It has been too exciting a week for Rays fans, a week that has featured moments that capture the essence of every phase of a longtime (Devil) Rays fan.
Yes, there are some longtime Rays fans.
There was the pain and disappointment of the blown games, eventually lost by one run on Monday and Wednesday nights. There was the taste of victory despite ourselves, on Tuesday night (another one-run game). There was the absolute futility and terrible play of the last-place Rays during Mark Buehrle’s perfect game on Thursday, and the keeping-up-with-the-best-in-the-AL-East magnificence of 2008 on Friday night, when Matt Garza kept an equal step with Roy Halladay and the Rays finally won in the 10th.
But today, wow. Today is a new era, I hope. Today is a day that might forever keep me hoping, thinking, as bad as these players appear to be, they have an ability to win that can be tapped when you least expect it.
I don’t know if Rays fans realize the size of today’s comeback. Perhaps in an age of huge-scoring games, eight runs doesn’t seem like much. But it was TWO SEPARATE eight-run deficits the Rays found themselves behind; first, 8-0, and then 9-1. And yet in just three innings the Rays erased that deficit against one of the better pitching staffs in the majors, against a team that does not make defensive mistakes.
And yet… it should have been easier. Three times the Rays were thrown out at second due to shoddy baserunning, and once at third. The Rays took a task of overcoming the largest deficit in franchise history and actually HANDICAPPED themselves, as if to say, FFFF challenge me.
Watching and listening to today’s 12-inning win was a surreal experience, one that featured me actually playing piano during stretches, just to put myself out of my misery. And if there is any one emotion that encapsulates the (Devil) Rays fan experience, it is that: misery. It always ends with a loss, of course, unless it doesn’t, but until it doesn’t, it always does. But for just one day, in the shadow of five remarkable experiences, this one is larger than we realize.
I can’t wait for tomorrow.