It’s times like these where I question why I’m a baseball fan. Heck, why do people root for sports teams in general? If you think about it, fandom makes so little sense. Here you are, a rational human being that has enough other worries and stresses in life, and yet you decide to go and tie your emotions to a team that it is completely beyond your control. You can’t influence decisions or change the outcomes of games, and yet you root for this team with all your heart and soul. When they win, your fandom makes sense: everything else in life - even the crappy stuff - looks easier and more manageable, and the sun seems to shine a little brighter and the flowers smell a little more gorgeous. But if they lose…well, that’s another story.
When your team loses, you’re sucked down into a pit of frustration, anger, disappointment, and bitterness. When your friends rag on your losing team, you hang your head in shame and feel personally embarrassed, as if you’d done something stupid or dirty. “Yeah, we’re sucking right now.” You’re stuck trying to find ways to cope with their losing, and to find ways to keep it from hurting you so deeply. Maybe you turn the games off early or don’t watch them at all, futiley pretending your team doesn’t exist and that the losing isn’t hurting you that much. Maybe you lash out in anger or snark, trying to hate your team and distance yourself from the pain. Or maybe you resignedly slump your shoulders and take it all, internalizing the losses and feeling worthless and powerless in the process. But in the end, there’s no “right” way to react to a losing streak; it still hurts, no matter what you do.
So why do we emotionally identify with teams, setting ourselves up for these emotional roller coaster rides? What sense does it make to allow our emotions to be controlled by something beyond our control, especially when the odds of a season ending in success (AKA a World Series victory) is so small and subject in part to luck? As fans, we’re setting ourselves up for disaster each and every year….and yet despite feeling pain over and over again, we keep doing it. Are we masochists, or merely emotionally disturbed?
Whatever our reasons for rooting for them, the Rays are still in the midst of a horrible slide and we’re all feeling quite edgy. Emotions are boiling over and some of the threads here have spiraled into negativity contests, seeing who can pick the most radically negative thing to say about the Rays. This thread is going to be the exact opposite. These Rays are still a damn good team, as evidenced by their start to this season, and we’ve got no right to be feeling this depressed at the moment. What bright spots do you see right now? What’s something about the Rays that can make you happy? We’ve all expressed our negative opinions many times over the past few weeks; positive opinions only are allowed in this thread. Let’s try and lighten the mood a little, even if it’s only lasts until tonight.
So tell me, too, what about the Rays makes you happy?
“When I first started watching baseball, I was a Braves fan. I went to a playoff game during the ’95 championship run. I loved Chipper, the whole pitching staff, and they were the closest to me geographically (aside from the Marlins). But as soon as it was announced that the Tampa Bay area was getting a team, those allegiances died on the spot. The (Devil) Rays have been my introduction into investing myself into baseball and truly following a team (from ’98 on), actually getting excited about a young team (~04 or so, and yes I thought having a Gathright, Crawford, Rocco outfield was going to be awesome) the start of my foray into advanced statistics, and obviously the greatest professional sports season of my life (’08). As people have touched on multiple times, the internet and TV packages make it incredibly easy to follow any team, anywhere. So for me, I could care less whether this team is in Las Vegas, San Antonio, New Jersey or Mexico. They will still be MY team. Just because they pick up and move physically does not mean it eradicates or erases every memory, feeling, or emotion Ive had with this team. Even if in 10 years all those original players are gone, they will still be the team I choose to follow, because at that point I will have 10 years of new memories. Will it suck if they move? Obviously. Whether it be to Tampa or the west coast, it makes things way more difficult, to say the least. But you know what? Following them then makes it that much sweeter. The one or two times you get to see them live will be something you truly cherish, unlike now when I get sloppy enough to forget E-Jax entire no hitter. Look, no one wants to see this team move or their identity change. We are a small market team with the best ownership in baseball. Something even Yankee or Red Sox fans can really be jealous of. And if they move, its no fault but our own. Stu has done everything he can to try and stay, and he has made this known. That being said, all good things have to come to an end. And I for one will follow this organization whether they play their home games 10 minutes or 10 hours from me.”—a fan I couldn’t agree with more commenting on if the Rays were to move out of town, courtesy of draysbay.com
“Over the course of a season it’s going to happen. It happens and it’s done with … We just disagreed, talked about it, it’s done with, and move on. We can’t have those type of distractions. We’ve got to move on and try to win some ballgames. We’re in the middle of a pennant race right now and that’s all that matters.”—the loafing BJ Upton.
The public seems to be siding with Evan on this one after BJ’s effort or lack-there-of has truly shown.
One commenter went as far as to say:
“Longoria earned the respect of every fan in the area and most of all, the respect of his fellow players (except Upton but who cares). Here is one of the youngest players on the team that plays the game with 110% effort, showing leadership and letting “Mr. Cool” know that he didn’t appreciate his effort. I certainly hope either Martinez or Maddon or someone in authority take this clown apart in private..”
Why does it seem like Upton just doesn’t care anymore? It pisses me off. Watching him, I noticed he takes strikes looking ALL THE TIME. I commend Longoria for actually saying something to his face, rather than behind his back.
“There’s only so much you can take in regards to the influence of the umpires on the game. Obviously there’s a lot of things that are out of your control. But there’s certain things that when it comes down to interpretation, a lot of the interpretation has gone against us. And I’m really tired on interpretation going against us. You have to make stand at some point.”—Joe Maddon, on his ejection today, making it the 2nd time this month he’s been ejected and the 3rd time this season.
“I just wanted to let the guys know or remind the guys that we’re an awesome team, a very good team, and that whoever said it was going to be all smooth at all times … there’s going to be some rocky parts of the road, but that doesn’t mean we can’t zigzag all the way to our destination. If we are just ourselves, then everything takes care of itself. Basically, I was just saying that, regardless of what’s going on around us, our only goal — immediate goal — is just to play our kind of baseball. Then everything else will take care of itself. So it’s not even to win tonight’s ballgame. It’s more about let’s play our game tonight. At the end of the day, I like our chances.”—Carlos Pena (via raysbabyrays)
“It’s like telling my wife that I want to see other women. I’d tell her I want to stay married, I just want to see what my options are.”—St. Petersburg city council member Wengay Newton on Sternberg saying he’d like to explore other options and break the contract the Rays had with the Trop until 2027.
“You knew that eventually it was going to get to something like this at some point. (New York’s) not going away. Boston’s not going to go away. You just can’t expect to take it from the starting line to the finish. There’s going to be some bumps. I’ve talked about this. We have not lost the lead. We’re still in the lead. We’re even up. I always like the idea of at least maintaining that, or actually staying ahead. But they’re good. It’s a long season left. And I’m certain we’re going to get hot again like we had been earlier. I really feel another streak coming.”—Joe Maddon (via raysbabyrays)