I am SO Sorry Tampa Bay
I have to admit something here to all of you Rays fans. I am getting sick and tired of carrying all of this guilt and singular pressure of knowing this unknown secret to all of you, and the pure fact of not telling everyone or anyone is eating me up raw and twisting me up like a large salty pretzel. This burning secret is churning inside to a point of internal implosion and shriveling up my soul to resemble a sun-rotted prune just waiting for the hot sun to take all of my exterior substance away and bare me again to my bones for the world to see me again.
You know someone has to be at fault for all this 2009 Rays pain and anquish, but I still hid it from all of your eyes and left it just inches beyond your fingers, and yet I clutche it internally for so long some can no longer look into my eyes and see that I forgot who I was this season, that something was missing within my spirit and emotions this season. So why don’t all of you Rays fans go ahead and blame me for this subpar season. That is right, you have been leering and jeering seeking and searching for the perfect scapegoat, and yet here I was in plain sight and maybe even standing next to you.
And I am totally willing to take the blunt beating of words and the constant barrage of hateful comments. Bring it on, for I know someone has to be the bold one and take that honorable fall on the blade of the sword. Someone has to think for the people and make a unselfish sacrifice for the forgiveness of the masses, and it might as well be me for my ignoring my own code of superstitions and rites.
I am willing to take this one square on the bottom of my chin for the gross oversight, get kicked merciless again and again in my red and swollen shins by the scores of little kids looking for a solid plausable reason for the Rays to maybe heading home in October then making a few road trips to defend their title. And I am fully aware as I walked the hallowed and busy halls of this stadium on Sunday, I will get physically abused and smacked around like a cotton ragdoll by little old ladies with huge purses full of quarters and nickels.
I deserve all the profane remarks and the steely eyed leers and constant barrage of jeers and trash thrown at me in my seat. So go ahead and just loathe me for it all before 1:40 pm today so we can all just sit down and enjoy the ballgame. And in that 2-3 hour moment of reflection let your bitter and coarse comment fester for after the game will be anothe chance to spite me. Then afterwards as I file out of the backdoors of the Trop., you can again begin the verbal barrage and continue the fire and brimstone massage to my body. I am not worthy right now, because someone has to blame for all of this. Someone has to take the bitter blame, because the Rays is still fighting day in and day out.
And you may ask why I am to blame. What arrogant act or even attempt at normalcy did I forget to deserve such treatment? Well, it is really quite simple. I may have committed the mortal sin of slacking a bit this season, and it might have been my lackluster attitude at times that led the team down the wrong road. When I cracked my large Latin Percussion cowbell in April, I did not go straight out and buy a new one, but settled for a small model given out during the “Championship Week” during the first week of the season. And I have forgotten it on numerous occasions, so my bell did not ring loud and true and might have caused discomfort within the dugout for it distrurbed the vibes going through the Trop.
For in this bitter end, my simple omission might have been a psuedo bad karma accelerator of all of this Rays fans nonsense of extreme playoff misery and worry about hitting a solid piece of ground in the American League postseason. My own decision of staying in the shadows and hiding in the background this season might have been a catalyst for the impending dismal disaster. For my personal trip towards the darkened world of introversion might have tipped the scales to the wrong direction, and I might have done a unknown karma whammy strike towards anything normal right now again for the Rays.
If you are wondering what my mortal sin could entail, it is a simple case of forgetting to again reserve a slot and perfect spot in the 2009 Tampa Bay Rays Team Photo. I got in the 2008 edition last May and the team began a string of walk-off victories and an instant upward spiraling trend towards the postseason. For beyond all the good karma and the energetic chemistry going on last season in that clubhouse, a simple smile fan nestled between Akinora Iwamura and Willy Ayar could have been the push of odd luck they needed.
For I am “Mr. Lucky”, or that is the name the Rays gave me back 5 years ago when they inducted me on their Rays/Pepsi Fan Wall of Fame. I want to think I was the unseen good luck charm that pushed them towards that ultimate goal of reaching the World Series. I want to think I had a small bit of primal inspiration to bottled a little bit up for all the fans here and all over the world who follow the team and hide it within the ranks and rows of that photo session. I want to think my luck rubbed off on all of them as a group. I mean on that day I did step on Evan Longoria’s foot as I came out of the second row so they could take the official Team Photo.
And we all know what that did for him………Rookie of the Year baby! So I am opening myself to be the official Rays scapegoat for 2009. Blame me, just do not blame anyone else for all the misery you are feeling right now towards the Tampa Bay Rays. For I might be the twisting metal in between this multi car pile-up that flavors the bitter taste in your mouth with a hints of good and bad that have engulped and turned the day into night for this team in the 2009 season.
So I will take the garbage reeking around my seat, and the odd soda cup floating towards my head because my actions might have angered the almighty Baseball Gods, and they do not take kindly to playing with their superstitions and game rites. And believe me when I tell you I have gone to the Church of Baseball a lot the last few weeks of this season hoping and praying for my own salvation or absolution in this matter. I have asked forgiveness at the alter of the Splendid Splinter inside Tropicana Field.
I have seen the Phillie shroud of the late Tug McGraw hanging in the Major League Baseball Alumni Association office and I have seen a vision of green grass on its shirt tails calling me again. I have stood in the rotunda and looked skyward and said a silent plead for some sign or omen that all will again be great within these Trop walls, and all I got was a ray of sunshine beaming on the people coming into the stadium and nothing near myself. I have even asked the symbol of all that is good and gracious in the Rays, their mascot Raymond D Rays for wisdom and a path of light in these ever-changing hours of playoff darkness.
So do not blame the Rays players, the Rays Coaches or even the Rays front office or ownership. It was my spiteful woes and selfishness that started this boulder down the hill with no one ther to stop it in time. It is in errors and transgressions within my total being that this season should fall upon my shoulders and shall wreck hovoc on my eternal soul. For I am a Rays fan who know the miserable plight and the sheer agony of impending losses all to well for the last 10 years. And I have also tasted the ambrosia and joy mixed with extreme excitement of shared victories. But it also falls upon me forgetting my simple place in this cosmic soup that might eventaully be the first crack in the ice above our feet.
And for that I ask your forgiveness and proclaim to you now that in 2010, I will do everything in my physical and financial being to again smile proudly and confidently standing amongst the Rays who will again fight between the white chalk lines every day for all of us. My shoulders are wide and can take the weight of this challenge. And I am able to stand tall and proud and with no teetering in my balance in this fight until the Rays ship is righted and on course, and all is again serene in the Rays World.