Rays Finally Sporting Green Again on St. Patrick’s Day
Ever since the Rays public presentation in St. Petersburg’s Straub Park in November 2007, when the Rays revealed to the Rays Republic their new trend to dismantle the past Rays green and become a new with the Rays blue, we have been absent from the Grapefruit schedule on this one date.
But alas ( I always wanted to say that ) with a new decade sprung upon us, hopefully a new Rays tradition has blossomed as I foretold to the Rays Republic 10 days ago on Twitter, about the anticipated Rays headgear for this glorious day. For on that great day, Rays Clubhouse Manager Chris Westmoreland confirmed the wee scuttlebutt I had heard from Irish lad in the Rays Front Office that the Rays would embrace the green again this fine date.
And the tradition would return again in the glorious addition of a Rays Kelly Green cap with a white shamrock upon it nestled just to the bottom left of the Rays “TB” symbol on their cap.
And the Luck of the Rays on this fine day in 2010 would be better than the last time the Rays adorned the green back in 2007 when the last Green clad Rays squad lost 5-3 to the Cleveland Indians at Progress Energy Field . On that day, fine Irish names ( at least for 1 day) like Casey Fossum, Gary Glover, Tim Corcoran and Greg Norton graced the Rays Spring roster but could not bring home the victory.
But there was another time, and not so long ago that the Rays wore this same shade of Kelly Green, and it was amazing. The entire Rays staff and players donned Kelly Green uniforms on this date in 2002, and they did it both to celebrate the day, and to also support their local in-house charity, The Rays of Hope Foundation.
But during that special 2002 St Patrick’s Day game during the Namoli days, the Rays of Hope Foundation used this day to celebrate and entice the Rays faithful into giving from their hearts. On March 17,2002, every single member of the Rays organization from the Rays players and Coaches down wore a Kelly Green cap and jersey top especially fashioned for the occasion.
The uniform top and cap made a bold statement that day, and also was an instant collector’s item for the Rays fan base. But there was a catch. For the chance to own a piece of this special Rays history, you had to go on line at the team’s website and participate in a silent Rays auction bidding on the autographed cap and jersey you wanted from your favorite Rays player or Coach.
I know I did my part during the next week constantly submitting bids on three different jerseys and caps, finally winning two jerseys for my Rays collection.I ended up owning a jersey signed by Rays reliever Jesus Colome and Aubrey Huff jerseys to my budding Rays collection. It was a great item to add to my collection, and I was helping the Rays charity in their work around the Tampa Bay community with my purchase.
I have even worn them to Rays games the last several years and people are surprised that the team wore that bold green shade even once during their “green” days.
But I have a burning question today. Why didn’t the Rays current charity arm, The Rays Foundation not even think of reestablishing this 2002 Rays tradition when the Rays would be playing at home in Port Charlotte, Florida for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day?
Before the Rays two-year absence on this date, the team last played the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater on St. Patrick’s Day, and you know the Phillies were sporting their green uniforms proudly that day. And how nostalgic it would have been if the team again donned the green uniforms against the same Twins team they faced in 2002 wearing Kelly green uniforms.
I truly think it was a lost opportunity for the Rays Foundation to gather additional charitable funds and establish a secondary yearly auction idea with the team again poised to wear green upon their heads today. And the Rays Foundation could have easily gotten a substantial payday to put towards those 2010 charity goals, and maybe even surpass their 2010 expectations with such a event.
Back in 2002, both Majestic and New Era caps were on board when the Rays last held a St. Patrick’s Day auction, why could it have not worked again in 2010? It is not like The Rays Foundation has not done this type of charity autographed uniform auction fundraising.
The Rays Foundation has the experience in focusing on this same type of event since they are an active participant in the Rays online “Throwback Jersey” auctions held the last several years when the Rays wore either their own past Rays past colors, or those of former Tampa Bay area teams like the St. Petersburg Saints.
I am not going to say the Rays Foundation dropped the ball here because they might never have even picked it up in the first place. But I would have thought someone roaming around up on the Rays third floor offices would have approached such an idea, or even attempted to duplicate this extremely popular past event and also make some great coinage to support other charitable Rays Foundation endeavors.
When I was calling around trying to get confirmation on the Rays green cap for St. Patrick’s Day way back in February, I asked someone who works up in the Rays Front Office about if the Rays had a plan to again play wearing an all-green uniforms on St. Patrick’s Day, and they had no idea why the Rays organization did not fall all over this idea, and institute again an all green Rays 2010 moment on St. Patrick’s Day.
Sometimes it truly amazes me that the Rays for some reason do not embrace their old not so distant history. but then again, the current Rays ownership has been trying to move from the “Rays” basic team concept from the image of the swimming docile creature, to a more omnificent “Rays of light” concept.
Funny, I even went in the archives of my Rays Renegade blog and found that one of my 2010 New Years predictions was hoping the Rays would embrace this past great event with gusto again.
There are plenty of Major League Baseball teams sporting green today. Some like the Oakland A’s still have it as their primary color in their jerseys. But the Rays abandoned that part of their past, and on a special day like St. Patrick’s Day, I would hope that the team again embrace their “green” past, plus provide a special moment for everyone, especially their fans. The special edition cap can be purchased at the Rays Team Store in 2010, and online for $19.99, but it doesn’t sport the shamrock on it in the online photo.
I am glad the Rays have taken the first steps to again bringing the “green” back to the Rays at least for St. Patrick’s Day this year. I am actually happy that the organization made this move, and I hope that I might have put an brainstorming future idea into the Rays Foundation for another future St. Patrick’s Day uniform auction.
And I kind of find it a bit of poetic justice that the team the Rays last wore Kelly Green against, the Minnesota Twins are again in town today to play the Rays. Hopefully this time with the added shamrock the luck of the Rays will come through. In 2002, the Rays lost to the Twins at home on this date 7-5.
Well, it is game time here in Port Charlotte and I have to go catch some Rays baseball. But I will be sure to raise my cold and frothy glass high today at the Rays Tiki Deck bar and salute the past, present and future Rays health, glory and bevy of wins on a day when we all should be proud to be truly Green Rays fans.