Posts Tagged ‘rays’

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Rays make the postseason for the first time, and I will be there.

October 2, 2008

I am looking forward to this weekend.  Not just because it’s the weekend, but because I am going to take a much needed, “mini” vacation to Central Florida to see Matt, Slamwire’s muscle in the programming department, get married.  This gives Alaina and I a chance to revisit all of the places we used to frequent when we first began dating.  A nice “pre-honeymoon” as I have called it.

Alaina and Jarrod, watching the Devil Rays circa 2005

Alaina and Jarrod, watching the Devil Rays circa 2005

As I planned this trip over 8 months ago, I realized I would be running through Tampa and thought “holy cow!  I can go see a Rays game!”  Many of you may know, I have sat through many a game at Tropicana Field (when living in the Tampa area) and watched them get their brains beat out.  I had a deep passion for my loveable-loser Devil Rays.  Since I have left, the team was sold, the stadium improved, the team changed thier name to the “Rays” (no Devil), and changed their colors.  And oh yeah, they started WINNING!  After sitting through countless beatdowns in the cheap seats, I moved to Birmingham and never had a chance to share in all of the great things that are going on with that franchise.

Which brings me to my planning stage.  I looked at the baseball schedule and realized that the regular season would end the week before, and thought, “dang!  I won’t get to see a game.  Unless they make the playoffs (snort snort).”  And I watched this season unfold, with them leading the AL East the whole way.  What an unbeliveable turnaround.  Worst record in baseball in 2007.  First place in MLB’s toughest division in 2008.

So Friday night, I will be at the Rays-Whitesox playoff game at Tropicana Field.  This weekend will be sureal.

Sureal because Alaina and I will return to places we last visited as a struggling (financially), post college couple.  And we will return only a few months before we become husband and wife.

Sureal because I will see Matt Jaeh, a guy I have known since elementary school, get married.

Sureal because I will get to sit in the Trop, where so many baseball games were lost and not cared about, and watch a team now know for winning, where fans suddenly care ALOT.

And sureal, mostly, because…. well, I never get a day off anymore.

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Josh Hamilton = Superhuman

July 15, 2008

I know I have been lax on the blog updates.. but I’ve been busy with several exciting projects I will talk about soon.  But I had to share this…

For those who don’t know who Josh Hamilton is, he was the #1 Baseball Draft Pick by my Tampa Bay Rays in 1999.  Hope were high for him as he was labeled the next A-Rod, but a car wreck and a fall into drug addiction put his career and life in jeopardy.  After the Rays gave him chance after chance, he was banned from baseball and told to go clean up his life before he even made it out of the minors.  The story is well publicized, he almost died, and ended up on his grandmother’s front porch, starving and begging for help.  She nursed him back to health, and he slowly kicked his heroine addiction.

During his journey back, Josh even appeared on AE’s Flip This House, where he worked for Richard Davis’ construction team while Richard taught him life lessons.  At the end of the show, Josh began playing independent baseball again.

After three years out of organized baseball, Hamilton began his slow climb back, eventually landing with the Rangers in the major leagues this year.  Never one to hide his past, he has always been open about his demons, and advised young people to not make the same mistakes he did.

We all love a story of redemption, and Josh’s rookie year has been breakout.  The one time phenom even made the all-star team!

So fast-forward to last night.  After years of struggle, mistakes, and a long journey back, Josh Hamilton entered the major league home run derby. And in what was probably one of the most redeeming nights of his life, Josh lit the world on fire on the grandest of stages: the soon-to-be defunct “House That Ruth Built” (Yankee Stadium).

So take a few minutes and watch the video below and revel in a man’s moment… his resurrection to all that he was supposed to be. Josh Hamilton blasted a record 28… wait… 28!!!…  homers in the first round, with some of them being some of the biggest bombs I have ever seen in Yankee Stadium.  My only regret is that he doesn’t play for Rays.