Photo for Headline Surfer / Port Orange Mayor Don Burnette is shown with his son, Patrick Burnette, 20, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on Oct. 7 to see the Tampa Rays defeat the Boston Red Sox, 5-1 in the opening game of American League Division series. However, the Red Sox would win the next three games in a row to jettison the Rays from the MLB playoffs.
By HENRY FREDERICK / Headline Surfer
PORT ORANGE, Fla. -- With his beloved Tampa Rays eliminated from the MLB playoffs by the upstart Boston Red Sox, Port Orange Mayor Don Burnette is now rooting for the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series.
The Rays won 100 games in the regular season to capture the American League East crown by eight games over the Red Sox and New York Yankees.
Tampa, in fact, won the most games in the American League conference and were the third-winningest ballclub overall behind the National League's San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers at 107 and 106 wins each, respectively.
The Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game, 6-2, and then upset the Rays in the AL divisional round best of five, winning 3 games to 1, and that was a tough pill to swallow for Burnette, who attended the first game of the playoff series in Tampa, which the Rays won by a score of 5-1. The Rays lost the second game, 14-6, and the next two games as well to find themselves jettisoned from the playoffs.
Burnette, mayor since 2016 and a big sports fan, told Headline Surfer it was "disappointing to lose after attending game one and seeing them win big." He attended that first game with his son, Patrick, 20, and they enjoyed Tampa's convincing 5-1 win.
But the Red Sox came roaring back to win the next three games to knock off Burnette's Rays.
Don Burnette, mayor since 2016 and a big sports fan, told Headline Surfer it was "disappointing to lose after attending game one and seeing them win big." He attended that first game with his son, Patrick, 20, and they enjoyed Tampa's convincing 5-1 win. But the Red Sox came roaring back to win the next three games to knock off Burnette's Rays.
Burnette first felt the stinging pain of the Red Sox in game 2 with slugger JD Martinez hitting a tiebreaking, three-run homer in his return to the lineup and the Red Sox backed Tanner Houck's clutch relief effort with a franchise postseason record five home runs, rallying past the Rays 14-6 to even the series 1-1.
The pain after game 3 was particularly rough for Burnette with Christian Vázquez's walk-off home run in the 13th inning to give the Red Sox a 6-4 win and a 2-1 series lead.
The Red Sox won game 4 by a score of 3-1yet again in walk-off fashion, with Kiké Hernández's sacrifice fly in the ninth.
And so the Tampa Rays' season is over, but baseball is not over yet for Burnette, who has now turned to a new team in the MLB playoffs.
"Now it’s time to root for the Braves," Burnette told Headline Surfer.
That's the National League East Division winning Atlanta Braves, who won 88 games and are now in their fourth consecutive post-season run. The Braves await the winner of today's game 5 between the Dodgers and Giants.
Henry Frederick is a member of the working press and publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet launched in 2008, that serves greater Daytona Beach, Sanford & Orlando, Florida via HeadlineSurfer.com. Frederick has amassed close to 150 award-winning bylines in print & online. He earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2019. He was a breaking news reporter (metro cops & courts beat) for the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade. And Before that worked the same beat for The Journal-News/Gannett Suburban Newspapers in Rockland/Westchester counties, NY, dating back to 1989. Having witnessed the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Florida's death chamber and covering other high profile cases, Frederick has appeared on national crime documentary shows on Discovery ID, Reelz, and the Oxygen Network series "Snapped" for his analysis. • Award-Winning Journalism: Florida Press Club recognizes Headline Surfer for nine stories in 2020 statewide competition. • Award-Winning Journalism of Henry Frederick.