Time to Grab the Brass Ring

There is an old saying, “When a door closes, another one opens”. The unfortunate thing is right now that door is a trap door and it leads to a dark place that this Tampa Bay Rays team has been trying to avoid every since their rial departure from Boston’s South Station.

Along the way this once enthusiastic Rays band of bros have been blindsided, mis-guided and sent along a path of self destruction. All we have to do now is figure out the culprit or aliment and drown them with a high dosage of optimism and possibly someone singing “Tomorrow” from “Annie” a few times in the clubhouse. I pick Rays rookie Matt Moore, he can’t seem to do anything wrong right now.

It is just one stubbed toe, but it is also a missed opportunity by losing 5-1 tonight to a Blue Jays team the Rays have manhandled most of the season. It was the perfect time to thrust a huge H-bomb of stress and pressure upon those pesky Red Sox in their series against the high flying, playoff bound Pinstripes. Instead, it is another example of putting the wrong foot forward and stepping straight into that spiraling rabbit hole.

You want to rush past the Security Guards, push past the Clubhouse Assistants and shake a few Rays by the shoulders and make them come out of this nightmare dream sequence. It is almost like someone threw a copy of the bad independent screenplay built on despair and personal instability upon the Visitor’s dugout in Boston, and everyone read it on the slow train to NYC.

There has to be a connection. There has to be a dark reason, a motive unseen that has thrust this Rays franchise deep into playing like those pre-2000 D-Rays once again when the prize is just beyond the grasp. That brass ring is just out of their reach and with each passing spin of the Merry-go-Round seems to inch further and further away with each circle.

Pressure is rising. Building up a nasty head of steam and insecurity with each and every miss-step or missed opportunity. Something has to be done. Someone needs to somehow right this ship before it hits the shoals of Tampa Bay and the season becomes a “what if” decaying fossil upon the rocks.

It is still fixable, the Merry-go-Round is still functioning and tomorrow really is another day. But the winning has to start tomorrow or the trapdoor will open below Tropicana Field and suck the life out of a any post season dreams. It is not a classic “do or die” moment, but a win will erase a little of that cloud, open up a stream of sunshine, take the blues away just like a magician and his fabled rabbit trick.

The end is too near and the prize is too vivid for it to all disappear into thin air with another loss. A win during a Rays Saturday Night Concert Series event used to be a “sure thing”, a president for renewed faith, vitality and exuberance for that last trip around the Merry-go-Round. A loss and the ring will quickly go from solid brass to useless plastic.

A loss and the crowd might not be able to rebound and enjoy Miranda Lambert with gusto. But a win, a win can make Sunday brighter, the Starbucks taste better and reopen that door towards the playoffs with a firm and confident Rays step forward.

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