The Phillies have neither the history nor the wealth of the Yankees or the Red Sox but compared with their World Series opponents they are a cross between the framers of the constitution and the founders of Fort Knox. For one thing they have been around since the 1880s. The Rays did not exist until 1998. The Phillies play in the modern Citizens Bank Park. The Rays play in a dump called Tropicana Field, except when they decamp to Disney World to play a few home games in front of holidaymakers and off-duty Mouseketeers. The Phillies had a payroll this year of $98m (£60.2m), the Rays $43m (£26.4m) - a fifth of that spent assembling the Yankees squad.I don't know my EPL that well, but while that's not too dramatic a statement, it somehow sounds more accurate than the "they're both lovable losers" meme I've seen in some American media outlets.
In footballing terms the Phillies against the Rays in the World Series is like Everton against Stoke City in the Champions League final. Logically it should never have happened. Commercially it is a worst-case scenario for Fox, which was praying for more "glamorous" teams and higher ratings.
Yes, the Phillies have lost 10,000+ games, but they really are an institution, if not always a winning one. Despite all of the attention placed on big market vs. small market over the years, people often neglect to mention that the Phillies are in a huge media market that, unlike New York, Los Angels, and Chicago, is not shared with another team.
No, they're not the Yankees or even the Mets, but they are big and established, and the rough equivalencies being drawn between the Rays and Phils ring pretty hollow to me.