Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
During the last two Tampa Bay Rays home stands, I have been amazed and laughing daily at some of the stages of image metamorphosis that has transpired to Rays leftie starter David Price’s cartoon image. I decided on this first day of the 2010 All-Star break to go back in time a bit and try and pull out the photos and images of the changing Price bobblehead over the past few weeks and try to construct a time line of the changes that has made this one section of Tropicana Field a “must see” before every Rays game.
I am seated not more than 35 feet from the figurine’s pristine image , so I have gotten a pretty straight shot at most of the creative handy work done on the image. But it has become a great game day adventure to try and foresee the imagination and the creative talents of Rays long reliever Andy Sonnanstine as he daily morphed the Price bobblehead promotion sticker every game.
It has been one of the true pleasures of the last two home stands to nightly come in and see what has transpired along the Rightfield wall in Section 140.
I hope you enjoy the walk back into the mind of Sonnanstine, and the transforming of Price from a simple wall image, to an “All Star”. It all started with a simple gap-toothed smile upon the Price bobblehead on June 22nd, but it was only the tip of the artistic iceberg that would evolve over the next few weeks.
The first image of the gap-toothed smile was very subtle compared with the rest of the image arsenal Sonnanstine would devise over the next few weeks. Who would have guessed that Sonnanstine had this hidden talent,but we had seen glimmers of it before with the 2009 Dale Thayer mustache move during an InterLeague game against the Florida Marlins.
On June 23rd, the Price bobblehead got his first “mature” addition as Sonnanstine gave him his first full mustache, complete with an “Errol Flynn” flair. It was the first “facial hair” modification, but it certainly would not be the last time we saw an extra bit of facial growth upon the usually clean shaven Price bobblehead. This first image of facial hair got me thinking of the “Frito Bandito” cartoon commercial image I grew up with as a child
Then during the Rays afternoon game on June 24th against the San Diego Padres, Sonnanstine decided that Price needed a set of eye black under each eye to help the image reflect the glare away with a fly ball coming into the Rightfield corner. On this day,the eye black was not imprinted with a inspirational or symbolic gesture, but we knew the mind of Sonnanstine was not done yet.
During the Friday night game on June 25th, Sonnanstine gave us all a small deviation from the plan, but a great image as Price got to have a nasal strip attached to the bridge of his image’s nose to hopefully get him a bit more air while staying plastered on the RF wall. The white tape of the strip projected great off the image and could be seen quite well all the way over in the Visitor’s dugout area.
On June 26th, Sonnanstine let Price pay homage to his hometown a bit as he again applied a bit of eyeblack to the Price image during a Fox Saturday afternoon game against the Arizona Diamondbacks complete with a nice “615” area code imprinted inwhite on each piece of eyeblack. I thought it was great of Sonnantine to include this imagery today considering some of Price’s friends and relatives would be enjopying the game that day on a regional feed from Fox.
The on Sunday June27th during the last day of that first Rays home stand with the Price image in Rightfield, Sonnanstine decided to give him a little “intensity” and popped on a nice little Matt Garza chin hair onto the Price image on the same day Rays kid’s were getting their Evan Longoria bobblehead. In some ways, these daily facial hair changes might give Price an idea how he might look if he every let any facial hair dominant his face.
So with the Rays on a road trip, the Price bobblehead was moved to the left side of the Rightfield wall access point and when the team arrived back home on July 5th, he was joined by a Matt Garza future promotional bobblehead smiling away to his right. But it was not the end of the metamorphosis of the Price image. Far from over.
When the Rays came home on July 5th to play a critical three game series against the Boston Red Sox, Sonnanstine got the day off right with deciding to attach a set of glasses to the Price bobblehead that evening. It definitely make the tension go down a bit in the stands as we all enjoyed Price’s new accessory. The video on the top of the blog is also a daily video transcript of the transformation of the Price bobblehead image on this day.
For some reason, I did not have a video card in my camera on July 6th, but I hope I can give an adequate description of that day’s Price addition. Today the Price image got a set
of whited-out eyes. Not sure of the intent or the reasoning, but it was a bit wild and crazy of Sonnantine to completely white-out Price’s eyes on this day’s image change.
But I did remember my camera video card on July 7th, and it was the beginning of a small transitional period of daily facial hair changes again for the Price bobblehead. It all started with a pretty well trimmed mustache and starter-kit goatee. Actually seemed to fit Price’s face, and who knows, maybe this might be a future Price addition to his baseball persona.
If the rest of this week’s transformation, Sonnanstine went a bit more subtle in his next addition (July 8th) only adding some extended sideburns that came down into the Price bobblehead’s current beard and goatee and filled in a bit more at the chin region with some facial additives. Little did we know that the whole thing was going to be a time elaspe image of Price in full 1970’s glory. On the July 8th image, the beard got a bit fuller and the sideburns more visual. It was becoming apparent that Price’s bobblehead was getting his groove on now.
But Sonnanstine had also gotten wiser to my daily photos and images of him tinkering and adding to his Price artistic display. He began to make his daily changes before the Rays fans were granted entry into the seating bowl, and this was the last time I would catch him doing his daily “magic” upon the Price bobblehead image.
On July 9th, Price’s transition went straight into full beard mode, and we definitely got a chance to see what the leftie might look like with a full face full of facial hair. It was kind of funny how the image had materialized from a simple series of facial hair, to a full blown beard and sideburns now. What you could not see without a telephoto lens was the nice set of gold earring Sonnanstine gave Price on that Friday night’s image. I got this close up shot as I was waiting for the stage to be set up for the Vanilla Ice Concert.
But on Saturday night (July 10th), we got the biggest surprise of the week as Price had grown overnight a glowing 1970’s afro that would have made member of that decade’s Pittsburgh Pirates green with envy. It was the biggest change yet in the Price image, and we still had one more day to go before Price’s bobblehead would be presented again to Rays fans 14 and under. With this burst of new hair upon the Price image, it seemed as if there was no where else to go with the facial elements of the image.
And just as it seems we had hit the top of the facial food chain with Sonnanstine’s renditions on the Price bobblehead, it was gone. On Sunday July 11th, the Price image was again adorned with eye black for the afternoon contest, but his time Sonnanstine play homage to his Rays teammate by simply adding the words “All Star” to the eye black pieces. And with Price going to the mound on Tuesday night as the American League starting pitcher, I was a loud and proud send-off for Price to the 81st All-Star game in Anaheim,California.
Hope you enjoyed the photos of the metamorphosis of David Price’s bobblehead over the past two Rays home stands. Sonnanstine was the winning pitcher on the Rays Sunday conclusion before the All-Star break. During his on-the-field interview Sonnanstine was asked if he was going to do the same with the Garza bobblehead image as he has done with Price’s following the Rays return to Tropicana Field after the road trip.
Sonnanstine remarked that he would have to think about it and see how many days we have in the next home stands before the Garza bobblehead was presented to the fans. Got to tell you Sonny, you will have 14 Rays home games before that August 15th date that Garza’s bobblehead will reach the Rays fans hands. Maybe we might have 14 days of Garza metamorphosis too. If that happens, I will be more than glad to let all of you see the changes.
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