Luke Scott-Motivational Rays Republic Speaker
I truly have to say it, I like the brash style displayed recently by new Tampa Bay Rays Designated Hitter Luke Scott. Some will say his recent Red Sox quotes went beyond the usual brash and pointed commentary that any usual Major League Baseball player will mutter. But didn’t he say bluntly state what most of us in the Rays Republic have come to know as fact from 1998 until 2008. Red Sox Nation arrogance ran rampant within the confines of Tropicana Field before the Rays squashed the red beating hearts in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. Before that moment, we were never considered the “team to beat” by Red Sox Nation. In that one moment, the momentum of confidence and commitment seemed to shift suddenly towards the Rays side of the rivalry fulcrum.
And whereabouts in Scott’s banter and rant did anything untrue rear its ugly head. Sure his voracious comments were a bit pointed, but competition and confidence breeds that sort of ramblings. And Scott has witnessed more than a few seasons of playing in the highly charged emotions that come with playing in the AL East. I truly think Scott said what has been sequestered deep inside most of the Rays Republic’s guts for so long, and got the attention of everyone in baseball, not just the vocal and vindictive Red Sox Nation Army So now at least one Rays player’s true feelings are open for all to see, wonder who else in the Rays Clubhouse has these same volatile emotions churning in their gut.
I would be the last person you would ever consider “timid”, but the reality was I did take more than I gave from the Boston faithful in our earlier seasons. I can attest to letting more than a few raspy Red Sox comments bounce off of me because we had not “walked that walk yet” aka the playoffs. Back then I know I gave an extra ounce of respect to the Red Sox Nation’s fans that came into Tropicana Field basically because we (the Rays) had not ventured into that sacred October dance. Now that scenario is null and void.
Of course the first factoid out of any self-respecting Red Sox fan would be they have more titles, even a World Series title while the Rays missed their chance in 2008. True, but the Rays also do not have over 100 seasons of baseball to thrust our chests out about, and over the course of the last 4 MLB seasons the Rays have definitely put together more post seasons and more wins in the regular season. Think about that one for a long moment Bean town fans.
Now I am not proclaiming we are the ” team to beat”, I am announcing it. To get to the playoffs from now on, you have to win in Tropicana Field. You will have to post a winning slant in the seasonal series and either put your foot on our necks or pay the consequences. Gone are the days of the timid and inexperienced Rays. 2012 will bring a more seasoned Rays crew that are eager and anxious to send more than a few more corks skyward towards the Trop’s Teflon roof. This is no longer your older brother’s Rays team, there is a new motivational sheriff in town and his name is Scott….Luke Scott.
No longer can Tropicana Field be considered, “Fenway South” where Red Sox unis and caps outnumbered the home folks. The Rays trademark cowbells now drown out overblown and arrogant “Let’s Go Red Sox” chants along with countless Boston baseball biblical facts which now fall upon deaf Rays Republic ears. The revolution has ended, and we are the home team now….and forever. Now, the Rays Republic has grown a pair, and can stand toe-to-toe with facts, figures and banners to prove we have arrived, and take our share of future titles and playoffs spots.
Sure Scott has a lingering history of being a bit abrasive, a bit of a vocal bully as it were, but maybe that is what this Rays teams needs. Maybe it is time for this team to transform into a squad that takes the mantra “No more Mr Nice guy” and begins to turn it up a notch, go for that ceremonial jugular and feast upon the weak and wicked. Maybe it is time for this Rays squad to become more evil, mean and nasty both on and off the field like their fellow Nor’eastern brethren.
Maybe here in our 15th Rays season it is time for the Rays Republic to remind themselves the Trop is our home turf and we should defend it’s honor. Maybe it took someone like Scott to bellow to the heavens and remind us we do not play in “Fenway South”. That St. Petersburg, Florida is a great travel destination where “opposing team’s winning chances go to die”. Maybe it is finally time for us to take our Southern hospitality and charm and stow it away for not only our Boston brethren who used to berate and basically us weak and worthless to eat those words as they sulk out of the Trop after another Boston loss.
Maybe Scott was the one Rays player’s voice needed to put that pronounced exclamation point back into our destiny of reclaiming our insurgence back into the spotlight in the AL East. So what if the MLB instituted a possible additional post season slot, the Rays are playing for the gold, not the bronze.
Maybe Scott reminded us that the AL East competition starts now, in the Spring Training where the entire division rests on the west coast of Florida. Maybe his small seed of assertiveness will spawn and escalate throughout the next few months, finally maturing and vested come October. I am beginning to like Scott more than you can imagine, but then again, I am a Renegade.