My Mega Million Dreams and Rays Aspirations

It has been an odd kind of day today. As I was sitting in the grandstands of McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida today awaiting the Tampa Bay Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates taking the field I began thinking a whole heck of a lot about the possibilities, great changes and even a few rearrangements I could do if those lucky number somehow popped into my mind before 11 pm EST. They really got the name of the Lotto drawing right because Mega Millions is just what it is all about tonight.

I have been all up in my head today thinking of ways to spend, circulate and even give back or pay forward with an award of close to $ 640 million dollars. To put it into prospective, if I win this kind of payout, I could almost singlehandedly have enough greenbacks to be the second part of a stadium deal for the Rays. Sure a new stadium would probably cost close to $1 billion with a hotel and Convention Center included in the complex, but I had 640 million reasons to sit on the warm sunny beach today and day-dream.

Sure I might have the money to then make a few demands, like the stadium will be on the Pinellas side of the region, but would any bank or contractor take me serious even if Rays owner Stuart Sternberg gave a “thumbs up” to a proposed stadium? Of course that is the great thing about daydreaming, even if it doesn’t materialize, you do not hurt anyone, cause economical chaos or potentially have death threats posted to your Twitter page. But if I could secure that amount, or even 50% of it, I would try to take a meeting with the Rays.

But that is only one angle of the proposed futuristic dream-scape that is invading my mind right now if I got the right combination. Still with over $1.5 billion dollars supposedly already taken in by Lotto retailers from sea-to-shining-sea, I have to be realistic and venture I might have to share it or split it more than 2-ways. So the reality is on the horizon I might not have $ 640 million reasons, but hey let’s just say I had $100 million reasons for argument’s sake.

If that was the situation, I would definitely get in good with my old Rays Season Ticket Rep Craig Champagne ( love that name) and purchase 5 seats for the entire season ($16,098.00 a seat ) in the Rays Avantair Home Plate Club. I would then get to the Trop. early enough to walk between Gate 1 and 4 and at each gate location select or hopefully find a father and son or couple who are at the stadium for the first time.

Playing the “perfect host” card, I would ask them if they were “willing” to give up their tickets for a pair in my section, but will not advise them in advance it is all-you-can-eat and a great view. If they do not accept, I will keep trying to find a suitor on either side of me for the game that night/day. I would take the tickets they exchanged and walk over to the ticket line and just hand them to a father and son or couple standing in line for tickets asking nothing in return but that they get some extra fun and excitement from their visit with the saved money.

But my great times would not end there. I would wait until one of those entertaining Park and Recreation Days also known as day time “getaway express” contests and surprise one group for each P&R Day during the season and treat them to free Rays gear, lunch and a future special surprise of 2 outfield game tickets for each kid in the group to a future Rays game during the weekend (maybe a concert night or Sunday).

Maybe this seems a bit over done and a tad too giving to some, but this team has done so much for me on so many other levels, giving back like this would just seem fair. But my paying it forward gesture would not stop there. I would get the membership of the “Maddon’s Maniacs” together once a year for a no holds bar throw-down possibly during a Boston or Yankee away series complete with food, beverages and possibly see if the Rays want to do something in unison with this event. I would purchase 10 VIP Event packages to each Rays/Hess Express Concert Series and award five of them to people who write an essay why they should be picked as a special VIP guest and meet the artist before the show. The last 5 VIP badges would be given out anonymously through the Rays staffers to fans who deserve a treat like this, or just show such commitment to the “Rays Way” it would seem criminal for them to miss out on such a fantastic prize.

Then of course during the season I might “ show up” at a seating section during the season with Rays fitted caps, possibly an ice cream or cotton candy guy in tow and give away a few boards or satchels of goodies to the fans. But even during all of this, I want nothing in return. No press, no First Pitch, no scoreboard or Jumbotron acknowledgment, just hope to be a card-carrying member of the Rays Republic from Day one giving back for 15 years of fantastic baseball and memories.

Gosh it is great to think like this, propose such great activities and rewards to people who visit the Trop. even if it would eventually end when the money dries up and only dust settles again in my wallet. So I rushed down to my neighborhood Sweetbay who are corporate partners with the Rays and plucked down $50 for tickets that could fulfill the dreams and aspirations of such a $640 windfall.

But much to my chagrin, Florida is not one of the state participating in the Mega Millions sweepstakes. That even with 1 in 176 million odds to win I can not get a single chance, a single iota of the proposed riches because my state in to part of the Mega Million empire. I am taken aback that a state that thrusts it’s Lotto and Powerball drawing to the forefront is missing from the National obsession tonight, but I know that maybe it is a good thing.

Money changes people, even with the most honest of intentions, futuristic charitable dreams and aspirations, sometimes they disappear when the numbers click and a huge check is thrust into your hands. But tonight someone outside the state of Florida will have a chance at that dream, that life-changing moment we all wish would pluck itself into our arms at least once. So instead I bought $20 of Powerball tickets. Hey that jackpot is $60 million. Not the huge windfall of the Mega, but could still bring about every aspiration and idea I have listed above……It’s now 10:55 pm, Wish me luck!

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