A State of Emotional Bankruptcy

 

 
Mike Ehrmann/Getty

I am not sad. But I do feel a bit numb right now. Rushing through me is a huge wave of emotions that I can not fathom or even comprehend without just sitting here and letting them rush over me like a huge Monsoon wave. A swirling gambit of feelings from happiness to sadness is ebbing at me, but I am staying strong as I stand and give a last huge round of applause and gratitude to my Boys of Summer….the Tampa Bay Rays.

As I stand there clapping, I can feel the gurgling and churning of emotion beginning to rise towards my head. I feel weak, a bit disoriented, but still stand erect, providing a rhythm with my hands to show the respect, admiration and total commitment I have given this team since I was the first fan to walk into their Port Charlotte Spring Training complex when pitchers’ and catchers’ reported in late February.

Suddenly that pent up emotions I have been fighting leaks out through the cracks and crevices of my soul to spill upon the Tropicana Field seat I have cherished for the last 13 years. I am in full disheartenment now knowing that my baseball is done for the year. My eyes are watering, but not out of sadness, but out of the joy and extreme excitement I have witnessed on this patch of Field Turf that is to be replaced in the off season.

I instantly felt the extreme contentment swamp over me that I got to experience the “Perfect Season” in 2010. I attended 81 games this year, including 3 post season contests and was always inspired and at ease within this domed building. As other around me mutter disgust and admonish the end result, I am totally at peace with this ending, finally knowing that this squad had taken their entire band of brothers as far as fate would let them journey.

 

As I give a small salute to my oldest baseball buddy Rays Bullpen catcher Scott Cursi I have a tear of happiness trickling down my cheek. For in about a month, Scott and his wife Stephanie ( an ex-Rays employee) will celebrate the birth of a future Rays second baseman. That gives me hope for the Rays future. But I also remember that within the next few weeks Rays reliever Dan Wheeler will also have the joy of having his first daughter enter his life.


As the members of the Rays Bullpen began to walk towards the Rays dugout for the last time this season, I want to shout all their names and thank them, but it would have fallen on deaf ears right now. Collectively they are not in the celebrating mood, or pondering the immediate future than remembering the great moments of the last 7 ½ months since they first assembled. One by one I see them slowly and gracefully disappear, each stealing a last glimpse toward the sight up beyond Home Plate of the Texas Rangers still celebrating their series victory.

Just then my legs begin to tremble and I sit down in my seat emblazoned with my “Rays Renegade” black tag. I sit there for about five minutes and just take in the sights and sounds again. People want to talk to me about the game, but I tell them to “savor the moment, this is not the time to condemn or admonish, but to reflect before it is all gone”. Some understand, but most just laugh that I am too emotionally attached to this team. That I invest too much of myself into their wins and losses.

 

They might be right, but I also know that soon this team will be disassembled like an old jalopy not because they are rusted and mangled, but because of fiscal constrictions that will strangle the 2010 formation of this team that never seemed to quit. Suddenly it hits me like a ton of bricks that I might have seen the last days of a few of these Rays decked out in their Rays royal blue uniforms and that wave of acknowledgment rushed through my at breakneck speed.


It is over. It is done, and there is not a thing I can do about it. There is barely anyone in the stadium bowl now and a few of the Security force that know me well have left me sit there far too long. I have to go now. It is time to make that solemn walk through the bowels of the stadium and out into the regular World again. As I walk past the Tropicana Field Rotunda , there are a few people still taking their photos with the 7 foot Rays-inspired Mickey Mouse showing a few smiles and joy in an overflowing ocean of emotions right now.

I decide to sit down and listen to Rich Herrera as he does the last Rays Radio post game show of the year and he nods his head towards me as if he could see deep down into me and the pain and emotions churning like a bad dish of hot wings in my belly. He is the last Rays face I see this year. The last member of the fourth floor brigade, but I will miss them all too for their friendship, advice and just general good conversations. I sit there past the end of the Radio show and still hesistate to want to leave, but I must go. Within the next few days my normal life will return with all the stress and pressure these same players have felt this season. My refuge from reality is over for the year.

 

It is time to again find a way to live without my baseball for a few months before I again pack my Rays goodies for a February Rays Fan Fest date. Finally I head outside the large overhead doors of Gate 6 and I am instantly hit with a gust of cool wind. It awakens me to the pure fact that this is the last glimpse, the last moment I will be here this year.


Most people just seem to detach themselves from this place and just walk out like it is just concrete and paint. But I used to work here, sweat here, and saw some of the greatest Rays feats ever accomplished just beyond the insides of these large doors. I take one last look into the Trop and wish the roof could have been orange tonight, but tonight that orange hue is vacant.

As I turn, the whole kit and kaboodle of pent up emotions hits me all at once like a runner into the catcher. Suddenly I have to come to terms with the fact this is it. This is the end of my 2010 Rays baseball experience. But just as fast I remember something joyous and proud that will happen in April 2011. Another banner will be raised to the rafters, and that give me a bit of solace to make that long walk to the bike racks and begin to pedal home into the dark Florida night, but wearing the Rays cap with honor on my head.

 

I stop the bike about a block from the stadium, but still within the majesty of its beauty and take the cap off and offer a last salute to the Trop. Some say she is a slanted roofed abomination, but she is my Church of Baseball. Where I rejoice, find redemption and also attend some of the greatest game played on clay and turf.

It is the place I watch and talk with the great guys who grace the Rays logo on their heads and chests and leave a little piece of myself there forever.


I am not sad, but I do feel a little numb right now. Rushing through me is a huge wave of emotions that I can not fathom or comprehend without just standing here and letting them rush over me like a Monsoon wave. A swirling gambit of feelings from happiness to sadness is ebbing at me, but I am staying strong as I stand and give a last huge round of applause and gratitude to my Boys of Summer….the Tampa Bay Rays.

22 Comments

You said it perfectly: “My refuge from reality is over for the year.” I think we all feel that way when our teams are done for the season. It’s such a slap in the face when it’s all over. Baseball becomes an important part of our lives for so many months – and for you, especially, since you got to be at the ballpark for so many games. You lived and died with the team, so it’s understandable that you’d feel numb. But February will be here soon.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane,
I liked how you picked up on that one sentence, which has a huge amount of meaning behind it.
There is a lot going on behind my Wizard of Oz plaid curtains most people do not even have a inkling of yet.
When I am secure enough to tell it……it might shock a few people. It greets me every day and consumes me to the core. But not to worry, it is not a health scare.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Wow. That was an incredible piece of blogging. You, sir, are the sort of baseball buddy I wish I had.
Well done.

–Jonestein
http://jonestein.mlblogs.com

Jonestein,
Said yesterday we would see a piece of history either way, and Congrats on the victory.
Proud that Josh Hamilton will get another chance to get out of his hitting funk. He deserves a chance at the big boys again.
I am always on here blogging, so consider me a blogging buddy.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Just stopping by from the She-fan blog to say hello. I’d offer you condolences, but that would be wrong. There is nothing I need to offer you sympathy for. The Rays played great this season. They kept the Yankees on their toes and made them a better team. They won 2 games in Arlington. Cliff Lee was dominant last night and they did all they could.
Instead I offer you memories of a great season. A young, vital team, who had fun and played the game with class and won the respect of the baseball world, and this Yankee fan in particular.
In a few weeks, all baseball fans will have to go into hibernation and settle down to read books, knit, work on cars, or whatever else they put off for a few months in the golden days of summer.

The Rays will be waiting for you next year, I AM sad that it looks like it won’t be the same team. But you will have new memories next year.

Melissa

PS Have you read the book “The Game” by Robert Benson. I think you’d like it.
http://www.amazon.com/Game-Nine-Innings-Affair-Baseball/dp/1585421014/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1286993987&sr=1-2

Melissa,
Thanks for that train of thought.
Mosat fans get a bit nostalgic or remorseful at the end. I just got some great moments and some incredible blogs and photos to always remind me of that 2010 season.
Premature Ejection syndrome is the culprit right now, but within a few days the scars will heal, the mind will settle and the World will become one again.
But for today, it is just a reflectionary moment set in the drizzling rain of loss, combined with the heat of compassion that life goes one…even without baseball.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

40 year,
As we all know, besides a few metroplis’s in this country most MLB teams are constructed by means of formulating a farm system with some fresh fruit on the FRee Agent or trade vines.
The Rangers should be fine next year thanks to a huge Fox regional contract, but the Rays have their contract in effect for another 5 season before it is re-negoiated.
It will be said in the coming weeks seeing a few of this team’s cornerstones leave or even be traded away to bring in young budding talent that will mature quicker at this level.
Who knows what the future brings, but right now le’t just celebrate what is great and good about our teams…the rest will sort itself out with time.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I would like to thank you and your team for providing me with so much enjoyment, nail biting, highs, lows and everything in between. I hate seeing teams broken up simply because of finances but it is a reality these days, unless you play in New York (it’s taken this long to recover from overspending on A-Rod and Chan Ho Park!). I do not know how your Rays will be constituted in 2011. However they take shape, though, I hope ownership knows what a dedicated fan they have in you. Thanks for some great memories, my baseball brother!

I posted this on she-fan (twice by accident!), and Jane told me I should post it here.

From a Yankee fan with apologies to Willie Nelson, this if for the Rays, who have been on our minds since April:
Maybe the Yanks didn’t beat you
Quite as often as they should have
Maybe the Yanks didn’t defeat you
Quite as often as they could have
Little plays you always went and done
And you won all the time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
Maybe we didn’t hold the lead
All those sultry summer times
And I guess I never told you
You’ve got a strong starting nine
If I thought of you as second best
Rays I’m so sorry I wasn’t kind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
Tell me, tell me that your team spirit hasn’t died
Give us, give us one more chance to keep your starting nine, starting nine
Now the summer is gone and done
the regular season’s out of time
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

Melissa,
Great rendition of a classic Willy song.
The starting nine, and possibly the starting five will be different in 2011. With that in mnd, you might have to always fear those Southern brethren because we do not plan ti die or fade away…
Just like a radiant ray of light, will will always as bright as day into the night.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cliff,
by the time I saw your name on the seat, I could not stop the tears. I was getting over it then I started again when I read the song the parody from Melissa. I know how it is for a team to take us thru some highs during the postseason only to bring us back down. But you have some wonderful memories. ::sinff”
.
You may glory in a team triumphant… But you fall in love with a team in defeat. -Roger Kahn
.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

Emma,
If that prose is ture, then with 11 defeated seasons and two triumphant ones, I am definitely in love with my team….platonically.
I actually ripped my name from my seat after the game as a heirloom in case I do not get back in 2011.
I acutally have done ir since day one and consider it one of my superstitions I do yearly.
Sometimes you got to let then bloods heartfelt prose flow and hope that againthe heart and souls wills you the luck and fate to again put your carcass in that blue seat again.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

To get so close and yet so far, when it ends short, for me, its always in an exhale of breath, finding myself uttering the words, ‘Now what’ and ‘is it really over’.
Eventually as with fans of 29 other teams that didn’t quite make it to the winners circle, you find those words embedded in the hearts of some fans year after year, ‘Oh well there is always next year’

-peter

Phillies Outside

The beginning of the end? I don’t think so. I mean, Crawford and some others will be gone, but the Rays scouts have done magic before… I have faith they’ll stick around the top, as long as the pitching is solid.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Wonderful bit of writing that truly describes the feelings of real baseball fans everywhere. My daughter and I were remarking recently after our Twins were eliminated, how silly we were to be so emotionally tied to the comings and goings of a major league sports team. And yet we both agreed we wouldn’t have it any other way. It was she who came up with the idea, “Hey, why don’t we both try doing baseball blogs this year?” She lives in Dallas and I in Minnesota, but we shared this season together in a new way. I was also introduced to veteran bloggers like you, who I’ve enjoyed reading and have helped show me the way. You do it right. Thanks, Renegade.

Peter,
This was a year you wanted them to hit the big stage. With the Free Agency woes and the aspect of payroll staying lower than this season, you wanted to see them get a “just dessert” before some of the foundation packed their lockers for the last time.
Carl Crawford and Rafael Soriano are certainly gone, plus a possible half dozen others, but it was remarkable all the same and I am proud of the Rays roster and look forward to telling them that soon.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Man, I really wish that it had gone differently for the Rays. I was really happy that they took the East title from the Yankees and was hoping that they would get to face them in the ALCS. Still can’t believe that nobody won a home game in that series…. So much for the advantage.

Michael

http://phanaticaddict.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
Change always makes some people nervous.
I am not as effected as some, but with a possible 8 players turning their uniforms in for good, some have already been sweating bullets as to the 2011 make-up of the Rays.
But the honest truth is that there will be additional surprises before the team reports in mid-February, and those should be what we should worry about….
But it sucks that this band of brothers did not have more to thrust on the baseball resume’s, but two AL East titles in 3 seasons is nothing to forget.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Twnzfan,
I know you have felt that same blast of cold hard relaity this last week too with the Twins being eliminated early by the Yankees.
Sometimes even the best of teams can be sidetracked by a small weakness that never got exposed until a short series derails the main cogs of the machine.
People know I do not hold my emotions in check sometimes and let it all out into the open.
Rays were not focued and honed towards their usual game and fell victim to their own vices.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Michael,
I knew there had to be a historical end to that series, but would never had thought 5 visiting teams would decide that series ultimate wins…Was a wild adventure to watch and see in person.
Plus the Rangers got their first postseason series win ever…..two good reasons to follow the Texas team this weekend.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

This was a beautiful tribute to a team who really played their hearts out this season. Wishing you and the Rays all the best in 2011!

Westcoastgirl,
Thank you for that compliment.
Just hope the G-men can give the West Coast some sort of pride and honor that the Rays tried to give the Gulf Coast region in 2010.
Rays will have to solve their puzzle in 2011, but if anyone can do it, a team with a well stocked farm system can do it….hopefully.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 278 other followers

%d bloggers like this: