Removing the Stinger Slowly
Now matter how it happens, it still stings. Right now it feels like the barb is stuck deep within my heart and is twisting, bringing about another bout of painful remembrances. No matter if it was through a blaze of glory or just simply a laying down of the weapons of battle, seeing defeat come swiftly and stare you straight in the face is a biotch. This morning the air is not cleaner, the grass is not greener and another chapter in my Tampa Bay Rays life has been slammed shut by a bunch of Rangers.
It is not like I didn’t know this day might happen, I just wanted to linger, for a possible long savoring of the moment when the lights finally dimmed and the reality of the season was stuffed into our frontal lobes. I wanted to scream “This is not fair”, but in reality it is how the game is played and champion are born.
Sure I dreamed of a long long walk in October for the Rays, but somewhere the gears and the forward inertia just seemed stuck in slow motion. The reality was the one dark spot surrounding this otherwise bright and illuminating Rays squad dealt them their death card. It was not for the lack of effort, for the twisting of fate in the non-existent wind in Tropicana Field, but a lack of solid contact consistency.
For again the demonic invention of the “swing and miss” haunted this Rays club. They fought back this darkness at moments, but could not exterminate its festering and accumulation. It’s carnage bringing about an untimely end to the joy and excitement of the game for another season. Baseball is done for me for 2011. I will not hibernate, hide in sorrow or fester in the replaying of misdeeds and missed opportunities.
I plan to relish the affirmative over the coming months. Pull out the festering darkness and bring a new lantern forward for 2012. For the 2012 season will mark this franchises 15th season, and that is something worth a lofty celebration homage right now. As Rays Designated Hitter Johnny Damon packs his gear to surrender to the realization of another year categorized, there is hope he might again enter the Rays clubhouse doors in the Spring of 2012.
Even with this gloomy ending hanging over their shoulders right now, this young Rays club have nothing to fear. The experience of not only the post season, but battling the cursed critics deposing of this squad in early September, throwing down those verbage bonds and emerging as a unified band of brothers.
This early exit, this unforeseen post season journey has matured this team, bonded them forever and shown all of us in Tampa Bay that fighting for what you believe in will be ingrained in this Rays culture for a long, long time. Some might say I am waxing a bit too poetic right now, but that is what is flowing from my cranium. I am not emotionally deceased right now, only morally bankrupt and need a moment to myself.
Saying “goodbye” even to a grand season where you see your squad bashed the expected and transverse beyond the realistic is one to always remember. 3 out of the past 4 years I have had these same emotions at this juncture, and the pain of realism has not damped one iota.
In the end I did not stand and clap at the end of yesterday’s contest to salute the Rangers defeat as their celebration upon our AstroTurf felt like someone pulling their swords out of our Rays lifeless carcass, I stood and applauded the 33 men who fought from April’s dismal start to Evan Longoria’s solo shot to get the post season party started in full gear.
Even though right now a air of sadness envelopes this Tampa Bay region and within the Trop. Feel proud this team pulled off what was previously thought to be impossible. Have pride in the fight and determination of this Rays crew to not buckle to convention, but thrust forward into the darkness still hoping for a shade of light, a renewed vigor, a embracing kiss from fate, destiny and hope that all is possible if you believe.
Been a long season patched together with grit, patience and the bonding of a group of guys I admire and trust will again in 2012 have that same internal fire and pride to again take us on another glorious ride. It is a ride I will dream and relish until mid-February when we can start it all over again.
It still stings like a barb twisted deep within me. Still has that poison coursing through me reminding me of the down turned faces and absence of smiles when the final card was dealt. I am slowly easing that barb out of my heart and replacing it with a new zeal and zest for the revival of these Rays again in the Spring of 2012. This wound will heal, the pain will subdue and again in a few months, we will fall in love with the game and this motley crew of Rays….and do it all over again.