Time for a Little Pep Talk!



Thumbnail image for Star.JPG

 

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. 


Dunechaser@Flickr.com

” 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.

      

          Healthleaders.uthouston.edu

” 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.


www.tampabay.com

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).

15 Comments

Nice Post!!! 0 -3 isn’t all that bad. You know the cliches(A lot of games left–yada yada yada) The whole thing is it means nothing. They’ll get there.

When in doubt, check out this team. I was the mascot years ago. it was brutal!! I stuck in there.

Ottawa Rough Riders—http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottawa_Rough_Riders

—Mark Gauthier
http://cubden.mlblogs.com/

Mark,
I remember the Rough Riders well.
Some say Candian Football is not a great or real sport, but liked that you could run back missed FG’s and kickoffs from deep in the endzone….But then I liked to run with the ball.
I know Dexter Manley played there for a bit…..He maybe could not read, but he sure could plant a QB in the soil.

Rays Renegade

The one thing I noticed in that series (and I watched all the games as I’m quite the Showalter fan) is that the Rays looked like they were just going through the motions, whereas the O’s looked like they had a fire burning under their butts.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
I actually had that same thought on Saturday night. There seems to be a emotional drain when Longo went down, but the Rays have ample support guys who might not have Longoria’s power, but they have solid bats and the defense to make the loss hurt less.
Now it is time to put the pedal to the metal and see if they also have the fortified confidence to strive on against two good pitchers (Weaver & Haren).
My money is still on the Rays as Niemann and Hellboy take the mound.

Rays Renegade

Great post, Renegade. My Twins are not looking so terrific out of the gate this year either, and have a record of 1-3 with the 1 win being a “just barely.” The thing is, are we fans only watching baseball to see our teams win? If the final score is all that matters, just check the box scores the next day, but a real fan watches for the joy of the game. Last night we lost (again) to the Yankees, but Delmon Young had an incredible, diving catch, Jim Thome and Justin Morneau looked like their bats were waking up, and our pitching held them scoreless after the second inning. All things to cheer about. I know you Rays fans are missing some great players, but you still have Upton, Zobrist, etc. and one of the best managers around. Plus, one of the best “cheerleaders” in you. Go, Team!

Twnsfan,
Was listening to an Old Time Baseball fan chat at a recent fundraiser and he said our sports culture has been pushed onto its head by the fact we want wins, championships, symbols of greatness over blood,sweat and effort.
Had to almost agree with him there. It is not the players who pushed the enevelope to this level, it is the overall expectation from the stands to the lockers. Maybe we have become too competitive. Possibly too driven by the actions of winning than handling defeat with decorum and grace.
Hopefully the next generation gets back to the basics of just loving the game, enjoying its many moving parts, and taking wins and losses with a level head…….Who am I kidding, the Warlock Charlie Sheen is right…”Winning!”.

Rays Renegade

You give the best pep talks ever. You don’t mind if I just substitute where you say “Rays” with “Giants” and use this in my head while Aubrey Huff stumbles around in right field tonight, do you? :)

Diamond Girl
http://sfdiamondgirl.mlblogs.com/

You give the best pep talks ever. You don’t mind if I just substitute where you say “Rays” with “Giants” and use this in my head while Aubrey Huff stumbles around in right field tonight, do you? :)

Diamond Girl
http://sfdiamondgirl.mlblogs.com/

Emily,
I give you creative license to do whatever you want to the piece…even throw it into the furance.
Seriously, you have ex Rays bookends in Left and Rightfield tonight. Both have defensive limitations, but when their bats are hot….Well, you know the drill.
Still, it has to be a defensive nightmare for Giants Bench Coach Ron Wotus and the rest of the G-men staff to constantly reposition and move the duo during the games.
Guess a healthy OF Cody Ross on the horizon can at least eliminate some of the worry long term…..Add Randy Winn and you got an entire ex-Rays OF unit.

Rays Renegade

The Orioles are just riding the hype into the beginning of the season. I think they may keep it up, but you played an excited team at a bad time =/ It happens. Nothing to worry about, the Rays will contend this year…. with the Orioles… lol

- Anders (http://chisoxboy.mlblogs.com)

Wow Anders.
Guess we will find out the extend of the Orioles success at the end of April when your White Sox have the birds in for a 3-game weekend series.
Not sure if your comment means the Rays and Orioles will fight for the cellar ( nope), or if your are referring to the O’s possibly having some staying power and battling at the top…..both are a bit perplexing to think of at this moment.

Rays Renegade

Now that I think about it, I don’t exactly know what I meant there. I think the AL East is definitely the toughest division in the game. The Rays, Orioles, Yankees, and Red Sox (maybe even the Jays) will all be in contention. It’s gonna be a really exciting season for you guys

- Anders

Nice clarification.
I agree, the table is not set for anyone to just sit back and fest within the confines of the AL East anymore. Everyone within the division has stepped up their game to try and compete and better those above and below them. Seriously think the Wild Card will not come out of this division only because the 18 games each play against each other may moot the chances of the runners-up getting a post season nod…..But I hope I am wrong.

Rays Renegade

Yeah. The Yankees and Red Sox had their fun being the dominant teams, stomping on the other three for so long. But while those teams were losing they were gaining draft picks and now it’s time for those guys to shine. Arencibia, Drabek (even though he came over in a trade), Matusz, Tillman, Britton, Markakis, Wieters, Longoria, Price, Shields, Hellickson, Jennings, the list goes on. The talent gets better and more wide-spread every year – this will be a fantastic season
- Anders

Anders,
I agree totally. And the Sox will have a deabte of their own if Dunn doesn’t get it done…But that is another crate of eggs ready to be either thrown or coddled…..AL Central will be interestibf with the Twins showinf early they might not be totally back…yet.

Rays Renegade

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