Sunday, May 11, 2014
My Mom is the Ray's New Clean-Up Hitter!!!
The Rays haven't had much luck at home lately. It's been more than 2 weeks (I think) since their last home victory. The only major thing that changed between tonight every other home game this year was the presence of my Mom. They needed a victory badly and I knew she would be the key to getting them back on track and she delivered!
I had mentioned that Mom and I had taken a little break in-between ball games - we hadn't been out to the ball park together since 1986 when her and I teamed up to cheer the New York Mets all the way to the World Series.
Tonight wasn't the World Series - just a regular, early in the season, non-division game featuring a battle between number 5 starters who probably won't have spots in their rotations come September, but my date for the night made it one of the best games ever!!!
Mom and I had a BLAST!! She hasn't been watching much baseball, but it all came back to her quickly and she had a smile on her face from the moment we walked in the door and we got our DJ Kitty plush hats!
We took plenty of pics, but they were all on Mom's camera - I will get them from her shortly and post them up - for now I did snap a pic of the DJ Kitty hat to share. I wore my DJ Kitty hat all game long as many fans did. My Mom is not a hat person, but she was wearing a Rays cap and didn't wanna cover it up. She had to work today, as well as tomorrow, which is why we couldn't celebrate Mother's Day at the ball park on Sunday... Anyway, when she got home from work today there was a brandy new Rays cap waiting on the kitchen counter for her!
This was a last minute plan - I had invited her late last night and today while she was working my Dad bought her a Rays cap as a surprise. AWESOME!!! I had probably could have given her on the 16 different Rays hats that I have accumulated over the years, but I thought it was great that My Dad did that for her...
Everything about tonight worked out perfectly. We decided to do this late last night and today I was able to find FANTASTIC seats behind home plate at a decent price and she was able to work her regular schedule at work and still get out in time for the game. I was able to mow my lawn and get my "chores" done around the house prior to picking her up.
We got there quickly without hitting any traffic and we were able park in my regular spot for only 5 bucks!!! It is generally $10 on the weekend - sometimes 15. The spot is about a half mile walk from the Trop. Perfect to stretch you out a little before sitting for 3 hours and its in the ideal spot to circumvent traffic and get right on the highway post game. Mom starts work at 5 AM, so I was a little worried about having her out too late, but the game was fairly quick and the parking slot worked - we avoided the traffic and I had her home safe by eleven o'clock.
On the ride home we talked about the game - Mom knows the game well - AND we agreed that we need to do this frequently... I wish we'd done this sooner, but I am so glad we did it tonight!
I truly am a lucky man. This spring my Dad and I were able to go out to a spring training game together and tonight I got to take my Mom out to see my favorite team. AWESOME!
Speaking of awesome - that is what the Rays were tonight!!!
With Erik Bedard on the hill I wasn't too confident - I even warned my Mom that the game could get out of hand quickly and we might see a lot of calls to the bullpen. Well, Bedard made me eat my words. He walked himself into trouble a bit, but worked out of it. He pitched 6 full innings of shut out ball, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 4 Indians. Juan Carlos Oviedo was his relief and he threw 2 shutout innings holding Cleveland hitless. The Rays were pitching like the '95 Braves - over the first 8 innings at least... Even though it wasn't a save situation - the bullpen had been overworked and Grant Balfour needed to get some work in...
He got plenty of work... And made things pretty interesting. If all went smooth he could have preserved the 0ne-hit shutout and it would have been the first staff 1-hitter since early in 2012. He didn't preserve anything and after a couple batters the mood at the Trop changed drastically. After a couple singles, he walked the bases loaded with NO OUTS!
Perhaps Balfour needs that pressure to be effective... He allowed a sac fly to blow the shutout, but get the first out and then he coaxed a ground ball double play to end it and bring the Rays to a 7-1 victory!!!
The offense, which has been somewhere between weak and non-existent this year, was on fire! Seven of the starting nine had base hits, they were 4 for 6 with runners in scoring position and Zobrist, Longo and Wil Myers all had gappers for extra bases.
Our seats were just to the right of home plate, so we were directly behind the Rays on-deck circle. I wore a dark blue Rays jersey tonight - repping my favorite player. When Mom saw a man get out of the dugout to warm up wearing a jersey identical to mine which said "Jennings 8" on the back - she quickly identified that I was a fan of his and she cheered when he stepped to the plate. He delivered a base hit, stole second and scored courtesy of David DeJesus and put the Rays on the board in the third inning. They added a pair of runs in the 4th, 5th and 7th innings while holding the Indians scoreless.
It was a great night for the home team and an AMAZING evening for my Mom and me! I hope she's not tired heading to work by 5AM - I think she had a pretty GREAT night as well.
I hope she will join me for a ball game again, but I am SO glad she did tonight! It was a perfect evening for my Mom and me and I can't stop smiling about it, which is why I am blabbering on and sharing my story with all of you...
As end note - this is all about my MOM, but since I don't have pics of her and I yet, I decided to start the post off with a photo of Dad and I at a spring training game in March - it's all in the family, right?
If you are a rep of the Rays and you want to arrange for my Mom (the good luck charm) to attend ALL of your home games, you can contact me here;).
Thanks for reading my story.
Viva DJ KITTY!!!
Batter up! Go Rays!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!