As we get ready for Game Three of the World Series, something popped into my head watching the fans in KC that are so excited about hosting the Fall Classic. It made me think of 2008 and that magical summer of baseball when Tampa Bay became a baseball town and kids showed up for school half asleep because the stayed up past midnight watching the Rays play the Phillies. St Pete was going hog-wild for the World Series. Fans shaved their hair into Mohawks, schools had Rays Day and all the kids were asked to were Rays gear to school. Our lives stopped for a month for the post season. The streets were empty during the games with bars packed with fans crowded around TV screens hanging on every pitch. Wow it was something that made the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. It gave you chills down your spine. It was heaven.
Everyone once in a while something else pops into my head, what would it be like if in 1992 the San Francisco Giants really moved to St Pete? I grew up in northern California going to see the Giants in the coldest ballpark in America. I was there in 1992 when it was announced the Giants were moving to ST Pete. I remember what it was like in those days. The Giants had tried over and over again to a new ballpark for years. They couldn’t get anywhere and finally the owner threw in the towel and sold the team and they were headed to Florida. Fans in California didn’t believe it at first that they were losing their team. Then the sadness that set in when they realized they were seeing the team for the very last time. I was at the “LAST GAME” at Candlestick Park in 1992. I saw old men weeping, and children asking “what is wrong mommy”? Truth be told I was the last person to leave that day hiding in the upper deck for three hours after the game until a SF cop found me and my uncle and forced us to leave the ballpark. Sometimes when I get passionate about the need to get something going on the Rays new ballpark I feel that day in my heart and need to share with everyone in the Tampa Bay Area what it was like in the San Francisco Bay Area that day.
What would life be like if Tampa Bay had the Giants and San Francisco had the expansion Rays. If Evan Longoria played at AT&T Park, and Buster Posey played for the St Pete Giants. What if we were packing Fergs today talking about the Bay Area’s attempt to win three World Champions in six years. What would the Bay Area be like if the Giants had moved to ST Pete. We will never know.