Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Defining Moments

Every season every team has their own defining moment. Sadly, I believe that last night's complete and utter collapse may be that defining moment for our beloved Devil Rays. Coming back from a walk-off loss or losing a game in which you led in the 9th is hard enough, but to be given a 10 run head-start and then to subsequently squander such a seemingly insurmountable lead may be close to impossible to recover from.

Last night's loss is the type of loss that sits quietly in every players' subconscious just waiting for its chance to whisper quietly in their ear the next time they find themselves in a clutch situation. Lurking, undetected, biding its time until it can reach back and cause them one second of pause, one instant of self-doubt, one slight hesitation that could cost them another game, and then another...

Last night's loss can be a cancer in every players' mind for the rest of the season. It can be the defining moment that sinks the Tampa Bay ship. A moment that could single-handedly end the possibility that these Devil Rays are going to be able to keep up in the AL East.

Last night's loss coupled with a sudden rash of injuries could leave the Devil Rays with a victim mentality from which they may not recover. They may feel sorry for themselves and mentally pack it in, they may blame circumstances or perhaps each other, they may blame the umps or Joe Maddon, or some sort of hoaxy Lake Erie Curse; adversely, they may feel like fools and spend the rest of the season trying to prove that they're better than that, they may finally realize that no one is going to hand them 90 wins just for showing up at the park, they may band together and decide that its time to start taking this season seriously,they may rise up on the wings of eagles...

Or they just might not care.


Dustin Fridkin said...

i totally agree. this year's devil rays squad is making last year's rays look like they caught lightning in a bottle. but they didn't. they were, and are, a good team. they're simply under-performing, and last night (to say nothing of freaking tonight) is a great example. they just can't hit on all cylinders. sometimes the offense is hot. sometimes it isn't. sometimes starting pitching is lights out; sometimes the bullpen is on. rarely is everything good in the same game. this team reminds me of the 2005 devil rays. some days, they beat the red sox. other days, they look as bad as or worse than the worst teams in the league. having seen this team live up to its potential last year, it's hard to watch.

i am loath to get too down on maddon, but i have to say this again. it is someone's responsibility to make sure this young team performs the way it should. that someone is papa joe. if this team continues to fail--arg! it's so irritating that they can't win even as jason bartlett has an unbelievably hot start to the season, zorilla kills the ball, gross is hitting, and longoria continues to be a freaking beast--and the blame has to fall, ultimately, on the recently-extended skipper. joe maddon, it might be about time for a sweet lou-style meltdown. let's call guys out, bench some "stars," and shake things up. the time to get serious about this was a month ago, but, having tried to wait it out, there's no shame in starting right freaking now. let's see some legit concern, some action, some sense that the rays are as concerned as rays fans about the direction this team is headed!

DirtbagFan said...

I think the change at the lead-off spot was coming, but Bartlett's injury put an end to that.

Hopefully Burrell will be ready (soon)to hop in and be a spark plug...

Michael_Rays Rev said...

The shake-up happened last week when Joe sent Percy & Kaz packing. That and bringing up Price was supposed to be the shake-up for this lethargic team. The Rays can get back on track, their starting pitching is good enough to ensure that. If Price, Garza, and Big Game start getting you good starts, then this team can still be competitive.

Have faith! It's not even the all-star break yet!

DirtbagFan said...

When exactly should we push the panic button if not now? August?

Dustin Fridkin said...

now is the perfect time to panic. here's why:

your number two starter and your closer are on the DL--maybe because of injury but more likely because of total ineffectiveness.

your leadoff hitter is, not to put too fine a point on it, hitting about as badly as any everyday player in the big leagues.

everybody except for your left fielder, who bizarrely refuses to leadoff even though he's a one-man offensive Juggernaut, a couple of utility players, and your infielders, are having "disappointing" seasons so far. and your middle infield is injured.

the other teams in your division did not suck last year, and are better this year.

you cannot beat teams out of your division that do, in fact, suck.

this team is, right now, mid nosedive. i hope they can pull up. i'm starting to have doubts.