Rays Can’t Muster a May 14th Victory….Again

The date of May 14th, has always held a small special place within me. It has been a day of honest reflection and undefined possibilities. It has been the Alpha and Omega of my entire life. When the Tampa Bay Rays finally began play in 1998, suddenly there was another reason to circle the calendar, another reason to hoist an adult beverage to the roof, another bit of joyous hope on this May date. 

This date has been simply murder on myself and the entire Rays Republic. For the last 11 out of 13 years, the Tampa Bay Rays franchise has been unable to win a single game on May 14th. On 8 of the past 11 years, the Rays have gone down in defeat and it has brought any idea of joy or happiness  to a sudden halt like I had been spun into a brick wall. The only blemishes on this dubious losing streak on this date is the solid fact that 2 “Off Days” appeared on the Rays MLB schedule in 2001 and 2007 to break up the sadness a bit. 

In reality, this is one date that the Rays have a huge albatross circling above them, and I am beginning to come to the realization that possibly I should blame myself.  Since  the first Rays contest in Kansas City against the Royals back on May 14, 1998, I have encircled this date on my calendar hoping to see the roof turned orange, or a mad team meeting on foreign soil after a Rays victory on this date. 

But again last season, the team and the Rays Republic got real close. In the end there was no celebratory cigar again to be lit on this grand date. This date has been my epicenter of baseball for the last 14 years. Since 1998, I have either traveled to Tropicana Field or another city on this day in response to where the Tampa Bay Rays were playing baseball. 

With the hopes of a May 14th victory firmly nestled upon the shoulders of Country singer Darius Rucker and the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series, I am enthusiastic and confident that finally………finally I will have a second reason to celebrate this May 14th. But in the end, it was just another day to wander outside the stadium, look towards the Trop’s Teflon roof and not seeing a hint of any orange-hued venturing skyward for the mighty Rays had fallen victim to the May 14th curse once again.

I was really optimistic heading into this 2011 contest, but just as quickly, the dark cloud formed over the Trop. Sure it produced huge winds, large amounts of rain and even a few thunderous vibrations that shook the seats within the Trop., but I still had a positive vibe about this year. The Rays have been notorious for winning with crowds over 30,000, plus combined with a post game concert, the odds seemed to be finally tipping towards victory.

The Rays now stand 0-12 on this single day in May when I had hoped we would finally celebrate. This team that struggles to fight from a lowly 1-8 mark to finally sit atop the American League East summit still can not conquer the demons that possess the May 14th date.  Hard to keep a levelheaded version of optimism between my ears with musical notes of despair ringing louder and louder in my ears.

Cursed, doomed or possibly just a string of bad luck are encircling negative words that now seem to echo through the Trop long after Rucker and company have packed up and the last Rays fan has found their way to the exit.  So now do I take the cheery attitude that “we will get ’em next time ( in 2012)”, or do I just keep some sense of a positive vibe within me knowing every streak no matter if good or bad finally has a end point.  

I do not have the right segment of words to fully describe the sorrow and pain that is burning in my gut. I know this team is good enough to win, even on May 14th. Do I keep my head up for another 364 days with high hopes, lofty expectations and a sense of fulfillment that 2012 will be the year we finally win on this dastardly date……This team deserves a celebration on this date in May, plus it is the day of my birth….Maybe that is where the bad luck spills into the whole equation.

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