Removing the Stinger Slowly

Now matter how it happens, it still stings. Right now it feels like the barb is stuck deep within my heart and is twisting, bringing about another bout of painful remembrances. No matter if it was through a blaze of glory or just simply a laying down of the weapons of battle, seeing defeat come swiftly and stare you straight in the face is a biotch. This morning the air is not cleaner, the grass is not greener and another chapter in my Tampa Bay Rays life has been slammed shut by a bunch of Rangers.

It is not like I didn’t know this day might happen, I just wanted to linger, for a possible long savoring of the moment when the lights finally dimmed and the reality of the season was stuffed into our frontal lobes. I wanted to scream “This is not fair”, but in reality it is how the game is played and champion are born.

Sure I dreamed of a long long walk in October for the Rays, but somewhere the gears and the forward inertia just seemed stuck in slow motion. The reality was the one dark spot surrounding this otherwise bright and illuminating Rays squad dealt them their death card. It was not for the lack of effort, for the twisting of fate in the non-existent wind in Tropicana Field, but a lack of solid contact consistency.

For again the demonic invention of the “swing and miss” haunted this Rays club. They fought back this darkness at moments, but could not exterminate its festering and accumulation. It’s carnage bringing about an untimely end to the joy and excitement of the game for another season. Baseball is done for me for 2011. I will not hibernate, hide in sorrow or fester in the replaying of misdeeds and missed opportunities.

I plan to relish the affirmative over the coming months. Pull out the festering darkness and bring a new lantern forward for 2012. For the 2012 season will mark this franchises 15th season, and that is something worth a lofty celebration homage right now. As Rays Designated Hitter Johnny Damon packs his gear to surrender to the realization of another year categorized, there is hope he might again enter the Rays clubhouse doors in the Spring of 2012.

Even with this gloomy ending hanging over their shoulders right now, this young Rays club have nothing to fear. The experience of not only the post season, but battling the cursed critics deposing of this squad in early September, throwing down those verbage bonds and emerging as a unified band of brothers.

This early exit, this unforeseen post season journey has matured this team, bonded them forever and shown all of us in Tampa Bay that fighting for what you believe in will be ingrained in this Rays culture for a long, long time. Some might say I am waxing a bit too poetic right now, but that is what is flowing from my cranium. I am not emotionally deceased right now, only morally bankrupt and need a moment to myself.

Saying “goodbye” even to a grand season where you see your squad bashed the expected and transverse beyond the realistic is one to always remember. 3 out of the past 4 years I have had these same emotions at this juncture, and the pain of realism has not damped one iota.

In the end I did not stand and clap at the end of yesterday’s contest to salute the Rangers defeat as their celebration upon our AstroTurf felt like someone pulling their swords out of our Rays lifeless carcass, I stood and applauded the 33 men who fought from April’s dismal start to Evan Longoria’s solo shot to get the post season party started in full gear.

Even though right now a air of sadness envelopes this Tampa Bay region and within the Trop. Feel proud this team pulled off what was previously thought to be impossible. Have pride in the fight and determination of this Rays crew to not buckle to convention, but thrust forward into the darkness still hoping for a shade of light, a renewed vigor, a embracing kiss from fate, destiny and hope that all is possible if you believe.

Been a long season patched together with grit, patience and the bonding of a group of guys I admire and trust will again in 2012 have that same internal fire and pride to again take us on another glorious ride. It is a ride I will dream and relish until mid-February when we can start it all over again.

It still stings like a barb twisted deep within me. Still has that poison coursing through me reminding me of the down turned faces and absence of smiles when the final card was dealt. I am slowly easing that barb out of my heart and replacing it with a new zeal and zest for the revival of these Rays again in the Spring of 2012. This wound will heal, the pain will subdue and again in a few months, we will fall in love with the game and this motley crew of Rays….and do it all over again.


Very upsetting but overall a good year considering the $39 million payroll and the miracles they did on the baseball field. The Rays can use that new stadium quick, as TV ratings and attendance are dipping drastically. This is what I said about the season’s end:
The Rays Rant

Do not drink the St Pete Times kool aid. The team will no doubt have some discussions about a stadium this Winter, but it is 3-4 seasons tops away from any type of reality. It was a dagger to the heart, but one that will be healed by February. Offseason will have a few surprises….I know of at least two right now.

I’m amazed how well the Rays did despite losing Crawford and Soriano and the low payroll. I’m hoping that the Rays do get a new stadium quickly. It will do wonders! Just ask cities like St. Louis, Cincinnati and San Francisco. It will bring in more revenue. The future definitely looks bright for Tampa Bay!

I really wish people will get off this ” stadium kick”. If you have ever been to the Trop, it is better than 3/4th of the current MLB stadiums. Broadcasters push the catwalks, but if you notice, that is their only complaint. You never hear about traffic concerns, accessibility or even the atmosphere in the stadium. Revenue will not grow until the economy recovers. This is a tourist-based environment, we have no big business companies centered in this region. This region boasts double digit unemployment and one of the highest foreclosure rates in the state…..Money is not there for tickets….trust me on that. A new stadium will not be filled if 1/3 of the region is out of work or working P/T instead of earning full potential. A new stadium will still be empty if tourists’ do not fill the cashr egisters and wallets of locals. A new stadium will not nothing for this region until the region recovers. This is not like New Orleans and Katrina, a lot of the damage is not seen by the usual fan or person. But signs are everywhere that this region is hurting from more than just a defeat in the ALDS.

I agree a 100% that the Trop is a great stadium, I’ll be the first one to say it. I never had a problem with the stadium and don’t see why anyone does. I hate how the media rips on the stadium, I really do. But unfortunately people are not coming, and maybe a new stadium could help. Here’s what I said about the issue:
The Rays Rant

There are so many things to do in this part of the country from Spring to Fall that baseball has to bring the little “extras” like concerts and giveaways to the extreme to get that sports dollar. Florida has that disadvantage, that is why the Marlins have the same problem. It has nothing to do with feilding a winner, or even the payroll. If people do not have disposible income they will not starve themselves to attend games…JUst a sign of the times, and it will not get better overnight.

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