So opening weekend has come and gone. I am still in a daze! Before opening day even started, I went on a mission to make sure it was a sell out. The Rays Street team and I hopped on our custom designed Rays boat and went out to the bay. We parked right along side the Howard Franklin bridge during rush hour traffic. All of those grumpy commuters were suddenly laughing and cheering when they saw my big blue self shaking my belly, dancing, and waving on a boat in the bay. We went out twice a day starting Tuesday and made our last appearance Friday morning, the day of OPENING NIGHT!
I guess our little stunt worked, because opening day was a SELL OUT! Over 38,000 Rays fans came out to see us take on the Jays. I was running around non stop trying to greet as many Tampa Bay faithful as I could. And boy were these fans in for a treat. Down in the 9th, the Rays scored 3 to get the win! It was unbelievable! Young, Upton, Crawford, Dukes…and thats not even mentioning Aki going 4-4. And people were worried about his "slow" spring.
We were back in action the very next night taking on those same Jays. Unfortunately, we didn’t win. But fortunately for the fans the first 12,000 got a minature replica of Tropicana Field and there was a fantastic laser show following the game.
And if as if that all wasn’t enough, this Sunday was my 2nd anual "Mascot Mania!" The first 7,500 kids in attendance got a minature stuffed version of me. I liked the fact that the doll was very accurate, even down to my bulbous belly. I invited out my buddies from the Florida State league like Phinley (Clearwater Threshers), DJ (Dunnedin Blue Jays), Missy (Ft. Myers Miracle), Ralligator (Sarasota Reds) and Squeeze the grapefruit from our newest affliliate, The Vero Beach Devil Rays. In addition to having 12 local mascots attend, we invited out the world famous Zooperstars (www.zooperstars.com) to come perform. Nolan Rhino, Derek Chetah, **** Flytell, Ken Giraffee, and Harry Canary all came out. But Roger Clamens stole the show when he swallowed one of our security guards whole. It even made the Sportscenter intro, the most hallowed feat of mascot-dom. If you’re upset that you missed my super cool Mascot Mania, don’t fear. On August 26th we’re celebrating my 10th birthday! I’m inviting out the Pirate Parrot, Stomper (from Oakland), Wally the Green Monster (Red Sox), and the Friar (Padres), Moose (Mariners), And Billy (Marlins) may make an appearance. We’ll also have my local buddies ThunderBug (Lightning) and Stuff (Orlando Magic) in the house. And if we mascots weren’t cool enough, we’re giving away a super sweet bank in the likeness of yours truly! What more could you ask for???
So things didn’t work out as planned in New York yesterday. Still, Kaz pitched a solid game and how about Dukes??? His first Major League hit is a home run! Welcome to the big leagues big guy! I can’t wait until the guys get home. Only three more days. We’re going to stomp the Jays!
Last Thursday I had a crazy day. The St. Pete indy car grand prix was in town for their annual race. They actually close off parts of downtown St.Pete and let the indy cars drive around the streets. You can actually hear the cars zooming around miles away from the track. It’s a great way to wake up every morning.
In order to help promote the race, the organizers arranged to have everyone’s favorite seadog get in a car. I ****** in my belly and squeezed into the back seat of the indy car. This special double seater was a promotional car that only went about 1/2 of the regular cars’ speed (about 110). We drove around downtown waving at people. They wre pretty surpised to see a big blue thing driving around town. I even wore my special racing suit for the day. I kept saying "I wanna go fast!" but they wouldn’t let me. Something about safety.
If you think a dog in a race car is crazy, you should keep a look out Tampa Bay. Yours truly is hitting the bay in our Rays boat to promote opening day. I’ll be cruising along various spots in the bay every day, even opening day! I’m hoping we don’t discover my floatability factor. I’m pretty sure it’s 0%.If you see me, make sure to honk!
IS IT FRIDAY YET???
Spring training is ALMOST over! Well, the hardest part, playing outdoors, is over. I can’t tell you how tough it is going from a cool, constant 72 degrees in the dome to 90 plus degree heat outdoors! I’ll admit it, I’m a pampered pooch. Stars like me weren’t meant to sweat!
We have one more home spring training game, but it’s at Tropicana Field. Dome sweet dome! You all should come to the last spring training game on March 31st. You can get a sneak peek at all of the new stuff in the stadium. Just wait till you see the new video boards. We’re in high definition now! Just imagine, you’ll be able to see baseball’s best mascot projected to king kong proportions on the video board (and it’s not a "Jumbotron." Apparently Jumbotron went out of business awhile ago. We have "DIAMONDvision." Sounds sassy to me!)
Since spring training is almost over, that means only one thing….COUNT DOWN TO OPENING DAY!!!! There’s only 9 days, 10 hours, 55 minutes and 42..41..40..39…seconds until opening day! March 6, 2007 at 7:10pm vs. the Blue Jays! It’ll be super spectacular! Get your tickets now! Actually, get your tickets from me. I’m way behind on the opening day "sell a thon" we’re all participating in.
And as is opening day wasn’t enough, the very next day is our 10th season tribute. All fans in attendance get a minature version of Tropicana Field. Its pretty awesome. Its makes a great paper weight. It’s also good for chucking at impertinent interns who refuse to go pick up my dry cleaning and skinny mocha latte (light foam.)
AND AS IS THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…..on April 8, 2007 is the 2nd annual MASCOT MANIA! I’m having over 10 local mascots attend and have even invited out the world famous Zooperstars (www.zooperstars.com) to come celebrate. The first 7,500 kids through the doors get their very own minature stuffed version of me! Their very own Ramond doll! What else could a kid dream for?
Well, I’ll write as soon as I can. I’m just so excited. I mean there’s just 9 days, 10 hours, 53 minutes and 44…43..42..41..40..39……..
Holy canoles Batman! This is the time of year I keep wondering "Where the heck did the off season go???" Of course I had a super fun off season, and traveled the world. Well at least parts of it. I spent ten days touring the countryside of Japan while watching minor league baseball games, and I spent ten days down under in New Zealand taking in the sights! It was amazing!
I needed all of that vacation time, because in February alone, everyone’s favorite sea dog has been at over 35 events! I toured with the Rays players for our annual Caravan. We paid visits to the St. Petersburg and Tampa area as well as trekking down to Manatee county. After Caravan, I’ve been slammed with Little League openings. By the time the season starts, I’ll have visited 18 little leagues! How do I get to all of those places at once? Magic. I’m more magical than the kingdom. I put Harry Potter to shame.
Between all of this action I got to have a little fun. My buddy Wally the Green Monster was in state doing some appearances at Ft. Myers. He made the drive up to Tampa so we could watch the Lightning take on the Bruins. Bruins won. Wally was happy. I wasn’t. Niether one of us stayed out too late because we both had to get up at 7am to work. I had a little league opening and then Fan Fest.
Fan fest was amazing! We had a record crowd. I spent over 4 hours mingling with the Tampa Bay faithful. Fans lined up for hours to get autographs from their favorite players, and of course, me. In addition to autographs we had the world’s largest baseball, the largest collection of baseball autographs, and world champion hotdog eater Takeru Kobayashi. Personally I think I could out eat that guy, but when I gestured as such he just laughed and threatened to eat me.
Right after fan fest I got an urgent call from Stuff, the Orlando Magic’s mascot. He needed me to come out to his party on Sunday because one of his NBA buddies was snowed in and couldn’t make the trip. So I hopped in my car and made the drive along I-4 to make it. His other guests were Benny from the Chicago Bulls, The Raptor from Toronto, Rocky from the Denver Nuggets, and Clutch of the Houston Rockets. It was insanity!! During the first quarter break, we did a dunking exhibition. Well, THEY dunked. I just ran off in fear! I’m very happy with my fat self on the ground! MLB mascots weren’t meant to fly with clouds between their knees! For half time we had a …get this…roller derby musical chairs competition! We mascots had to skate around the court, and when the music stopped, find a chair. I got out pretty fast as Clutch was cheating the whole time! I am so glad I am a baseball mascot! I think I would be one big bruise if I had to pull off the stunts that those NBA guys carry out! And speaking of bruises, poor Stuff suffered a concusion during the game last night while trying a human bowling ball stunt. He’s expected to make a full recovery, but please root for him to get well!
AND IF ALL OF THIS WASN’T ENOUGH, spring training has started! We started off in style with a sold out crowd last Friday that saw up take on the New York Yankees. So far we’ve faced the Jays, Twins, and Reds with the Indians in town tomorrow. It’s always nice to play a few games in the great out doors. There’s nothing quite like the view of the water at Progress Energy park.
Well, hope you enjoyed my latest entry. It was jam packed with excitement and action…just like Devil Rays baseball!
So last weekend we did the Gasparilla Day parade. Pretty exciting to get in front of 400,000 plus pirates partying! I had a great time shaking my groove thing on the hood of our newly redesigned Hummer. I even accomplished my one parade goal: DON’T FALL OFF THE FLOAT!!! Since I already fell off the out field wall, I’d rather not take any more plunges off high things.
This weekend was Super fun. My good friend Staley Da Bear was down south for a little thing called the Super Bowl. I drove down to Miami to hang out with everyone’s favorite bear (forget you Pooh!) I also wanted to see this "Super Bowl." To my dismay, it wasn’t a bowl at all! I thought it would be some giant bowl filled with seadog chow, snausages, or at least a few hot dogs…but nooooo. It’s actually a reference to a football game. I can’t eat footballs, so what good is that?
Staley and I spent Friday night cruising along South Beach…looking for a place to park!! It was total chaos! We had to park a $20 can ride away from South Beach, just to get in. After wandering the streets some more, we picked a happening spot to eat pizza while watching the beach. There was plenty of entertainment provided by the diverse plethora of people on SoBo that night! Call me crazy, but I’ll take the Tampa Bay Area anyday! No Miami Vice for me!
So the Super Bowl didn’t turn out as Staley expected it. Before you say "Poor Staley" let it be known that that bulbous bear is on a flight to Hawaii. Nothing says "Sorry you lost the Super Bowl" like an all expense paid week long trip to Hawaii. Darn Pro Bowl. Why can’t we have the All Star game in Hawaii? I mean, I’m looking forward to San Francisco this year and New York next year, but still….Hawaii????
Guess who’s back? Back again? Raymond’s back. Tell a friend! Yes I’m back in 2007 and I’m starting the year off in style. This past Saturday we participated in the Gasparilla children’s parade. Its a 1.4 mile parade down beautiful dontown Tampa’s Bayshore boulevard. There’s nothing like a parade on the water! I even saw a couple of rays swimming happily in the ocean. I tried to recruit them for our rays pet tank, but they weren’t cownose rays, so they thought they’d have a problem fitting in. Oh well!
There were over 200,000 people in attendance at the parade. It took us almsot 3 hours to drive the parade route. We tossed out thousands of Tampa Bay Devil Rays beads, and the even better looking Raymond beads. We were the only area sports team to have a presence in the parade, and I was the only mascot I saw braving the hot temperature and crazed crowds. Tomorrow we have the Gasparilla Day Parade. That parade is 3 miles long (twice as long for you math majors) and attracts over 500,000 people. I know they say people come for the beads, but come on, you know they’re coming for the chance to see the world’s cutest Seadog.
Well, happy 2007 people! You have a whole ‘nother year of my witty posts and deliteful anecdotes to look forward to. I bet that makes your day that much brighter!
So I slacked off on my blogging. Sue me! Since I last posted, the Yankees got spanked by the Tigers, and the Cardinals tamed the Tigers to win it all. Congrats Fredbird! Make sure you don’t drop the trophy in the pool. You see, Fredbird has a habit of dropping things in pools.
For the first few weeks of October, I just took it easy. Just relaxed and watched the series. One of these days, I won’t just be watching the series. I don’t know exactly what day that will be, but soon…I can feel it. Actually that feeling might be indigestion or a hairball, but I feel something!
In Novemeber I was back in action making appearances all over the bay area. On November 16th we served a Thanksgiving dinner to deserving families in conjunction with the Salvation Army. It was great getting a chance to spend a nice dinner with great local families. There was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, just about everything. They had arts and crafts for the kids as well as a bunch of cool Devil Rays prizes. The best part about the evening was cleaning up. Can you believe they let this dog have all the left overs? That’s one big doggy bag!
We just got done with a bunch of events in December. On Friday the 8th, Scott Kazmir, Rocco Baldelli, BJ Upton and I went to Metropolitan Ministries for their sports day. We were joined by players and mascots from the other Tampa Bay Teams. I had to console Captain Fear about the Buc’s 3-10 record. It hasn’t been an easy year for the pirate. On Saturday I joined Thunderbug for the Lightning’s annual Reindeer Run. Then on Monday we hosted a holiday party for over 200 local children. There were prizes, games, presents, and they even got to pet the rays in the new rays touch tank. Next week I’m going to visit all the good boys and girls at the All Children’s Hospital. There’s nothing like spreading the holiday spirit!
Well, that’s my recap for now. I’ll try and be better about posting, but I pormise nothing! Techically, I’m on vacation!