Hits and Errors of a “Thankful” Man

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GrillCheese49@Twitter.com

On a day when we all sit down with our families and gather to feast, reflect and also reminisce on the past year since our last Turkey Day the one word synonymous with today is Thanks. It is also a day I am going to tell you about something I have hidden away from most people who know me, and finally feel needs to be addressed now.

Since I hit my ceremonial birthday back on May 14th, my world has been quickly crumbling beneath me, and no one else has been the wiser. On that same day I became another one of the legion known as the “99er’s”, or people who had exhausted all unemployment and benefits fitting to someone actively trying to secure even a part-time gig at a neighborhood fast-food joint of 7-11. But that is only a cloud on the horizon of the other falsehood that surrounds my life.

No, I am not sick or getting worse with a terrible illness, but there is a ailment that has attached itself to me. Since about June of this year I have been foreclosed, repossessed and bitterly had to face the reality that my life choices, no matter how much I have enjoyed them, were wrong turns at best. I guess you can see a positive that when they came and picked-up my new old car I went immediately to a pawn shop and purchased a 21-speed bike so I could attend all 81 Tampa Bay Rays games this season.

And there lies the one positive that has kept me plugging away and not giving up. Even as I sit with my little laptop on my lap right now stealing/borrowing/sharing a WiFi connection through a local coffee shop, the reality is that I have never given up. Even in the rain and slick roads I tumbled my way to the Trop to get satisfaction and pleasure from the sport that has never abandoned me, or made me feel worthless. And for that I owe a lifetime of gratitude and admiration to the Rays.

When I finally slip my head down onto a pillow while doing a real life 24/7 backyard camping trip in a friend’s backyard because I am penniless, but not within the limits of emotional bankruptcy, I and wealthy thanks to the baseball friends and colleagues I know surrounding my Rays lifestyle. Some might say I have finally scrapped the bottom of my collective barrel, but I see it more as a way to finally treasure what I had, what I lost, and hopefully in the future, what is ahead for me.

This is the first time I have admitted publicly and to more than a few people the plight I have thrust myself into since I first started to pull my retirement savings a little at a time since April 2008 to secure my time with my Rays family at Tropicana Field. So on a day like today I give a huge bushel and gaggle of thanks to the many and the few who have passed paths with me in my Rays adventure.

This is not a solemn time, or one made to make people think they need to help. This is just me, an overly proud and optimistic person finally coming clean on the true extent of the damages. But please, do not despair, I cooked myself an amazing steak today with green beans and corn on the cob and reflected on the past year with great baseball joy and a personal admiration that I am stronger than I realize at times.

I am stuffed with the optimism of the coming months leading up to the Rays Fan Fest and again seeing members of my extended family again. Full to the gills of determination and persistence that by April things can be better. I am never homeless as long as I see Tropicana Field. I am not jobless for the work of following this team and writing about it fills me with the joy and reasoning to travel on. The ultimate “Thank You” is to the people who grace and read my passages day in and day out. For if it wasn’t for you…


To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. ~Johannes A. Gaertner

13 Comments

Renegade, you’re one of the most optimistic people I know, and I have no doubt that your energy, enthusiasm and capacity for hard work will enable you to turn this around. No doubt! In the meantime, it’s a gift that your passion for the Rays and dedication to writing about them are there to sustain you in tough times. Very courageous post.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Renegade, you’re one of the most optimistic people I know, and I have no doubt that your energy, enthusiasm and capacity for hard work will enable you to turn this around. No doubt! In the meantime, it’s a gift that your passion for the Rays and dedication to writing about them are there to sustain you in tough times. Very courageous post.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Jane,
Just decided it was time to vent that issue that is hidden behind the green curtain.
I have to be honest that the optimism is a by-product of knowing it can onlyget better.
Nothing conragious about it to me. There are people in dire straits compared to me, and fighting for their lives and mire exsistence.
It is more of a thankful message to the people who inspire me to keep that stream of optimism.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Having been there, I can only say that it WILL get better. I should also point out, with your passion for baseball and gift for writing, the answer may be right in front of you. Use your writing skills and passion for baseball. You have one of the best blogs that I have ever read. You have talent, use it! Fight the good fight and good things will happen. I have faith in you. Good luck on your endeavors. By the way, I really do love your blog.

Diehard,
Thank you for that.
I had a writing prospect a few months ago, but they have not written me back. It would be a non-paying position, but it would be for a well known magazine I studied like a school book as a kid.
Always loved trying to create the illusion of being there, even if you on an opposite coast.
Head is up, feet are still faced forward and hopefully I do not look up while it is raining…might drown ( just kidding).

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Thanks for sharing, RR. I’m with everyone else in sayin’ “keep ya head up”. You got the baseball blog fam behind you. 100 percent.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
Thanks for that nudge of confidence.
I do consider this site an extended family. I know I do not hit as many blogs as I want to in a short period of time, but I try and leave comments and small pieces of me wherever I can.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I am amazed and impressed that you have been able to stay so positive and optimistic through this. I really enjoy reading your blog and am thankful that you choose to direct so much of your energy toward sharing your thoughts and stories with all of us.

Best wishes to you as you move forward! I can say, from more experience than I would like, that even when it doesn’t seem like they can, things do get better eventually.

http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

Blithe,
Never had much trouble keeping my energy going, or staying positive. But I can honestly say I do stray from the path to smell the flowers on the roadside and get distracted at times.
Ever since I was a child I thrilled and found new found glory every day on the baseball diamond.
Even when I played football in college and beyond, it never seemed to bring ro me the passion and the joy that baseball did day in and day out.
Guess I am standing by the one love that has never left me….baseball.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I probably shouldn’t ever complain about my job again. I probably will, but when I do maybe I will think of your situation and buck up myself a little. Thanks for being devoted to the baseball cause through thick and thin!
http://zkonedog.mlblogs.com/

Zkonedog,
It is fine to complain about your job…That is as American as…. well, Baseball.
Just felt it was time to let the proverbial “cat out of the bag”.
I guess it was just time to give up the illusion finally.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Twnzfan,
I definitely would not mind a little devine intervention/prayerlisting.
I agree so much with the escalade of pessimisim that can take root if you do not keep you head forward and looking to the future. Still not sure what direction it will take, but hopefully the journey will make for a few well told stories some day.
I am actually thinking my 2011 credo might just be ” we’ll get ‘em tomorrow” just in case the Rays have a few growing pains as the young guys get their claws into the game.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Hey, Renegade,
I haven’t been reading the blogs for a while and had just read your Crawford blog and decided to catch up on your more recent entries, when I saw this one. What a wonderful Thanksgiving “feast” of optimism for the rest of us who have already received so much enjoyment from your blog! I know that there must be pain between the lines, but, as a friend of mine says, “You can’t change your past, but you can ruin your future by fretting over it.” I agree with you that baseball is a game for optimism. The season even begins in the Spring, when nature is coming alive again after the long winter (maybe not where you live in Florida, but definitely true here in cold MN!). There are 9 innings of chances, 162 games…so many “We’ll get them tomorrow” opportunities. This may seem silly, but I hope you won’t mind if I add you to my prayer list today. You’re one special dude, and I wish you all the best.

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