Time for a Little Pep Talk!
I am not going to get into the nitty gritty about the Tampa Bay Rays last 3 games just yet. I think I have a bit more important duty to fulfill at this key moment that will could be of vital importance to some of within the Rays Republic.
Right now, some members of the Republic are seeing the skies darkening a bit and positive notions going from sunshine to party cloudy to stormy in an instant concerning this Rays team’s direction so early in this season.
It is at key moments like this 0-3 start, which has happened for the first time in Rays franchise history, that either you stand up and rally behind your guys, or you look for the exits like some of the so-called fans when we are losing in the 8th inning on Sunday afternoon.
For in the next few games, let’s pretend the fate of this Rays squad is totally in the fan’s hands. Humor me here for a moment.
The Rays players really do feed off of the assembled Rays Republic’s energy. They can sometime use that extra jolt to find that extra gear, that adreneline pulsation that produces a spectacular game moment that will excite, motivate and encourage more of the same…It all starts with the crowd.
The fact that Home Plate is bouncing around pretty good right now for some of our hitters only gives us us another solid reason to take a bit of the pressure off them. Show them our undying support, the never-ending energy, plus the unadulterated fact the Rays Republic is firmly behind this team no matter what.
The mental aspect of the game of baseball can take you quickly to the road to ruin faster than a David Price fastball. The mental elements that need to be rebuilt, or tweaked right now on and off the field is faith, confidence, resilience and spirit.
Some will say that all 4 words have the same basic foundation in their mental framework, but I think they all play a different role in the whole scheme of things, but join together as a unit towards a mutual road to reason.
It is for that reason that I decided to write an a inspiration blog to those fans who are thinking about turning their backs on the Rays right now.
I want to turn their frown upside down on the casual Rays fan who sees the current standing ( 0-3) and is frustrated or filling themselves with doubt.
” It ain’t suppose to make sense; it’s faith. Faith is something that you believe that nobody in their right mind would believe” – Archie Bunker
If we lose one Rays fan right now because of a loss of faith, we lose the fight to convince his friends, his extended family and others to the pure fact that this team is on the way up, and not stuck in the mud at the bottom of the division.
“Faith sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”
That last quote was from an anonymous source, but it is so true in the Rays fight for recognition and a place in baseball last year, and again in 2011. Faith in the abilities of this young Rays squad is the foundation of this journey. For if the team is to again take to the mountain top, it must first feel the pain and struggle of the climb and this time relish in it’s joy from the first step. Faith makes you believe in miracles.
” My theory,is that if you look confident you can pull off anything- even if you have no clue what you are doing. – Jessica Alba
The confidence of the Rays Republic’s fan base has to make an appearance in this upcoming 2-game home series against the Angels through our voices and even cowbells. By the Rays Republic showing that the Trop is still “Our House”, even if we are not entirely on our game right now, we are showing extreme team confidence in a reversal of fortunes and records.
What better time to take on those fortunes than against Rays Manager Joe Maddon’s ex-ballclub. We will not have to hype up the players too much for the excitement and drama of this rivarly.
If we slack off at all, and let the Angels bats and pitching silence our voices, in our home environment, it might be some time before we again reign supreme in our own house.
” There is a big difference in confidence and conceit” – Johnny Unitas.
I heard those words from Johnny Unitas himself on the sidelines back in 1987 when the Indianapolis Colts were about to take on the Cleveland Browns in an NFL playoff game.
It is so true that sometimes a team can get so caught up in all the hype and fake confidence reigning down on them from outside sources that they can not play to their superior level, or even compete as a whole team unit. We had that problem as a team in 1987 and ended up getting slaughtered 38-21.
There is a limit to the confidence and conceit level that both fans and a team can aspire to iat this early stage in an MLB 162-game season. Lofty goals and a over abundance of self confidence can ruin even the best of intentions.
” Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” - Confucius
How great a quote is that. It is really a motto that can be adopted by this 2011 squad to lead them towards that common goal again.
When Maddon was hired by the Rays in 2006, he wanted to make the Trop. a place where other teams feared coming into and playing, like the New Mexico University Lobo’s Den, which was the first known as “The Pit”.
In 2008, the Rays fans and the team established the Trop as a place where opposing team’s wins came to die.
“The Bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists” – Japanese Proverb
Through the use of the cowbell and the horns, the Rays Republic has annoyed, and frustrated opposing fans in “Our House”. I have seen some bad behavior from Rays fans, and that will not be tolerated. I will be the first to get in your face if you forget your fan manners.
There is nothing wrong with getting vocal and loud, but stay within respectful boundaries, and we can again make the Trop a haven where a rival’s defeat is a definite game day option. First the crowd has to believe, then like a river it flows towards the field.
“While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die- whether it is our spirit, our creativity, or our glorious uniqueness” – Gilda Radner.
That is the essence of this blog today. I do not want the spirit of everything accomplished last season to die a slow death on the heels of this bad seasonal start. By redefining our belief in the end goal, by achieving beyond our own expectations, and by yearning to again hear the cheers of gladness from the multitudes, that should be the goal of this short homestand.
We have to re-energize the Rays spirit’s. Reset their barometers to heat up their tempos on the field and in the dugout. This is the type of moments when I truly miss someone like ex Ray OF/DH Jonny Gomes. He was one of the best unoffical cheerleaders on this Rays team. But it was from his personal belief in the abilities of the 24 other guys besides him that he gained that momentum and energy to take on all comers.
That same spirit is not evident in the play and actions of this team so fgar in 2011. I know it still resides within them. By getting loud on both Tuesday and Wednesday, we can again awaken the dormant competitive juices that make even our own bodies quiver and your brain ache from pure joy and the dramtic excitement of this game .
We need to again boost the decibel level to 150 decibels on the noise meter to awaken the Rays Republic’s spirit. But most of all, we need the Rays faithful who have been here during the lean years, during the 100 loss seasons, to join with the newbies and support our winners’ to with an increased volume of noise.
We need the noise coming from within the Trop to be heard as far away as Ferg’s. For this team to rebound and get back on track, it will take more than just the team’s efforts.
I, for one will not give up until the end of game number 162. Some are already starting to waiver in their beliefs and desires to follow this team into the darkness not knowing if that tunnel will end in an abundance of Rays of sunshine and light or deepening darkness.
The 2011 Rays are not one and dones. They are not a 1 trick ponies, and they are certainly not just “lucky” to have gotten what they secured in 2008 and 2010.
“The spirit,the will to win and the will to excell are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.” -Vince Lombardi
The stakes are higher, and the teams around us have rebuilt stronger because of us. But it has to also start with us, the Rays Republic.
I do not know about you, but I would rather lose my voice this week cheering than let the Trop lose its “home field advantage”.
So the question is now up to you Rays fans……….It is put up or shut up time? What is your decision, mine is to stand united and voice my support to the heavens for a team that deserves a chance at the ultimate prize.
“If people do not want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.” – Yogi Berra.
(I promise, no more BLUE lettering after today).