Monday, June 21, 2010

Not just no but HELL NO to moving my Rays!

Get the straight jacket, people, there's nothing else for it. First LOST and now this?! Stuart Sternberg, the owner of MY Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, is under the MISTAKEN (as in WOEFULLY) impression that he is taking MY team out of St. Petersburg!

As a dear friend once said to me about a completely different topic: not just no but HELL NO! As Laura Petri said to her husband, Rob, in a classic episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show: "No one is taking this baby!"

Oh. It's on.

BACK SLOWLY AWAY FROM MY TEAM, STERNBERG! Yeah, I know, technically you own the team, but in every way that counts they are MINE. Did you walk through lightning and blinding rain, or searing heat to game after game for years, hike up with your Sherpa guide to the partially-obstructed view section of the Trop only to see them lose game after game, yet you continued to cheer your heart out and always stayed for all nine or sweet sixteen or however many innings there were, never giving up hope (because in baseball, it ain't over 'til it's over), and were you often heard shouting out "That's okay, we're going to the series anyway!"? No, you did not. Me investing in my season tickets in the partially-obstructed view section in 1998 when I only made $6.50 per hour (!) was probably a bigger proportion of my income back then than what you paid years later to buy the team was of yours, so you see, they really are MY team.

They're mine because I was there, dancing in the streets of downtown St. Petersburg the day they were awarded to us in 1995. I was there at the first Fanfest, where I met Vince Naimoli and told him that I loved the team name and had actually submitted "Sun Rays" as a suggestion in the contest he held for fans to pick the team name. He told me that the majority of suggestions had the word "Rays" in them, so that's why he went with a Ray name. So I was there in the naming of the team. I was there on opening day in 1998. I was there through all the losing seasons of our young team, loving them just as much as I do now that they are winners. I was there, rooting my heart out in the stands, buying teeshirts, caps, commemorative cups, dog leashes, stuffed Devil Rays, shorts and anything else I could to show my support for the Rays. They are MY team. And no one is taking them out of their home, St. Petersburg.

If I weren't typing this with only my two thumbs on the blasted iPhone right now, and if the battery on said iPhone weren't long in the red, I would detail all the MANY reasons why the team should stay in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. But I'll save that for another day. For now, I just had to say: not just no but HELL NO to moving the team from their HOME, St. Petersburg, Florida!