Renegade Odds and Ends
Okay, here we are a few days before the official beginning of the season on Sunday night with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies taking the field against the Atlanta Braves. I actually think it is kind of cool that the Phillies pay two “warm-up” games against the Rays in the next two days to get psyched to take on the Brave in their first battle to return to the Fall classic again in 2009. I am actually looking forward to watching both of the Philly games the next two days. I am not in Philly right now, but I do have a really late flight booked right now if I still have a hankering for some cheesesteak.
Yes, I have tickets available to me, and also have a place to stay and a few meals owed to me from the World Series bets with friends in the City of Brotherly Love. I have a 6:10 am flight on Sat morning that will get me into Philly in time for a great breakfast at the Centennial Cafe at Ohio House. Believe me, I can do a great breakfast, but I hate that everyone looks at me funny when i order grits in the north. I know, I know, they have that multiple pork/beef/snout product scrapple, but I like my meat in strips, which are crispy and tasty, not a conglomerate mass of mumbo jumbo meats.
But with the game going on in the after noon (1 :05 pm start time), If I go up I am going to have to do my “steak-on” after the game. But even then I have choices. I have a bet to claim of a steak at the Capital Grille, or maybe even Creed’s Seafood and Steak out in King of Prussia. I have not decided. But I will tell you that at this moment, I am 85 percent on the plane with no problem. I love Philly. I guess the fact that my grandfather was a police sergeant in the town, and that I served up there for two years in 1988-1990 before I was called back into the Army National guard for duty make me love the place more and more every year. But, I hate to say it that I can never live there. They hated my southern accent then, and it is just as sharp today. Well, it is going to be on my mind all day long. the chance to go up again and relive a few memories or tragedies tomorrow. Win or lose, I can tell you that the steak with that melted butter is going to taste like Kobe beef to me, even if it is on a Italian or kaiser roll.
My Season Tickets
I always wait until the last moment to make my final payment for my Season Tickets for the Rays. I think the Sales Department have adjusted to my late timing, but they do not know why. I do the “late” thing because I want to build up the excitement for the season. So that my tickets get to the house and I open the bow within days of the season starting. I have done that for 10 years straight. Some of my old Rays ticket reps got used to it and did not worry about my late payments, knowing I was going to make the final payment and get my tickets in time for the first contest. But my room mate kid’s have never seen the way I act with the poor Fed Ex guy until this year.
Usually they are in school, but this being Spring Break for them, they got to see me in all my glory as I opened the door to the Fed Ex woman holding that huge box in front of her that looked like a bar of gold to me. they saw me sign fast and take the box oh, so gentile into my hands and rip the box almost in two in one fast motion. As I opened the box, I saw the external box that held the booty of the baseball gods. It had a beautiful picture of the players hands reaching up to caress and grab that awesome American League trophy. Just as I had caressed and fondled the trophy a few months before, it was a giddy sight to behold.
But what happened next might go down as the weirdest thing I have ever done in my life. I am not a huge fan of exposing my emotions out in the open for the world to see them, unless we get into the playoffs or the World Series ( You had me at “playoffs”). But the simple but loosely adapted “Snoopy Dance” I did on the front porch had the kids in the neighborhood asking when I began to smoke crack. I have a weird tendency to celebrate the finer things in my life. Getting my treasured tickets is the alpha to my year. And with that comes a wild expectation of the season. Of the dreams still unfulfilled and the anticipation of watching them unfold that banner next Monday night ( April 13th).
Also within that scope is the thought of another season of highs and lows concerning both friends and foes on the field. I always look forward to certain teams coming into town and chatting with some ex-Rays players. This season I am extremely happy to know that some guys have already been granted roster spots, and some are in the fight right now to secure some of the last spots, or might still be traded before 3 pm on Sunday. This is that last fraction of a pre-season that can change everything by the simple actions of a club. But I can truly tell you that the honest truth is that I am just anxious to again just cheer for my home team. I can tell you I take huge pride in coming from St. Petersburg, Florida, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Even if it is a stadium shot of me on my laptop, or catching a foul ball, I enjoy this game beyond words most nights. And to me that is what baseball is all about.
Calling All B-52’s Fans
I recently found out that one of the Saturday night concert series groups this year will be the group, the B-52’s. Now I am more than anxious about this for the fact that I saw them in a small club in Gainesville, Florida while I was in college and fell in love with this group. Most people know their hits “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster”, but the group has a pile of other great eclectic songs to choose from their albums. I am looking forward to hearing “Planet Claire” and even ” My Own Private Idaho” this summer. I am going to try and dig up a few more names that are being considered for the Summer Series today when I am down at Tropicana Field. But as usual, the Season Ticket holders will be given wristbands so we can get up close and personal down on the field during the concert. As usual, I will be there.
I am going to have to do a blog in the next few weeks on this group I keep bringing up called the “Maddon’s Maniacs”. I know a few people have asked me how to join, or even what they are all about, but I could do multiple blogs on this great group. I hope to see if the head gurus will grant me some interview time so I can get it straight from the horses mouth on the origins and the initial ideas for this group a few years ago. But in the meantime, I will be heading down to the Trop. today to be used as back-ups,on-scene and hopefully speaking roles concerning the Ground Rules video that is seen before the Rays games on the Jumbotron.
The “Maddon’s Maniacs” are not new to the multi-media thing. We have been used before in short videos for the screen during in game entertainment, plus in 2007, the entire grou
p was pictured on the last issue of the “Play Ball” magazine that was given out to the fans before home games. But most people remember us from the “Braveknobs” video shot with Rays loud and proud fan, former WWE wrestler Brian Knobs. I know I really enjoyed the video a lot, and even had a speaking role. The group has also been in the background for several local television morning shows based out of either the Trop, or Ferg’s across the street before games. If you would like to know more about the “Maddon’s Maniacs, or even join this awesome group, visit www.raysbaseball.com today and click the “Fans” section for this and other great Rays groups.
I will try and get some great pictures of the scene today at the Trop., and hopefully be able to post something before I leave for the airport tomorrow. Yes, I am now 95 percent on that plane.
Photos credits: 1) RRCollections