A Sad Goodbye
I am done. I am completely done. Over the last decade I have been fooling myself inside and have finally come to the reality that maybe, just maybe I am not the fan I put out there for everyone else to see at Tampa Bay Rays games. Maybe it was the finalization that I am not even a thought in the entire process that my money is more important than me, the Season Ticket holder. Or maybe it was final obeservation that I am treated like a second class citizen by most baseball fans because I do not have a big “B” or pinstripes on my game day wear.
Or it might have been the reality that I was chasing the dream of the “underdog” for so long that I fell into a rut or trap to where I did not have a way or a reason to want anything different. Or maybe it was the final observation that over the past few Rays season little by little my past Rays special moments have been whittled away from me, that now I am just like the guy **** comes up to the Rayx Box Office at 7:05 pm, I am just a number.
And it is sad that today I will get a huge bag of charcoal, fire that grill up and throw my 50+ autographed wooden bats, tons of photos and paper collectibles and game-used jerseys onto the flames to finally return to the heavens. For maybe the frustration levels just got so bad in my head and my heart that change had to happen now to save my soul for another sports love. Maybe I finally found the sport that will love me back as the Tampa Bay Rowdies will soon come back from the ashes and play soccer again in Tampa Bay.
But the stark reality that things have slowly been taken from me as a fan of the Rays has been a stepping stone path towards this funk I am in right now. And it is time to release the devil or demon within my chest and set it free to maybe take the soul of the “Happy Heckler” again. And it was a subtle reversal of my favorite moments that went unoticed within my mind, but now it really looks like a deliberate move by the Rays to remove my presence from their fan base with slow and methodical surgical moves to cut the umbilical cord.
Maybe the first instance that the end was coming was when the Rays held the Rays Season Ticketholder Photo Day the next morning after the team celebrated their first Playoff berth after an evening and night of late into the twilight celebratory drinks, song and maybe even a few Patron shots. When only a handful of Rays players came out for photos and much more of them were ushered way into the field of the surrounding fans and we were not even offered a quick photo or even a snap of a photos are they were whisked down the line not even turning towards the crowd….once.
Or maybe it was the reality that even though I am a kid at heart at the ballpark I could no longer complete my baseball collection each season getting some of the harder autograph becuase I was not under 14 years of age, which is the current age limit for getting player’s autographs in the lines on Sundays. Maybe that was strike two in my obvious heart. For this hurt my 2009-2010 adventure to have an autograph of everyone who was on the Rays 25-man roster during those seasons and now I am left with trading with young fans who want cold hard cash for their signed balls instead of trading Rays collectibles.
Or maybe the final blow was finding out today that even thought I have been faithfully writing paragraph after paragraph over the last few years into this very blog entry that I am viewed as an angry fan and not someone willing to post positive or even new news about the team in a “Rays fan’s point of view”. I am flabbergasted that my over 750 posts have been viewed as trash, that they have been proposed as fan propaganda with hidden agendas and motives. That my fan worship has been all about the all mighty dollar and not about the baseball and friendships that come wit it all.
So I guess all that is left to say is that I am done. I am finished. I am going to fade into the dark abyss. Sure I might have paid $ 1,800 dollars for my Rays seats but it will make a nice fire tonight. I can not fanthom following or even writing about a team who can not feel a kinship bond with me, even though some of them are my closest friends. I guess today is the day I am not longer a Tampa Bay Rays fan.
And like a bad relationship or marriage this break-up is coming with a heavy heart. It was not anticipated, planned or even thought possible even 24 hours ago, but now it is here and is a final nail in the coffin as I watch that shaved down Jose Canseco bat burning on the grill putting grill makes on the white pine shaft of the game-used bat. And next will be my “Jersey Off Their Back” Damon Rolls and Aubrey Huff jerseys with the whole episode finalizing with me burning my 1998 Game Used Wade Boggs jersey hopefully around nightfall.
It is said to sometimes say goodbye, but maybe this one has been 13 years long overdue. Maybe on this April 1, 2010 I finally found out that I am just a number. That my significance is minimal and insignificant to the Rays with every fiber of my being. Maybe on this first day of April, even with the season about to unfold…..my seat will be empty for 81 games……Goodbye.
yaD slooF lirpA yppaH