Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
Which Path Will the Rays Follow?
How surreal has the last half a day gotten for Tampa Bay Rays fans. How ironic has the plot twists and turns gotten that during the doubleheader in Boston on Saturday, the Rays Republic were pseudo Red Sox viewers just hoping to push an extra wave of emotion and confidence towards the Boston bench to defeat the Evil Empire.
How wild is it that a grinding and crashing carnage of a Yankee loss has given fate another reason to deal with the Rays Republic and provide us with another chance to grasp the title when all that loomed was darkness, gloomy and heart becoming devoid of excitement. Sometimes baseball has a unique way of surprising you.
That in an instant, baseball can drive you to heights you never expected, or give you hope, then just as quickly dash those dreams and leave you shocked and amazed.
Baseball again has shown us that sometimes it is a living, breathing collection of special and heartbreaking moments that can turn in a million directions in a nanosecond before its final destination. But right now, within my mind, baseball has shown its blessing to the Rays. It has given them the ultimate task of deciding their own destiny.
Win and the Rays are in as American League East Champions, lose and it will be up to the Red Sox and Yankees to deal the last card to the Rays. Right now, ironically in the 162nd game of the 2010 season, the Rays still have a chance to hoist the prize. Emotions are so high within me right now that I will need FAA clearance to land my plane of emotions and set a course for a possible “Welcome Home” celebration at St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport this evening.
The Rays Republic kind of had this odd feeling all season long that this A L East race might go down to the wire, but you realistically would imagine it would have been decided and celebrated long before the 162nd game’s conclusion. The Rays Republic definitely would not have fathomed this season’s high or low point coming after the last out of their last regular season game in Kansas City today.
But the stark and plain reality of it all is that if the Rays win today in their afternoon matinee against the Kansas City Royals, they hold the defining key to the American League East crown. With that glorious A L East key comes a chance to come back home to begin another chapter in their 2010 season in the 72 degrees of Tropicana Field, with a partisan Rays sell out crowd to begin the ALDS.
With the added kicker of another awesome night of Rays celebration throughout Tampa Bay starting with the team’s arrival at St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport this evening. Considering the team will not probably stay in KC just to celebrate, the plane ride home will be a mixed ball of emotions with it and the players’ exploding the moment the Rays arrive and thrust their way through the tarmac door.
But that is if they win today.
There is still a minute possibility that the Rays could crouch in the corner again and maybe lose this last game of the season, which would open another can of squiggly undesired worms to filter into our noggin’s. With a loss, the Rays would be at the mercy of those pinstriped New York Yankees. But the Yankees do start their game in Boston at 1:35 pm EST and that game could be concluded before the Rays even enter the last few innings.
That will provide an extra incentive of emotion and stress towards this Rays team, but also could be the added spice to thrust them onward and upward to secure their rightful place.
In front of the Rays right now is the subtle reality that if they lose or falter, the consolation prize to the A L East is slipping into a plane and jetting to the Twin Cities for a few days of pondering what got away from them before they begin their second season against the Twins in Target Field. I do not know about you, but I would rather celebrate and feel fantastic about an event than have to ponder and sulk about the ” one (A L East title) that got away in the cool Fall weather of Minnesota.
The ultimate reality of the situation is that the Rays and Royals could be entering the latter points of the game when it becomes clear whether or not there will be a celebration in Tampa Bay tonight, or the team jets onto Minnesota to get a early jump on the ALDS.The Yankees are hoping for a Rays loss with their own pinstriped multitudes having an ocean of church candles flickering and dozens of prayers to higher authorities above hoping and wishing for the Rays and starter Wade Davis to somehow falter today, mixed with a Yankee win.
Reality of the situation is that the Rays hold the cards right now in this fight. They have the first tiebreaker in hand, and will be hoisting the crown to the heavens if both teams win or lose together. But wouldn’t you rather seethe Rays win the last game and go out into the post season on a truly positive note than to rely and hope that their competitor falters first and makes their outcome moot.
If the Rays pull off this last second miracle, if they begin the celebrations in K C this afternoon, you can be sure I will be at St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport when that charter flight hit’s the runway tonight. Last time there were 2,000+ of my closest Rays fans with me to welcome and celebrate the Rays stride into the 2008 playoffs. One last step by the Rays towards achieving another one of their seasonal goals. One more step back towards the postseason and another 3 Rays celebrations. All of it can be guaranteed with just a “W”.
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