Well I was right. The boys just wanted to win it in dramatic fashion. Growing up, everyone dreams of winning game 7. I’ll be honest, I never wanted it to go to 7 games. But once we were there it was time to give it all I had or go home. It’s funny how every game is “the biggest game ever” but this game really was. Unlike game 6 where the whole building had a “blah” vibe to it, on Sunday the energy was electric. You could feel it in the air. We knew we were going to win that game. When Pedroia hit that homer in the first I thought “Just one run, we can get that back.” Longoria drove in Pena, game tied. Rocco singles, we score the go ahead run. The Aybar gives us a little cushion with a solo home run. Then it was time to buckle down and hold on for the ride. With memories of Thursday’s 7-8 loss, we knew the game wasn’t over until the final out. Joe managed the bullpen brilliantly bringing in JP, Wheeler, Bradford, and finally Price. David Price. Don’t you feel honored getting the see the first few MLB games this guy is playing?
As I was going out for the 8th inning, someone said “6 outs.” I wanted to slap them! We were 7 outs away before. Don’t jinx it! I stood on the Red Sox dugout and watched the first 3 outs. Then it was back over to the home dugout. We were up and down pretty quick, leaving the final three outs. I couldn’t help myself, I just paced back and forth on the dugout non stop. When Aki made the final out and the team rushed the field, I could only stand frozen in sheer joy as I watched the boys celebrate. After the initial rush subsided, I charged on the field with my “Rays win!” I tell you, nothing makes me happier than getting to wave that flag. They presented the AL Championship trophy and named Matt Garza the ALCS MVP (Was there any doubt?)
With the champagne squirting and other craziness, a lot of things are still a blur. The reality that we’re in the World Series really hasn’t sunk in yet. I thought it would be real once I saw the WS logo on the field, but I saw it this morning and it still hasn’t registered with me. I still feel that any moment I’ll awake from the best dream I’ve ever had. The great thing is that this isn’t a dream, the Rays are the AL Champs, and we’re going to the World Series!
It’s pretty awesome that we’re playing the Phillies as well. You probably don’t know this, but the Phillie Phanatic was highly instrumental in my decision to become a mascot. Back when I was still a wet behind the ears young seadog trying to make it in the bigs, the Phanatic gave me pointers, taught me how to dance, and helped me develop some of my greatest moves. Pretty much everyone in the mascot world recognizes the Phanatic as the best mascot in sports (after me of course!) So it’s a unique thrill to not only be in the World Series, but to get to face one of my greatest mascot mentors.
Well the first pitch is just hours away. I’m going to try and take a nap (for some reason I couldn’t sleep last night!) and try to get these butterflies in my stomach to stop fluttering. I can’t wait for the gates to open, the fans to rush in, and for the magic of the fall classic to begin. After this, I totally believe in magic, because everything about this season has been nothing short of magical.
Here’s to you Rays fans, let’s enjoy this ride together.
So this is it. The big cheese, the whole enchilda, cliche after cliche. I’m not exactly sure why the boys wanted to wait until Game 7 to clinch the ALCS. My guess is they just want to do it in dramatic fashion infront of 40,000 cowbell clanging faithful. We can do this. We’ve done it all season long. We are the Tampa Bay Rays, winners of 97 games, holders of the best record in baseball at home, winners of the AL East, and one win away from the World Series.
If anyone said at the begining of the year there would be a Game 7 in the ALCS tonight at Tropicana Field, they would have been called crazy. But here we are. Crazy like a fox, and ready to raise the roof on the Trop.
Let’s go Rays!
And that’s why they’re the defending World Series champs. That was truly unbelievable. It ruined what was possibly one of our greatest games ever. BJ homers in the first off Dice-k who held us scoreless the last time he faced us. Longo homers, Pena homers, Kaz throws a gem, what more could you ask for? Well, for Papi not to knock one out. That’s what I would ask for.
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I can’t believe we were 2 1/2 innings away from our first ever World Series berth, and it slipped away. Unbelievable. I got a call this morning from Slider from the Cleveland Indians. He went through last year’s Red Sox comeback. He pointed out that unlike the Indians last year, we’re heading back home to homefield advantage. I hope all the Rays fans realize how much they matter and make sure to yell and shout. It’s the Pit. Make sure those Red Sox know it.
Keep the faith Rays fans. See you at the Trop tomorrow night.
Anyone have any questions? Who? What? Why? When? How? Yea yea, I know some poeple may be confused. Like those people who dismissed our strong spring saying “It’s just Spring Training, it doesn’t matter. ” (Yeah Yankees, it sure doesn’t matter! Have fun golfing!) Then our strong April, “It’s just April.” Then May, “Talk to us in October!” they sneered. June, “They’ll fall apart soon.” July, “Oh, 7 game skid, I told you they’d slip.” August, “Um, how are they stil in first place?” Septemeber, “Uh, where can I get a mohawk?”
And now, OCTOBER!!!!!!!!
You can’t believe how excited I am. This is everything a mascot could dream about. From my humble beginings as a minor minor league mascot to the past 11 years of rooting on the Rays, this is what all of my hard work has been for. The whole town is a buzz with the Rays. Everyone has mohwaks. I swear, I saw a grandmother with one. I even saw a dog! I’d like to point out that I’ve had my ‘hawk since Sept 17. It’s looking a little bit droopy by now. I need some more Aquanet.
I am so proud of my Rays. Pena, who’s one of the nicest guys in the league. Aki, who always asks me how I’m doing, even though he can’t understand my response. Barlett, our MVP. Longo, who’s never too busy to give me a fist bump. BJ, with his mohawk leadership. Gross, the king of walk offs. CC, who’s chomping at the bit to get back. Fernadez, who came up and made a huge impact. Cliff, DHing his way into big wins. Hinske, who didn’t even make the team out of spring training and ended up being an impact player. JP, who has solidified our bull pen. And how about Kaz, Shields, Sonny, Garza, and Jackson? What a killer rotation! And who can forget Percival, the vetran leader who helped all of our young pitchers mature. And my boy Jonny Gomes, the epitome of “Heart and Soul.” And the man behind it all, Joe Maddon. With his Buddy Holly glasses, hiw win, and philosophy, he shows how to win. 9=8! But now, 9=4.
Pay close attention to the Rays. This is one of the greatest and closest teams ever assembled. I am truly proud to be a part of this organization.
LET’S GO RAYS!
It’s September 15, we’re hanging to a 1 game lead in the AL East, and guess who’s coming to town? The dreaded BoSox. Our last trip ever to Yankee stadium didn’t go as planned. We were so close to winning both games of that double header, just as Boston almost lost both of there’s. We would have been 4 games up…but now, just one. We lost 2 of 3, but the great news is David Price made his major league debut. Could he be that extra edge we need to hold on to the east? Only time will tell.
I’m chewing my nails. I’m pacing the office. I’ve drank about 10 cups of coffee. This is what September baseball is about. But I just keep thinking 9=8. That’s right, 9=8. No I didn’t flunk math (well Calculus yes, but not math in general.) What 9=8 means is “Nine players playing nine innings together to become one of the eight teams in the playoffs.” None other than the mighty Joe Maddon said that. And we’re so close to having that come true.
At the begining of the year I callled a Cubs/Rays World series. It’s still possible. I’m counting on us holding on to the east, facing off vs. the White Sox for the ALDS, then facing the Angels in the ALCS. Then the cubs. Of course I’m just a crazy seadog who loves baseball, snausages, and chasing cars…but it could happen! We’ll just have to se. October awaits! In the mascot community we’re picking our favorite playoff mascot. I naturally voted for myself as did SouthPaw for the White Sox. But we all agree on one thing, no one wants to see Wally get his 3rd ring in five years. Everyone hates that guy!
So Rays fans, cross your fingers, buckle down, and remember 9=8. We can do it!
Who is the best team in baseball? The Cubs? No. Angels? No. Red Sox? No. Yankees? Ha ha ha, NO! It’s the Tampa Bay Rays. Who would have thought that come September 2nd, the Rays would be the best in baseball? Well other than me. I’ve known this team was good for a long time. I knew it in Spring Training. You could just feel the difference…everywhere. It was just a vibe. You knew something big was on the horizon. Those first few months everyone kept saying “Yea you’re doing good, but talk to us in October.” Well folks, October is 28 days away. I’ll be more than happy to talk to you then!
We’re taking on the New York Yankees tonight. I expect it to be a great series. The Yanks are 12 games back, but I don’t expect them to go down without a fight. After that we’re on the road, facing off vs. Toronto, Boston, and NY again. Our September includes 6 games vs. the Yankees, 6 games vs the Red Sox, and 4 vs. the tied for first place in the AL Central Twins. Nothing will be easy, and I know the Rays won’t take anything for granted. We have what it takes to win big and battle back. Our pitchers are solid, our in and outfield is unbelievable, and the bats have finally woken up. We haven’t missed a beat dispite missing three All Stars (Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Troy Percival.) You should join the Ray-vilution.
Other than being awesome, I got a chance to take a vacation. I was just up in Chicago for the weekend scouting out the Cubs and White Sox. The Cubs…blah. they don’t even have a mascot. Just some dork in a rented bear suit begging for tips. Get a job! Wrigley is a cool field though. I had never been there before. It was neat to get to hang out with baseball fans from all over the country who were not Cubs fans but checking out Wrigley. On Sunday I visited SouthPaw at the White Sox game. He was having his mascot day, but yours truly wasn’t allowed to participate in the festivities. The Sox weren’t too keen on having the opposing team mascot on th efield. I know they didn’t want to expose their fans to an awesome mascot like me, so I understand. I’m sure Ozzie had something to do with my ban. He hates me! All in all it was a good time, but I just have to say A.J. Pierznski was out!!!!!!
Its July 18, WELCOME TO THE SECOND HALF! This seadog is seriously tired. Why am I tired? Well, rooting on the most exciting team in baseball is hard. There’s been so many exciting wins…walk off home runs…9th inning bullpen heroics…sweeps…if I had a voice it’d be gone from cheering so much. I’m also tired from staying up late watcing the all star game. Yep, yours truly was up in New York rooting on our three Rays all stars. All of the MLB mascots were up in NYC, even Homer from the Braves, who has been MIA for several years. We worked the DHL Fan Fest, held a mascot home run derby (I made it to the finals but lost to that darn bear from Minnesota T.C.), performed a skit on All Star Sunday, and ran on the field for introductions at the Home run derby. It was quite a sight to hear Wally the green monster get booed by the NY faithful. We had a fun time getting heckled by the bleacher creatures as we awaited out introductions. My favorite line “Hey Homer, Mr.Met called, he wants his head back!” Every mascot was subject to some jeer, except Bernie Brewer, because as they chanted “Bernie makes beer!”
As a part of the festivities, we took part in the Red Carpet parade through the city. I strutted my stuff from the countless paparazzi. At one point I was literally surrounded by cameras. It’s good to know that in a city of so many stars, a big blue fuzzball commands A-list attention. It was so much fun hanging out with my MLB mascot buddies. Most of us only get to see each other one or two times a year, so we make the most of our time together. We went to Yankees games, Mets games, and even Broadway (I liked Spamalot better than Mary Poppins!).
We start the second half vs the Blue Jays. Hopefully we can put an end to our uncharateristic losing streak (hey, can’t be perfect forever!) Who would have thought that by July 18 the Rays would be only a .5 game out of first in the AL East and gunning for October? I did actually. Never underestimate the awesomeness of the Rays!