Prior to the fifth inning of last night’s “rubber match” against the New York Yankees I got to sit down and do a short 1-on-1 interview with an Cleo award winning icon.
No, it was not actress Kate Hudson, but it was someone we have gotten to know and have enjoyed watching for their lighthearted humor in their classic television commercials.
I had the honor to take about five minutes with Victor,the Caveman and we chatted in the newly painted vibrant orange Checker’s Bullpen Cafe during the top of the inning about life, art and the constant similarities of fame and recognition (or that was the idea).
Rays Renegade: Victor, thank you for taking the time during this thrilling game tonight to chat with me. It is amazing that you can give me some of your valuable time today to chat here in this great setting just off the Rays Bullpen area. So what do you think of the Rays home? It does have some wild things about it.
Victor: First off, let me thank the Tampa Bay Rays and their cowbell wielding fans for the opportunity to take in such a great game environment and check out this techno 1970’s style indoor stadium. It is amazing that it is always 72 degrees in this white dome. And it has a Teflon coating like the paint on my Corvette, and you can see the bright sunlight through the top. Simply Amazing! But why is it tilted? Did someone not put a firm foundation in one end?
Rays Renegade: Well, Victor, thank you for that. It is our home, even with it imperfections. It is actually a economic factor put into the original design of 6.5 degree tilt in the building to recoup some of the construction and decreases the volume of air under the dome by 16.8 million cubic feet by taking a lean towards the outfield fences. It is said to save massive amount of energy and electric because of the funky shape. Plus this structure is built to withstand winds up to 115 mph during a hurricane
Victor: Hey, I dig funky man, but this place is just insane with the catwalks and the Rays tank, and even that guy in the Centerfield Street crashing through the building by the taco stand. Speaking of funky, you ever see me dance moves video. Classic Jazz hands moves man, you would love it! Oh, and check out that video of me on “the View” with the ladies. Whoopie was loving me that day.
Rays Renegade: Uh, yeah. The Rays Touch Tank is actually in conjunction with the Florida Aquarium over in Tampa to let kids and adults get the joy of petting over 20 real live cownose rays without fear of the bards or shuffling your feet in the sand. I am surprised they did not let you up into the catwalks during BP to just survey the place from a different angle? You know the center bottom of the cupola is about 225 feet above the playing surface.
Victor: Dude, that was not going to be in the cards. I am not the kind of guy to go swinging up in the rafters. Man is meant to be on terra firma, not up in the fabricated steel of a lop-sided building. But anyways, did you see those fake and negative drawings on the wall at the Outback Steakhouse over in the Third Base Food Court?
Rays Renegade: What are you talking about? I thought those were Aborigines drawing depicting life in the Australian outback country. Do they have a negative imagery we do not know about? and why do you know that again? Come on Victor, you know something here.
Victor: First of all, just because I have long hair and a beard doesn’t make me out to be a scientist or master in the ways of archeology here. I put in my long hours at the salt mines working just like the rest of Tampa Bay. And by the way, I am a practicing Paleolithic investigator that specializes in the art and culture of the “wild men” theory brought about in the 17th Century by Thomas Hobbes. I dig his theory on materialism.
Rays Renegade: Oh, you mean the British philosopher Thomas Hobbes. I never knew that the art of philosophy can bring about a job description, but I guess anything is possible. So you dabble in the fine arts and ancient cave drawing? How is it you got to know a thing or two about that Era of life?
Victor: What is with the sarcasm there buddy! Hey, I am someone who is investigating the meaning of life “without civilization” that Hobbes taught back about the time of the English Civil War in 1642. That during the Middle Ages these “wild men” were often unshaven and grew massive beards and long hair to define who they were in society. And that their unusual appearance led to them wielding sticks and club for protection and their survival in cave dwelling was for safety, not pleasure. It was a dark time to be different.
Rays Renegade: Sorry, did not mean to rattle your cage about your ancestry. But what about those drawing in the Outback booth again? And why do they seem so “fake” or unoriginal to you?
Victor: Not meaning to be so over dramatic, but that old commercial series we did for such a long time will not die. And I have spawned some trust and security issues because of it. Again, thank you for not asking about that advertising part of my life.
Okay, the drawing are really not badly racial or utterly fake in nature, they just portray the “corporate” settlers of the region eating Blooming Onions and Steak N ‘Srooms instead of cooking and killing their prey like their ancestors. It is another example of this advertising mumbo jumbo to look like an authentic ritual drawing that is basically a subconscious advertising tool by the corporation that spawned the Outback name. It is a symbolic drawing of people eating……..fast food.
Rays Renegade: Wow! I usually come to a baseball game to watch history unfold, not explore the deep. dark secret of Corporate America. I guess I will look at that wall a bit differently from now on. Thank you for that. So, have you been around this area before?
Victor: Well, I had distant relatives who lived here a long time ago and spoke highly about the seafood and the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but this is my first time outside my area of the country. Back where I live, we do not get these balmy days with a shower in the afternoon and evenings. It actually has been a wild time seeing a sunset to the west, and a lightning storm to the east. Amazing stuff, and you guys hide beneath a dome from it all.
Rays Renegade: Okay. That is a whole ball of wax in itself. The “Dome or no Dome theories”. With all of that in mind. Victor where do you cal home, you know lay your head at night and look up at the stars and dream?
Victor: Oh, there is that sarcastic wit I was told about with you. Are you trying to imply that I was born in a cave somewhere amongst the Catskill Mountains of New York or that I am a descendant someone in the hills of Kentucky or Tennessee, or that I have a striking similarity to some of the fans here tonight wearing pinstripes?
Rays Renegade: No, that is not my intention, but since you brought it up, you are not from the region of New York or New Jersey then? You strike me more as a guy from South Philly, maybe even from Chinatown. So where does Victor call home?
Victor: I live in the metropolis of New York City, but I am not a guy who lives in the Bronx, Brooklyn or even Queens. Because of the continuing success of the advertising campaign and their residual checks, I can afford to live life to the fullest. Why don’t you just call me a Soho kind of guy, you know the bohemian, the relic, the “caveman”. I live on the Lower East side, but I am a closet Mets fan.
Rays Renegade: Man, chill. I am just seeking the truth, nothing else. I just felt that you were hiding something from us here. The truth shall set you free Victor. Dude why are you seeming so paranoid right now? Do you feel like someone is watching you?
Oh My Gosh. Dude, you are on camera right now on the Jumbotron. So with this I have to ask, have you ever won anything at a sporting event before tonight?
And at that defining moment, the Interview was definitely over for the night. Not because Victor or myself were totally at odds with each other with our questions and answers, but as he had just looked up after my last statement and he saw he was nightly winner of the “GEICO Fan of the Game”.
And with that he went a bit hyper on me and began to run around the Cafe area towards the playing field and he eventually flew over the 3 foot blue wall and streaked towards the GEICO advertisement in right field. At that point he flung his fists in rage at the plastic GEICO sign covering the outfield wall and fell to the turf in a heap of frustration and defeat before security began to storm towards him.
It seems that the pressures of being both a caveman and a celebrity had done its part on him tonight. As the security guards took a hold of him and were physically dragging him from the field all I could hear him mutter over and over again was the phrase “Why could they have not just stayed with the animal theme. Why us!”
So as they lead him off the field and towards a holding cell deep under the cavernous walls of Tropicana Field I wonder what would become of Victor. As he came off the field you could notice a distinctive change in his appearance and in his demeanor. He spoke briefly of the demons and resentments within him, but was this a cry for help, or a reassurance of the way his people have been singled out in recent years.
He had become more primal, more like, a caveman. And it was a pity. I still had a few interesting questions on his local appearances in this area, and what is in his immediate future. But for right now the future might be a little chat with the fine uniformed members of the St. Petersburg Police Department,and the Rays management team, then depending on the outcome of that chat, maybe a short ride to another location.
I hope to someday get a post-incident interview with him to talk about the event and clear the air once and for all about the unusual behavior that bared more resemblance to his ancestors than he ever imagined. There was so much more to him than just that short interview. The commercials only show a small side of his people and their struggle for acceptance within our society. For Victor right now, life is more like a reality show set to a Sit-Com soundtrack instead of living large and in charge.