Mantra of the Game..Renegade style



I am beginning to see what fans from cities like New York, St. Louis and Boston have been talking about now. When your team is sitting on the top of the heap in Major League Baseball, everyone and anyone will take any swipe or swing at your team, especially when you are winning. I am beginning to understand the premise that following one of the top teams in baseball can become a unforeseen double-edged sword.

Members of the Baseball community finally seem to be throwing some deserved praise and admiration towards the Tampa Bay Rays, but you wonder what ulterior motives lies just beneath the surface of their accolades. Are they hoping or praying for a collapse and fall from grace so that they can rake your squad over the hot coals with delight.

In 2008, when the Tampa Bay Rays were making their first venture into the National baseball spotlight after years of suffering in the basement of the American League East, I saw most of this action through a set of horse blinders that kept me focused on the long-term goal. I really did not venture into the side views of scuttlebutt going on just outside the realms of the team’s success. It was a new found Tampa Bay air of success that we had not thought in regards to the Rays before that “Magical Summer of Baseball”.

We had finally seen our Rays climb out of their MLB infancy cocoon and were trying to thrust out their outstretched wings and fly high towards the daylight.

And because of that, I might have kept my unusual sense of naivety, an unknown optimism towards the ultimate possibilities of the Rays squad. But during the 2009 MLB season, the horse blinders came off and opened the scopes of reality to show me that sweat, dirty uniforms and even a “Rays-hawk” might not be enough to post up wins against the monsters in the MLB. Maybe I was being a bit naïve even now to think a Rays team that sports a record like 30-12 could finally get a little slack after just coming out of the Bronx with a few “W’s” to their credit.

And here is where my undying sense of optimism can be tricky, and even prove a bit cumbersome at times.

I can admit that I am riding this recent crest of the Rays wave like a body surfer right now, but then something unexpected comes in and sends you crashing into the depths of the surf. You find yourself fighting the impeding forces against you as endlessly tumble and struggle to get to the surface to catch your breath. Something invisible to your eyes can hit you broadside and force you downward towards the jagged rocks below the waves……

Maybe sometimes I need to remove my Southern sensibilities that taught me to respect and use manners even in difficult circumstances because it defuses the angry and hostility quicker. I was brought up with the old saying that “you get more bees with honey than vinegar”, and to poke a sleeping bobcat is a bad thing.

Maybe not becoming a violent or obscene combatant in a battle of words by not getting right back into someone’s face, or tossing venomous comments at my opponent like a spiting Cobra makes me a weaker adversary.

I do not try to be a stealthy ninja who will sneak in my words or opinions quietly and take out my enemy with a well constructed attack in prose, or a violent commotion with a phrase or passage. It is not in my personality to character assassinate someone, but more in my spirit to dismantle and reassemble some sense of logic ultimately to the conversation. But then again, if you raise your hands to me and never take my kindness for weakness for I am more than capable to go from 0-60 in a nanosecond and thrust you back into your bounds of darkness.


I am happy being a carefree Southerner, who has an undying intensive love for the greatest game on dirt. I am not happy about team’s losses, but I will not let my subconscious fall unbounded within the unseen darkness to dwell and possibly obsess about an early Fall collapse, or a Rays internal combustion situation in mid-May. Like the surfing analogy, I am riding the Rays wave right now eagerly taking in the positive vibes and energy for as long as this wave takes me. Hoping to somehow provide some solace and sage advice along the way, and not get bashed in the head too many times by pessimistic parasites for being an optimistic old fool.

But that is the thing about this great game of baseball. It can go on for hours and hours forever instantly changing your game day prospective several times during the course of a contest before ultimately handing you either failure or success in the end. But like the proverbial Gulf of Mexico surfer, I do not stress the bad moments, or hinge my ultimate life existence on the extreme possibility of the Rays crashing on the waves, or the jagged rock beneath.

This great game of baseball has ever changing moments that keep your mind and heart coming and going with a continuous ebb and flow experiencing both the Ying and Yang while watching the games, taking black and white images and colorizing themselves in front of our eyes. I will not be that silent samurai who attempts to slays or tries to change public opinion.

I am a baseball fan who keeps my own prospective, understands the limitations of negativity, but ultimately understands the game doesn’t expose its plans to us mortals. My life maybe very intertwined into the expanding fabric of the game of baseball, but ultimately I will dip, slide, glide and do everything possible to stay on top of that surfboard and continue to keep the faith……Hang Loose Dudes!


HOLY SH!!T Double R!!! I think the Yankees had the same effect on the both of us!! I just finished my post and came to read yours and the only way to explain it…It must be the Yankees!!! Hang Ten Dude!! You’ll see what I mean

It really is not an effect, but more like an attitude that infests their brains at times and pops a negative ion bubble in there for general consumption (lol).
But then again, when you have been to the top of the mountain as much as the Yankees dynastys have in the past….Maybe some royal tratment might in dtore, but I am not about to give it to them.
But then again, even in a loss I can find positives and things to take from the game for another time.
Sometimes the frustrations and the misery just consumes a person, and they are lost until the purge themselves of that negativity.

Rays Renegade

I love your positive attitude, and if it comes from being a Southerner, then embrace it. Now that the Rays are officially “not a fluke,” get ready for the slings and arrows that come with being #1. Suddenly you’ll go from being the warm and fuzzy Cinderella team everybody loves to the ones everybody wants to tear down. So hang ten and hang onto that great attitude!

I do not mind the slings and arrows as long as it doesn’t get associated with the creaton’s chant…”Rays Suck”.
That is an insane thing to say if you are trying to have a logical conversation, but for some reason, it is the response most of the time in the end.
Attitude to me is a sheild, a life giving force that can either destroy you or make you whole.
Guess after you have been told you will never walk again, then two years later you are sprinting on a soccer field because every NFL team will not sign you due to your injuries……positive vibes seem to enroot themselves in me.
If you knew anything about my present situation, you might also say if it wasn’t for my positive attitude and sparkling deposition, I would be in a bad place……I am hanging Ten like a mother right now.

Rays Renegade

too bad my Dodgers now play Spring Training in Arizona. I would have love to have met you during my trips to Vero Beach.
Please keep that positive attitude and sparking deposition. Hang in there!

I will be fine.
I am one of those guys who rises above stuff….most of the time. Not sure I would do great in confined spaces or a cave. (lol)
I told Bill, my SABR buddy about you and your Hilda Chester costume.
He is going to try to say hello to you in Atlanta if you still go to the National SABR Convention.
Hey, someone has to be the optimist. Might as well be the poor, unemployed guy…

Rays Renegade

Hmm it’s a dog eat dog world out there I suppose and not everyone likes friendly rivalry. It goes from nice to “i hate your team muahahahah” .. or something like that :P

Well a lot of Angel fans like the Rays believe it or not (i’m sure you already know I do) and you have my support! Well.. unless we meet in a playoff game or something then you don’t cause i can’t ditch my team but you know what i mean haha. It’s good seeing a respectable team sit in first place especially when the division is as competitive as it is.

It is a dog eat dog world….Great point.
If it is a dog-eat-dog world, I would be that charming German Sheperd who rolls with the punches, but if backed in a corner or if you attack my master…..Watch out.
I always thought the Angels had a secret connection to the Rays through Rays Manager Joe Maddon and his many years with the team…..Which helps and defintiely doesn’t hurt.
Who knows where the Playoffs will lead, but if it gets to both teams facing each other…May the better team win.

Rays Renegade

Hey, Cliff!
Glad we took Game 1! I am hoping we can get another win, to steal the series!
Maddon’s Angels connection is most certainly one of the best things the Rays have going. The stress Maddon places on fundamentals and aggressiveness (like Scioscia) is impressive to watch–esp. when we were not executing our fundamentals very well, and you could steal bases at will on us! All the more reason, if you can keep even SOME of your key players on your payroll, you’ll be good for a long time! We are also interested to see how your stadium situation plays out, so that you might start filling your stadium to capacity. I hope TSP is excited about your team, even if the stands are not yet full.
In the meantime, I will be eager to see if we can get that second game win, to take the series! Take care, Cliff!

It is funny to me that within this tough division, the Rays are the only team playing “small ball” when their offense is sputtering. You would think the REd Sox and Yankees would have resorted to this easy plan of attack when things got rough, but they still tried to grind it out the old fashion way.
Since Maddon was there before Mike Scioscia, I likew to thyink some of Maddon’s philosophies rubbed off on him.
The stadium isssue is a non issue to most true Rays fans until the end of the season.
It is like discussing renerwing a contract in the middle of a Pennant race, it can wait for the apporpriate time to be discussed by all sides.
You guys are sending Lester to the mound….He has been vulnerable lately……the dice are in the air… to wait and see how they land.

Rays Renegade

Cliff, since Maddon was there before Scioscia, you probably are right, that Maddon rubbed off on Scioscia–at least as much as the other way around. I was not aware that Maddon pre-dated Scioscia.
Small ball? What’s that? Our team has no concept of it. Neither do the Yankees. Seriously, I don’t think our fan bases (in contrast to yours) would know how to react if our mgrs. played “small ball”. It would be a good thing for us to do, but I don’t think our would know what to make of it.
Lester gets off to slow starts in April, and this year was definitely no exception. He is on the beam now, and has been SOLID the past few games, so you’ll need to knock him off the beam tonight. ;)
Take care, Cliff!

Like to think some of the success over the past three years can be contributed and linked to the “small ball” philosophy with the Rays.
Nothing wrong with 3-run shots, but pitcher’s duels are won on finding and creating mistakes, then making the opposition pay for their one blunder.
That is what has happened the last two nights.
One blunder started the snowball down the hillside into the burning barn.
Just a roadblock, not a detour….Going to be a fun, fun Summer.

Rays Renegade

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: