Results tagged ‘ 2010 playoffs ’

I Have a Fever, and There is No Cure!

 


 

I was sitting at the outside bar at Ferg’s, a regular Rays watering hole just beyond the shadow of Tropicana Field right before heading into the 72 degree confines for Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series and an old college friend of mine, who is an ex- Army corpsman and a current St. Pete Fire Department EMT told me I looked like liquid garbage sitting on that wooden stool. Always nice to hear such sweet nothings like that from a cute brunette in a uniform, but instantly I became alarmed by her observation.

But deep down, I knew she was right. I was suffering from something that has been constantly growing deep inside myself for the last few days. It has begun to start overtaking a huge chunk of my life with regards to the normal every day activities. My friend turned a empathetic ear towards me and sat there quietly listening for a few minutes ramble on about the weird changes that had been happening recently to my body and mind.

Of my enduring wild bouts of sudden insurmountable insomnia that had me watching replays of Rays games on MLB.TV until 5 am, or about the increasing night sweats after a few bad Rays losses. Or even about the thoughts circling within my brain bringing me to a stage of insanity that routinely rings in my head after a recent close ballgame that could have gone either way. I told her how my reaction time to foul balls was uncommonly sloth-like instead of being like the usual human Venus flytrap.

She instantly began to humor me a bit and just sat there and nodded her head from time to time as I went on about the lack of concentration on thoughts that did not revolve around baseball, and the difficulty I was having prioritizing even simple events like laundry or eating lunch at the same time. That I turned my cellphone to silent to keep my little world secure from friends in Texas, Minnesota or New York from ruining my little Utopia right now.

 

I complained to her that for some odd reason, only three things seemed to matter to me right now. That I am impressed that my body is still doing routine tasks, but that they seemed more centered around what time the Tropicana Field gates will fly open at the Trop. She just sat there listening like a $200/hour personal shrink with a spoiled rich kid with social network anxiety problems on a overstuffed leather couch.

I even went as deep into it all as to tell her about my new found preoccupation with minimal issues like my special free parking place at the bike rack at the stadium, or my routine of biking to and from the stadium a certain way, and not deviating from that path a single step, even if there was a taxi or car in the way. I had gone into a unforeseen mode of superstition and daily routines I had not experienced for two years. I was down right going bonkers before her very eyes.

I rambled on about the way I was battling a huge bout of game time indecisions on the simple decisions like if I was going to have the Cuban sandwich, or got “hog-wild” and stack the loaded nachos with a bevy of jalapenos and hot sauce. My basic decision-making process was now being bogged down by a sense of internal mental fatigue that made me not even want to consider anything out of the ordinary, or remotely new right now in my day-to-day routines or game day patterns.

That in the bitter end, even after a huge win lately, I was battling a huge mountain of fatigue and restlessness that had never entered my life before. I felt like something was trying to invade and take over my body. That a foreign object or beings was infiltrating my soul and pushing the usual Renegade to the curb.

Through all of this she just sat there listening and mentally jotting down the symptoms and the causes to give me a quick spot-on diagnosis that people who work as E M T’s have to do almost instantly so many times daily on their job. You could almost see the smoke and wheels turning in her mind as she was eliminating mental illnesses and adding psychological responses and placebo cause and effects that could be the ultimate source of this epidemic that has bogged down my mental and physical being. Then she began to clear her throat and made a announcement of what I needed to do right now:

“You have to understand that this aliment has been around for a very long time. The cause of your problem is not solely physical in nature, but can be processed through your body at an astounding rate that will boggle your usual senses and day-to-day routine abilities. That your internal clock right now is being sped up to an alarming rate by a visual and environmental stimulation brought on by your own emotional pull towards the subject matter at hand.”

She then laughed and smacked me in the noggin a few times. She still had not fully revealed what was her final diagnosis. She just kept teasing me with it, knowing that I might not be able to handle the truth, or maybe was waiting for my nerves and the mind games that were already playing in my head to swirl a bit longer and turn me into a mental bowl of mush. She was sitting there trying to see if my orbiting energized electrodes could pick out the aliment all by itself before revealing the cosmic truth at last. She was truly amazed that I could not figure this simple aliment out all by myself without outside help.

“Darling, you really still can not figure this illness out by yourself?
You, my dear friend are suffering from a odd-cultural ailment that has plagued man every since the ancient cavemen first picked up two sticks and began fighting with the assembled tribe watching them. You are suffering an urbanite-based version of battle fatigue that effects people who follow a particular sports team and sometimes lives and breathes on their seasonal outcomes. You are beginning to show extreme signs of a acute case of Post-Partum Playoff Disorder”


And the news immediately shocked me. Here I was a strong-willed guy who had never fallen into that unforeseen trap of competitive silliness for years while ademently following my local team. But for some reason during this point in every season I fell face-first into the unobvious abyss and uncoiled for some reason. She saw my face suddenly go blood-less and turn a odd shade of off-white for a moment until I had that look of a man suddenly saved by the grace of god, or maybe by a errant throw by the shortstop to first. I had finally got it. I finally understood what was going on, and it all made total sense to me now.

 

Still there was a missing overall theme to the barstool prognosis. There was a missing piece of the final aliment puzzle that made me feel mildly empty inside at that moment. What was the final cure, or was there even a known cure? Could this be treated with kindness, or did I have to go through a rapid decompression of emotions and thoughts to again function like a normal human being? Or did I just have a fever for some extreme Cowbell? She sat there with a sly smile and a simple look on her face that told me I had already seen the answer.


“Think about it this way. Last season the tide and the final result of a possible playoff push and result was decided early on in last month of the 2009 season. The stress and the emotional attachment could be stretched out over the course of the season with no sudden pushes and floods of emotional attachment until the final conclusion and resolution in October. The symptoms could be masked with ease. What you need to do now is get up out of your seat, turn around three times and do three cheers for pizza, then do a rowdy rendition of the “Chicken Dance” for me.”


I sat there for a moment before rising from my seat and slowly remembering the moves of that classic dance and began to perform for a few moments. And you want to know something, it suddenly felt better.


“For the last few months you have been sitting a bit more idle in your seat, not celebrating like the rest of the Rays Republic. You have internalize the stress for some reason. You have taken your outer fandom and turned it within yourself forgetting your love for celebrating aloud and with vigor by showing your pride with this team. But last, but not least, you have to again not hinge every emotion and thought on the outcome of these next 48 hours. Life goes on without the Rays sweetie, and so should you!”


And with that prolific oratory, we both began to have one of those deep belly-busting laughs that you can only have with great friends. She saw that the color was again rising within me, coming back into my tanned skin and that my face was slowly ebbing towards its usual peach-color. Maybe I just needed to hear it from someone else. Maybe I needed a reassurance that others were going through this same mode of illness. Maybe I did just need more cowbell in a sense. I then asked what we should call this odd aliment that had taken over my life and my entire thought process for so long.

I wanted to attach some kind of astronomical name or even a cause and effect process for this illness that had caused so much sleep-less nights and sloth-like days. I needed to somehow throw a symbolic verbiage up in my mind to get a solid label on it all, and then finally move forward. The words out of her mouth seemed to come out in slow motion and my eyes and ear hung on every syllable and vowel until it finally wrestled in my eardrums.


“It’s very simple what you got………..You got Playoff Fever and you will not be the first to show these symptoms…or the last It is an illness of the Fall Classic. Everyone gets some form of it, you just look it to an extreme level. So let’s get off this barstool, the Trop’s gates are about to open!”

Ye Tale is Spun from the Yarn of Yawley

 


 

It has all the makings of a dramatic made-for-Television movie. The type of highly emotional and civic minded chest thumping cinematic presentation that always seems to surface just as the Major League Baseball begins to close down its regular season. Then like a flash of lightning, this same media power promotes their post season edition of grandeur on the grass with their localized Northern kinfolk firmly established at the forefront edge of post season glory. The type of urban metropolis superiority cinematic piece that pieced together in haste as the two Northern giants begin to assemble their courageous troops for playoff supremacy.


But there is a problem with that usual Northern homage to greatness in 2010. The usual two titans of the Northeast are not the centerpieces of this year’s playoff drama, but their distant cousin, that poor Southern band of souls are again trying to rob their post seasonal exclusive party by winning when they should be cowering in the corner paying homage to their Northern big brothers. Again these bonded cousins from another Mother have again risen (like the South) to again fluster and bewitch the very media networks that pray and plea each April that metro giants like Boston and New York can survive into late October.

In their last three contests, the younger brothers to the South have fallen upon dark moments, besieged by the uncharacteristic dismantling of their hurlers galore to give their Northern cousins located in the town of the Beans, a glimpse at redemption and a viable reason to again bestow hope amongst the discarded hot dog wrappers and beer cups, that an epic collapse might befallen their Southern cousins and again put fate within their grasp.

Now there is a glimmer of faith and reprisal that if they can corral and tame their Southern cousin in the last two meetings between the two this week, the boys from Beantown can again be in the thick of the hunt and pounce upon and beyond their Southern brethren to again seek their baseball destiny. And with the unevenly successful outing of their southpaw du Jour, and even with the plethora of ducks on the pond that night, they used the winds and the long deep ball to again thrust their Southern cousins into the barrels of molasses and send them to bed dreaming of disaster instead of delight.

Right now the awakening soul of this proud city is again thumping their chest and proving the encouraging wordage and crowd carnage needed to bring hope, faith and last gasps of rejoice to those who gaze upon the last ditch effort of hope for this great Red Sox Nation. Patrons who threw off their oxygen masks after the final ground out and proclaimed their team fully back in high spirits and seeking another combustible shot of redemption tonight.

As their Southern cousins recoiled and reexamined their own plan of attack of sending their own southpaw to the mound tonight to crush the rebellion and ease the noise, the patrons of this borough of the baked bean rejoiced and celebrated upon Yawley Way late into the morning seeing that their forth nights are not pitch black and darkened, but that a faint shimmer of pale light has beamed upon the every changing darkness because of the burly bats of their might Red Sox crew. For the once blind patrons of the Red Sox have now seen the dim flashes of a percentage of a chance, and grasp that morsel as if it was Russian caviar.

 

Even though the hard fought road to the playoffs has been reopened by the defeat of the Southern cousins, the Red Sox must again counter again and again in two more contests before they can fully proclaim their right to journey towards a glimpse of a final playoff destination. For now the curtain has been opened, and the bean town faithful have seen the inner workings of the magician and know what it will take to pounce upon and beyond this young Southern cousin’s own journey.


Once again the Southern cousins have found themselves sandwiched between the irritable giants with little chance of extra breathing room on either side of them. Any extended slip, unexpected slide backwards will surely evoke more celebration and anxious moments for either of their Northern kinfolk. The proud Southern brethren have to reconstruct their modus operandi and commit again to what got them to this point in their season, or surrender to the increasing sound of sox upon the ground coming closer and closer.

Four weeks, 28 days is the length of time they need to fend off and survive within the two titans grip. 26 games worth of sweat, strains and moral imperative has to be weighed, measured and precisely calculated before the final tally is seen on October 4th‘s eve.

The impending contests of these three amigos separated by their will, luck and courage will battle to the last out, all hoping that when the dust finally settles, they are firmly situated in a seat towards their playoff destiny. Many have begun to count out the second Northern brother, because injuries has ravished their roster and depleted their confidence. But a new generation of Beantown bombers have resurfaced and shown that this is far from over, far from concluded. Even now.

 

First Acknowledgment by Rays of the Playoffs


 

Leave it to the Tampa Bay Rays to make me look like a fibber. For some reason I was given the end-around, double clutch fake woohoo babied about the Rays Post season ticket packages. This is not the first time the Rays have tried to swerve my judgment or even taken me down the path least followed, but this time I thought the source was secure. So it was a total surprise today that I got a treasured packet within my mailbox today from 100 Tropicana Drive. And when I opened it, I swear a heard a chorus of rowdy angels singing off in the distance.


For today was the day I was to hold within my sweating fingers the first acknowledgment by the Rays that we might wander into the Playoff territory again in 2010. So it was no wonder that I quickly tore that white envelope’s end off and gathered in the dark blue folder with Rays icons Jeff Niemann. Matt Garza David Price and James Shields on its cover. I find ot kind of ironic that the four pitchers posed on this folder’s cover might just be the Rays starting four in the postseason.

But what was more remarkable was the inserted invoice for the Postseason in my little seat in Section 138 was going to cost me $950 little George Washington’s with a $ 25 Service Fee…..Really a service fee that high? In the end, getting a seat not even 7 feet from the playing surface for less than $ 1,000 is extremely rare, and one of my cherished possessions in life. And I like how being a Rays Season Ticket holder has gotten me almost a 20 percent discount for the ALDS and ALCS game, but no such luck getting a discount for the MLB-controlled World Series tickets.

But still, it is pretty cool that the possible 10 games (plus 2 possible tie-breaker games) the Rays could play in the 2010 post season will once again be mine and all mine for its entirety. And again we have been given the double fingers crossed promise by the Rays of additional seats in the 300 sections of the stadium with the number of seats granted equaling our normal Season Ticket seats. For me, that would be one additional seat for $ 590. But as in 2008, the deadline for my little George Washington’s to wander into the Rays money safe is by the deadline of Wednesday, September 8th, which is less than 19 calendar days from today.

Why couldn’t the Rays have had a longer period to get our funds deposited into their bank like say by Friday, September 24th when the Rays begin their final home stand with the Seattle Mariners in town. It would still give the team time to place their fingers on their keyboards and print and mail the post season ticket strips to their fan base, plus they could open the general public seating tickets on that Monday, 27th, still during the Rays final three game of their home schedule against the Baltimore Orioles.

But the Rays were more than adamant in their postseason packet that if you fail to register or send your full payment in by Wednesday, September 8th, you might be lost in the Rays general public ticket system trying to buy a seat for a playoff series. This is their quote straight out of the packet:

In order to purchase your postseason ticket packet, full payment must be received no later than Wednesday, September 8th,2010. After that time, the location of your invoice will no longer be available and the opportunity to purchase postseason ticket packages can no longer be guaranteed. Commemorative postseason ticket stock will not be available for accounts paid after the deadline.

But on a happier note, I do have the dates of the postseason games in the American League and will post them below so we all can request the day off, or re-schedule that dentist appointment or whatever. Starting times will be announced at a future date.

 

The American League Divisional Series :


Game #1 will be held on Wednesday, October 6
Game #2 will be held on Thursday, October 7th.
The teams will have Friday, October 8th as a travel day to the opposing team’s city.

Game # 3 will be held on Saturday, October 9th

Game #4 (If needed) will be played on Sunday, October 10th.
If a fifth game is needed to finish the ALDS, The involved teams will have Monday, October 11th as a travel day.

Game #5 will be held on Wednesday, October 12th,2010 to finish the series.

The American League Championship Series:

Game # 1 will start on Friday, October 15th
Game #2 will be played on Saturday, October 16th.
The teams will have Sunday, October 17th as a travel day between cities.

Game #3 will be played on Monday, October 18th
Game #4 will be played on Tuesday, October 19th

Game #5 (if needed) will be played on Wednesday, October, 20th

If one team has not garnered a series advantage by this point, the teams will have Thursday, October 21st as a travel day.

Game #6 will be played on Friday, October 22nd

Game #7 (If needed) will be played on Saturday, October 23, 2010 to determine the American League participant in the World Series

The 2010 World Series:

Game #1 will be held on Wednesday, October 27th

Game #2 will be held on Thursday, October 28th

The teams will have Friday, October 29th to fly to the American League city

Game #3 will be held on Saturday, October 30th

Game #4 will be held on Sunday, October 31st

Game #5 (If needed) will be played on Monday, November 1st
If the World Series is not decided by the October 31st date, the teams will again have Tuesday, November 2nd as a travel day back to the National League city.

Game #6 will be held on Wednesday, November 3rd

Game # 7 (If needed) will be held on Thursday, November 4th to determine the 2010 World Series Champion.

Hope all this information is helpful to Rays fans who will want to also be included in the 2010 Rays playoff fun. Hope to see all of you at the ballpark, and look forward to cheering for our Rays this postseason.

 

 
 

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