I’ve been looking up a lot lately. Apparently, the sky is falling. I hear people are getting ready to fling themselves from skyscrapers, kiss their wives or husbands good-bye, and stock up on canned goods and bottled water.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. Yet I feel fine.
The Rays are in an early season slump. Word on the street is that I must react by “panicking” – whatever that means.
I’m not really sure how to panic for a sports team. After 9/11, I stopped talking to foreigners, cut communications with my neighbors, and even closed myself from my family. They could have all been terrorists. I tuned in regularly to the National Security Color Code Chart to see how safe I was. I watched my friends like a hawk to ensure they weren’t plotting against America. I also stopped eating French fries, French toast, Canadian bacon, and Taco Bell. I took every precaution.
A few years ago, after the stock market collapsed, I again took immediate action. I closed all my accounts, withdrew all my money from the bank, cancelled all my credit cards, and liquidated my assets. “Cash was king” they said, so I moved mine to a shoebox (size 3) underneath my bed. I still don’t trust banks or any other financial institution and shudder when I hear the words “too big to fail”.
But although I am an expert on social panicking, I have never figured out how to panic about a sports team. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Rays just as much as the next cowbell-ringing afro-clad fan, but what can I do? I know I need to do something.
Maybe I will call a sports talk radio station. I’m sure talking about the team with other people who don’t have a stake in the Rays day-to-day operations will help. Perhaps one of the players on the team will turn the dial between their sips of champagne, hear my complaint, and realize they have to swing harder, not strike out as often, and hit the ball where the fielders aren’t. And maybe by hearing my suggestion, they will actually do it. Then, if the pitchers cooperate, maybe the Rays will win a few games.
Maybe I will start a petition to influence the Rays front office. Dan Johnson isn’t doing much this year, so maybe if I get 5,000 signatures I can force Andrew Friedman to trade Johnson, James Shields, and a prospect or two to St. Louis for Albert Pujols. Pujols can hit, right? Maybe if Friedman sees the 5,000 names he will acquiesce to our demands and make a much-needed personnel decision. We see the team struggling, and darn it, we are not happy. Something needs to be done.
Maybe I will stage a protest outside Tropicana Field and insist Joe Maddon stop his lineup tinkering and other “outside of the box” methods. Maybe if we get 1,000 people to hold up signs Joe will hear our message. I’ll buy the markers, make the signs, and even start the chants if that’s what needs to be done. Joe’s methods might have worked last year, but this is 2011. We are not happy. And if Joe can’t do what he needs to do to win games, then “Joe Must Go”.
Maybe I will boycott. I won’t go to any more games until they have a winning record. That will show that underachieving pack of losers. They will look up to the crowd and see my empty seat and a tear will drop from their eye. So of course, they will swing harder, not strike out as often, and hit the ball where the fielders aren’t. All to earn back my love.
The only other idea I have is to maybe sacrifice a live chicken, like Pedro Cerrano in Major League. And if like in Major League, I can’t kill a real chicken because of building codes or PETA or some other law against animal cruelty, a bucket of KFC will suffice. Or if I value my arteries, I’ll just eat a chicken sandwich like my man Wade Boggs.
I’m honestly concerned here. I want to panic. I am a master of the art of panicking. And the Rays early season funk is troubling everyone else so very deeply that I know I should do something.
I want to take action. I just don’t know what to do.
Maybe I’ll ask a Red Sox fan.