Flirting with the Lady


Steve Nesius/ AP

Everyone within the baseball circles have met this groupie. She is one of those obsessed fan-types that can either cling to your team for a single game, or even make a run by staying attached at the hip with the entire team for about a week to 10 days and make everyone around her feel like a million dollars.

She has been known to spark parties or bring down all levels of excitement with a total loss of emotion, confidence and even a sense of what is happening at the time. She is one tough lady,and for that reason right now, the Tampa Bay Rays need to keep her tight and happy right now.

I mean this lady in the past week or so has taken even this team to the highs of a 4-game road trip where even before the last out, you did not know the outcome of the game, to getting smacked so hard with a reality check all they could do is watch as a miracle 18th Perfect Game unfolded in front of the team as they assembled at the dugout rail.

Some say the team was gracious during the event and down-right classy in their moves and statements following that game. I am thinking it was more shock that the lady decided right before game time to wander over to the other dugout and got real chummy with White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and his team.

And even after the Rays did leave the Windy City with the series victory not in their hands, this fickle lady hitched another ride with the Rays up to Toronto where she again showed them promise and excitement before finally teasing them in the last game with another unusual loss.

Steve Nesius / AP

And at this time of the year this lady can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. And right now she is straddling the fence so tight she might get splinters before the week is out. But she also can be a bit unpredictable even changing sides along with her friend Mo at any moment within the game. Some might not call her fickle for what she can do to put a false sense of security into so many, then pull the rug out without notice or reason, but that is just how she is, and she is fine to live her life that way, and treat people with a bi-polar kind of  excitement and sorrow.

I know I have eluded to her name for a long time in this blog. Maybe that is to save some special treatment from her. But maybe it is because right now with 2 3rds of the season already gone, I think we need her more than ever right now. But you got to admit, the last road trip was billed as “the most important of the season” for many reasons. There was also talk of it being ” the road trip that might define the season.”

That in itself is a bit daunting if you think about it. And this lady had a huge part to play in how it was going to be remembered. But those phrases also showed a bit of fear and  a sense of impending doom because this lady has not been firmly in our camp this season. Oh, she has wandered in and out, and made for some exciting stories and adventures, but she has not taken roost within the Trop., and has not adorn the team as she did in 2008.

I mean last night against the New York Yankees in a home stand some people are also throwing out the “must have” logo because of our 5 games against divisional foes, people are already climbing the seats just to see if she is again attached to this team. Last night she was not in our side of the stadium, but she was here in all her glory. But I think for one night she might have been caught up in the spotlight of seeing Kate Hudson’s smile beaming over the rail of the Visitor’s dugout. But tonight is another story. 

I think she will give the Rays the final answers within the next few days. She will either smile on them for victories, or just bat her sad eyes at us in defeat. But everyone in the stadium is subject to her charms and attitude. She is as addictive as Swine Flu right now, but as deadly as a Black Widow spider.

But her poison can cure as well as kill. I think it is time I introduce all of you to this lady. She is everywhere, maybe even within your team right now, but she spreads herself thin some days, but other it seems either you or your competitor has her firmly in their grasp.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word karma as: “The force generated by a person’s actions to determine the natures of the person next existence.” Now I am not a huge believer in the Eastern mystic or religious philosophies, and I am surely not versed with the realms of Buddhism/Hinduism, but I can believe in that essence of something beyond us making some of these wins and losses happen right now.

Steve Nesius / AP

I am not going to ramble into the college teaching of existentialism, which is basically the philosophy of individual existence and personal responsibility for free will in the absence of certain knowledge of what is right and wrong.  I barely remember the words much less the actions and reactions of the realm of self-awareness that holds doing the right thing as a high regard. But what else can you put into words to say what is going on right now with the Rays?

Why not hit the realization that something beyond our simple mind’s eye could be playing with their destiny cards and deciding the Rays fate this season. Is it so out there to think that karma doesn’t exist, and if it did, why not be used by a team like the Rays that play the game the right way and always strive for more day in, and day out on the field.  But  if you believe in good karma, you have to also believe in bad karma, it is  the natural balance in this world.

And could that be the only reason for some of the things that happened in the game last night? We all know that  at a point last night if Carlos Pena had hit one over the fence with two men on last night it would have brought the Rays back to within one run, or a 7-6 game at that point. But karma decided she sis not want it to go like that, so she made Pena do his thing by striking out and di
sappointing the home crowd.

I never said she was a good woman, sometimes the serpent in her can just be….well evil. But maybe the Rays were not playing up to the karma gods attention and they were again in awe of the guys in gray last night. So they decided to tweak the system a bit and throw in a money wrench by making the Rays show just how much they wanted it last night.

Did karma decide to wake the Rays up last night? Or will today’s game be the one that awakens the demon within karma? Well, since I am writing this before the game, it has yet to be played out upon the course of human events in this universe. But if I see karma in the stands, I am going to sit on her until she promises to stay with us until October.

Man, I am starting to talk like Rod Sterling.  But isn’t karma based on the basic cause and effect ritual of forces beyond our control?  Could the Rays have already gotten their allotment of karma-phala, or “fruits” from the mystical lady. Now that I am into this, I might as well try and explain a bit about my concept of karma.

You see, it was explained to me by a college professor in East-West Humanities that we as humans produce karma in fours ways in our daily lives: 1) through thoughts, 2) through words, 3) through actions that we perform ourselves, 4) through actions other do through our instructions. So there we go, we have the team complexed into a ball to submit their personal karma through item numbers 1-3, while Rays Manager Joe Maddon and his staff have the directive of item number 4, which is their game instruction to the team.

Steve Nesius / AP

Let me tell you right now I am spinning around in my blue seat trying to really get a grip on this unforeseen mystical power that we want to believe in and cherish it on our side. And maybe the Rays did have a huge burst of good karma in Kansas City and had a bit left over for the first few games in Toronto. But we might not have known we had a limited amount of this fruit, or we might not have picked it so fast, or so often this season. 

Today might be the day that the Rays will have to pool those “happy thoughts”. From this day forward, the Rays actually hold their destiny in their own hands the rest of the way through the season. With two series against divisional foes New York and Boston right here at home, the Rays can pick up ground and establish themselves again in 2009 as the team to watch out for the rest of the year. If not, it is going to be a long 60 games until the end of the season.

I am sorry, but I want to believe in karma and the belief system that good begets good…yada, yada, yada. But I have a bad agnostic streak that pops up every now and then. I know it is the Rays race to loose, and maybe this karma thing does have a great influence on the whole thing. But so does faith and belief in something, and it is not mired within religious boundaries. Heck, we could even throw the aspect of luck into this equation and maybe make more sense of it all.

We all know that James Shields has not been the luckiest pitcher this season. He has thrown more than a few awesome games that went down in flames in front of him without provocation this season. And he has also seen other starters have the showing of their season with him on the other side of the mound. But do we throw that all into a powdered mix of karma, faith, luck and determination and add the miracle elixir of destiny and fate to the cocktail, or do we just believe and hope for the best.

I do not know about you, but I am sitting here right now with three rabbit’s feet, playing “Good Luck Charm” by Elvis Presley on my Itunes, and carrying an amulet of Field Turf II taken from the carpet of Tropicana Field. I am not letting something invisible take control of this game. Not not me, I will fend off the trolls and goblins with my holy water made from the Colorado mountains and brewed in Golden, Colorado. Unless I drink it all.

I will wear my lucky Rays boxer shorts and that T-shirt I wore for 3 years playing football and watch this game knowing that my mojo for this team is good mojo and is worthy of the Rays. I will carry my new Talisman which I received from the Rays during “Championship Week” this season, and has been re-configured to fit my finger. I will rub that AL Championship replica ring until it becomes dingy and rounded, for that is my hope for the season.

So what if the mystical lady of karma is beginning to play a few tricks on us. So what if we are now seeing some of the dark karma come together and take us to task. It is the faith of people like myself and the rest of the Rays Republic that can make this destiny seem more like fate again. 

I might not be able to give Scott Kazmir any extra energy today, but I can send positive energy towards him and hope it isn’t intercepted by Derek Jeter or Nick Swisher.
We need these next two games to gather momentum before the Royals again take the field at Tropicana Field. For a great series ending here against the Yankees and a fine showing  with the Royals puts us back in the catbird seat. 

I will sleep with my head facing the north, spin three times before walking into the kitchen, whatever is considered good and responsive to get the aura angel back in our good graces. For I am just one fan, just a small piece of the cosmic karma universe that can send impulses and transmissions towards the heavens with good intentions for this team.

God, I hate talking about stuff like this because it give me the creeps it just might work.  But sometime you just have to think outside of the box and believe in things that you never did. I mean in 1970 when I was a kid, I never believed that cell phone would be smaller than a Buick. I also never believed we would have a Major League Baseball team within traveling distance to my home.

Steve Nesius / AP

Faith, trust, belief. That might be the three tools that will define the rest of this Rays season. But the rabbits foot and the music and the superstitions I have at games only add to the charm of believing 110 percent in the dream again. So here you go Karma. As fickle and as judgmental as you want to be this season, you can not doubt one thing……. this team is fun to watch even if you just sit back and relax.

So with that, it is 2 pm and the first pitch is still 5 hours away. Sit back karma and enjoy the ride. I have to do a bit of flirting right now with a special lady. She has to again believe in the Rays way and that this team can fulfill and surpass her expectations and ideals. And I do not have to sit there and remind her that if this nex
t 60 game ride is anything like 2008, she will have to buckle up and get ready for a wild and crazy time in which she is going to love from start to finish……trust me!



Rays – is that not the craziest thing about us baseball fans – really all sports fans – this belief in Karma, in luck, in this Lady. We all so very much want her to smile down on us, but she is cruel mistress. Just when we think she will accept the gift we offer she’ll snatch her hand away and leaves us staring at her back when she walks away. I hope she is on the side of your Rays tonight.


Karma is so wild and crazy sometimes, but the best thing about her is when she likes you………………she stays for a bit.
I am just hoping Karma again can see itself attached a sunburst and not a pinstripe………..but you never know.

Rays Renegade

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