Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rays' comeback worth staying up late


No, it wasn't the Tampa Bay Rays' play-by-play guy calling a dinger against the New York Yankees in Wednesday's crucial regular season ending game at the Trop.

It was my wife chanting in front of our living room TV, urging on Matt Joyce to encore his Tuesday night 3-run blast.

Ditto for when Johnny Damon came up to bat.

"C'mon Johnny. C'monnn. HOME RUN!"

That was the bottom of the first inning.

After Mark Teixiera's grand slam in the top of the second, making it 5-0 Yankees, Sherri became a tad subdued.

As did most Rays fans, I imagine.

Which is the funny thing about my wife, who is anything but vocal when it comes to watching our national pastime.

Especially in our house.

That's because of my big mouth going when we've had the Philadelphia Phillies, my favorite ballclub, on virtually every night of the season.

So since the Phillies clinched long ago, we've been watching her team.

Down 5-0, Sherri hadn't given up the ghost.

"Let's go Ra-a-ays, let's go!" she began repeating occasionally as the game wore on.

Her tone changed, however, when Teixiera went yard again to make it 6-0.

"Cra-a-a-a-ap," Sherri said, disappointedly.

It was almost the same when Andruw Jones --- this guy still playing? --- went deep to make it 7-0.

"Oh, ma-a-a-a-an," she said. "I think it's going to be over tonight."

Well, honey, we've still got the Phillies.

But ... several innings later.


When things seemed their bleakest for the Rays, Sherri went to the bedroom to watch the rest of that game while I watched the Phillies go onto snuff out the fading Atlanta Braves last chance to get into the playoffs.

I didn't have to watch the Rays game to know what was happening.

My wife's clapping heralded each big moment in the wild six-run eighth inning.

Then when Evan Longoria smacked his three-run homer, followed by Dan Johnson's two-out, two-strike game-tying homer in the ninth, all I heard were screams of joy.

I finally turned off the Phillies' game to join her.

"Oh, now you want to watch my team," Sherri greeted me, sweetly sarcastic.

As the game went into extra innings, she kept an eye on the game and the other on the clock.

She had to be in Tampa early Thursday, which meant getting up at 6:15 a.m.

Yet Sherri hung on through the 10th and 11th innings, then --- "YEEEAAAAAY!" --- fairly flew out of bed, arms held high just like Longoria on his dramatic game-winner in the 12th that propelled the Rays into the postseason.

It was worth staying up for, we agreed.

I hope my wife still feels that way when the alarm goes off.

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