Rays Game was Secondary Today

 
         
 

I was all excited that the Tampa Bay Rays were going to be on the radio today as they traveled over to Jupiter, Florida via a small fleet of buses to play the St. Louis Cardinals. It was one of those games where you can measure your team against someone who you think has a playoff caliber team early in the Spring Training process. So I went on out to a local burger joint and got me a few chili dogs to get into the gastronomical mood for the action and turned the radio on in the car at 1 pm today.
 

 
Nothing, but Jim Rhome on the radio. Dang it, where are my Rays, and why are they not announcing the starting lineups, or for that matter just talking Rays baseball. I thought WDAE 620 was the place to be this afternoon. It was originally posted on the MLB.TV site that Game day Audio would be available for this contest. Now It is not like I  am not accustomed to disappointment, come on, I am a Rays fan, but I really wanted to hear that game today. But I do not blame MLB at all here. I wish it was on, but that is petty compared to other problems in the Tampa bay area right now.
 

 
As most of the community and the country know right now we have a crisis that is beginning to turn bleak involving a group of four guys who just wanted to go out amberjack fishing this weekend.  the guys were great friends, two of them NFL current players, and the other two were former team mates at the University of South Florida. They left a small municipal marine off the inter-coastal waterways near the Clearwater beach bridge area and ventured about 35-50 miles deep into the choppy waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday afternoon.
 

 
If anyone saw the MLB.TV game against the Phillies and the Rays, you saw what kind of winds were kicking up onshore, just imagine the type of waves were being produced offshore where there were no land resistance or even a buffer zone to absorb some of that wind out of the south. A Small craft Warning was in effect, but sometime people think they are above such precautionary warnings and that their experience and luck can produce great results. We might not what happened out in the Gulf for a few days, but the time is running out for the three men who were not found on the overturned boat with Nick Schuyler today.
 


 
 

Schuyler, who was rescued holding onto the outboard motor on the capsized boat talked to authorities that all four of the men were together on the boat as early as this morning, but Schyler admitted he some how lost consciousness and when he came to, they were no longer holding onto the small craft. The first thing you wonder is if this will have a happy ending, or if the idea has been put into place that this is going to turn from a rescue mission soon to a recovery mission.  the idea that the human body without the proper clothing can usually submit to hypo-thermia after about 18 hours in that semi-frigid water tends to give you the idea now that maybe the other three men are eother fighting for their lives, or have been engulped by the environment.
 

 
As a child I used to go out Spanish Mack fishing with my dad about 20 miles off the Florida shoreline. I can attest that the state looks small and far away even from that distance. I could never imagine the idea of swimming back into shore, or even going into the water even in the summer time when the water is in the high 80’s. All four men were wearing life vests, but could they have decided to try for shore as a team, or did something else happen out on the cold, dark night at sea.  Now that the boat has been located, it has made the efforts of the United States Coast Guard more concentrated on this smaller section of the Gulf. But even in 6-8 foot swells in the water, if a person can not wave, scream or even make any identifying motions they can do unnoticed in the vast blue hue of the water out there. 
 

 
Even the thought of using heat imaging tech might be past it time right now with the body temperatures of each of those three men in all reality under 90 degrees. But what can we do besides believe until we know anything better. The thought that their loved ones have to suffer kills me inside. I have seen both my parents taken by means that could not be reversed. But the ocean does sometimes give a second chance to people out on her waters. Can these three men possibly be swimming for the Florida shorelines and be within sight of land, or could a current have swept them off the boat and they are further into the perils of the deep waters?
 



 

 
I want to believe that they  have already been spotted by a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter and a tender is on their way to them right now. But as each hour passes tonight, it has the more realistic feel that recovery will be the news of the morning. It is a shame that two great NFL players, and another local hero from USF might have perished on that vast blue water we all take for granted at times.  Since the boat was found closer to land could the party have been working their way back into shore. It is common for fisherman to go to the most remote spot first then make their way back into shore before finally putting it back on the trailer and calling it a day.
 

 
Could the trio be swimming towards shore right now since they were 15 miles closer to the coast than expected. Or could the wind have pushed the boat that far into the sight of land since its capsize on Saturday afternoon?  You have to think that all four knew that a cold front was beginning to push its way into the Tampa bay region before they set out into the Gulf. Even with the waters so clam and clear in the morning, you have to think that they all knew the extended weather and only planned on being out for 6-8 hours then return before the squall line got close.
 

 
But even with the Weather Channel transmitting data 24/7, we can not effectively dictate the weather in a 3-4 hour cone of time. Sometimes weather can get sucked up into the jet stream and fly towards this region, other times it can take days after it runs into a stronger warm front. So when they left, the 2-foot seas did not look menacing. But the fact is that the boat was anchored out in the Gulf, which bring the fact they were fishing at the time a rouge wave might have toppled the 21-foot craft. The weather might have creeped up on them and they were inside the squalls before they realized it. Because the boat was not free floating give the impression that everything happened in a split second.
 


 

 
Hypothermia is a bad thing to have happen to you for any reason. The Gulf temperatures were about the mid 60’s on Saturday, and within hours you can start to have the effects of hypothermia.  It is not one of those dangers that hit you fast and furious, it creeps up on you and you might realize its effects right before it takes you. The first thing to go is your judgment, then your motor skills can deteriorate. Even a English Channel swimmer will tell you that a strong swimmer can battle the elements for four or five hours, but at some point you have to get out of the water to regain you body’s core temperature, or it has you in its grasp. 
 

 
I am truly hoping for a great ending to all of this adventure. Maybe they are sitting at Shepperd’s right now with blankets on them and a gallon of hot coffee being pumped into their bodies. Hopefully they are either just off shore by now and still swimming towards the lights of Tampa Bay. But then the stark reality hits that most people die within sight of land after a tragedy at sea. We all want a happy ending here. It is what we crave and what each of those remaining three guys deserve. But what the Lady of the Seas gives us sometimes is a reminder that she is a wild beast that will not be tamed. Hopefully for these three men, they will survive and have their lives and their family’s again to warm them. But at what time does a person’s mind turn from rescue to recovery when you can see the lights, but the body doesn’t respond?

 


 
 


Schuyler was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he remains at this time in stable condition. One would wonder if the three might have taken it upon themselves to try for shore to save Schuyler becuase of his condition. Sometimes you can not make sense of a situation even with solid and concrete facts in front of you. I am just hoping that whatever transpires in the next 24 hours, that the sea will grace the families of the other three men with closure and not prolong the ned of the events. I am not trying to predestine or even preach that hope is ticking away for the threes till maybe in the wate.  God Bless you gentleman,please  still come home safe.

 
 
Photo credits for today’s blog go to: Alexandra Zayas, Martha Rial and Paul Lamison of the St. Petersburg Times, and to the USCG Photo Corp.
 
 

16 Comments

I was thinking about this all day, Renegade. My husband is a boater and when we lived in FL we went fishing and sailing a lot. But he always made me wear a harness. He once crewed on a trip from NY to Bermuda and went overboard. It was the harness that saved his life, so he’s a stickler for them now. I hope this story will have a happy ending too, but I’m not optimistic. There’s a reason they issue those small craft warnings.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Thw rild part is that in two months there would be totally a different scenario to the water in the Gulf. the temperature will rise about 20 degrees and their stamina would have been the only huge downfall.

But the last hints of winter might take these guys, and that is the sad part of it all. Not only will we lose watching these two guys play on Sunday, but their unwritten futures will disappear. I always tell people, who knows what great thing people who die before their time could have done for us and our communities.

I also am about to raise the flag of recovery and no longer rescue, but I am holding out hope until at least noon on Tuesday.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Hey Rays Renegade, I’ve been thinking about you as I have been following this story. It is a great tragedy for the NFL – but more so for their families. Not being able to say good-bye (if that is indeed the case) is very hard to take. And you are so very right – when people die before their times we are all left to wonder “what if?” I too hope for a happy ending, but I sadly don’t know if we will get one. We have to hold on to the belief in miracles for a little while longer. I will keep them and their families in my prayers. God Bless all of us in times like these.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

I was watching this on the news yesterday, thinking about how you said it was so windy. I hope for the families that they are found. Hypothermia is a nasty thing, so are high waves…but miracles happen, you just have to keep believing. My thoughts are with them. God Bless them and their families.
Canuck

I understand the ego and mindset of the other three all too well, but the reality is that they might have seen the reflections of the beaches lights and miscalculated just how far away they truly were.

That thought stuck in my head last night. I do not if it was in a dream, or just some rambling thoughts going through my mind. I am holding out hope until noon, then I have to change my mood and then hope for another sort of salvation.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Yeah,
The waves are high out there, but I was thinking about those Alaskan shows where if the crabber or someone went overboard, or the ship went down they have “X” amount of time in the water before they are toast.

the temperature of the water might have been a blmy 60 degrees compared to the frigid mess up that way, but the result could still be the same. Even the best intentions can get you killed. I am hoping that in the next 3 hours we get great news, after that I am not expecting joy, but sorrow.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Scary stuff man, I am hoping and praying that those guys will be found and be okay. You hear all about this stuff about guys getting shot at clubs and gang incidents, I really don’t feel bad for those guys, but these guys were just going out for some genuine fun to fish, and it turned to tragedy. Great post, very informative. Go Rays.

I hope they’re okay, for them on the bright side they’re on ESPN? Okay that wasn’t funny…

http://thewrightway.mlblogs.com/

Thanks for that,

I have lived here my entire life and every few years a tragedy takes part out on the Gulf. The Coast guard and area law enforcement agencies always step up and do what they can.sometimes with great results.

But every so often, someone doesn’t come back, or the boat also disappears. Weather will never be as constant as the science that measures it. All it would take is one rogue wave to topple the boat in normal high seas. 5 people in a 21 foot boat leaning the wrong way could send it over, but thank goodness the boat had a new type of insulation/foam that floats for en extremely long time…..it could have saved Nick’s life.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Wow,
Let me just add that we know the community is hoping and praying for them, and hopefully that is enough positive energy to make something special happen for the other three boaters.

When they first said two NFL players missing, I thought of local ex-Buc Dave Moore and Mike Allstott who love fishing. The sad part is that the weather is not in our side to find them. No wind would make it less rough and even aid in night searches.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I hope this has a happy ending. Those pictures are so breathtaking it has to, right?
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

I still remember last year the autistic kid who survived in the water longer than they thought. I know a few military SAR techs (search and rescue techs), and they are always saying that seeing the communities pull together is just amazing to them. They don’t like giving up hope either. As I write this, they are probably switching into recovery mode out on the water.

Ren, just by reading the comments here and the comments on the news pages – I hope you realize that “community” in this case is stretching far beyond the Gulf coast in Florida.

Canuck

Jeff,

It is about 30 minutes after noon today and there is word that the Sarasota county Sherriff’s Dept is enroute to a item floating off shore. I have to say my mood has gone from positive to only slightly hopeful.
It is not know yet if it might be a member of that party, or maybe even another boater or even another piece of clothing or debris maybe from the boat.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mblogs.com

The ” community” goes as far as the compassion and hope. I know from hearing some of the reports too that the rescurers never used the negative words. That can always bring hope back into your mind.

I truly wish and pray we can have some sort of closure today at some time with some of this. Florida Fish and Wildlife is enroute to the boat right now to tow it back into Clearwater.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Oh wow was that the actual pics? Man this was crazy to hear about. =(

~King of Cali
http://kingofcali.mlblogs.com/

Yes, those are the pictures provided by the U S Coast Guard and the local media here in the Tampa Bay area.

Unfortunately, at this time, they have not found any of the other three men. So in reality, it is now a recovery mission.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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