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How do the Rays do it? Throughout the history of America’s national pastime, major league teams have been measured by how they fared down the stretch, and no team has ever played better when the games mattered most than the Tampa Bay Rays of 2010 and 2011. Tampa Bay entered the last month of the 2010 season knowing they had to fight off the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to win their second American League East title in three seasons. And in 2011, hobbled by off-season defections, the Rays trailed the Red Sox in the race for a wildcard playoff berth by a seemingly insurmountable 9½ games on September 4. How did the Rays make the playoffs in both years? How does this small-market team keep coming up big against baseball’s Goliaths? James Shields is not only a master on the mound, he is also a master storyteller. In September Nights he offers insights on opposing hitters and teams, the art of pitching, and the essence of Rays magic. Getting to the major league playoffs is like catching lightning in a bottle, and no team catches lightning like the Rays.

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