa Bay Rays, another ultimate Cinderella story, are going to the World Series.

Who could ever forget Jimmy V. and the magical run of his Wolfpack in 1983. Prior to the ACC Tournament, nobody gave NC State a chance to win a national championship. The Wolfpack had to beat the creme de la creme in the ACC tourney just to get to the big dance -- North Carolina with Michael Jordan and a Ralph Sampson-led Virginia squad.

It was one tough battle after another in the NCAA tournament, survive and advance. But by the end Jimmy V was running around looking for somebody to hug after beating Phi Slamma Jamma's Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon! He and his team didn't give up and neither have the Rays, baby.

Let me tell ya, not just this city but the entire nation is catching Rays fever. For the past ten years, I haven't been able to give away my tickets and now I'm getting calls from all over from people who are hoping I'm not able to make a game so they can scarf up the tickets and watch these great, young players.

What a great series this will be as the Rays get ready to play a great Philadelphia Phillies team. When it's all said and done the Rays will be the champions after a great and grueling seven game series win over the Phillies.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.