Monday, August 21, 2006

Excuse me, but can I pet your mascot?

When I think of mascots, there aren't too many I would actually like to encounter in person. After all, who really wants to encounter a diamond back, a shark, or a Bengal?.. And last time I checked it was not "p.c." to pet Indians, Patriots, or Saints.. (you could have a sexual harassment lawsuit on your hands). And as for inanimate objects, I don't even want to think about touching a bolt of lightning, or a pair of any one's sox, regardless of their color.

So imagine my surprise that I actually got a chance to interact, cowgirl to fish (I guess you can call them that) with Tampa Bay's MLBaseball mascot, the devil rays. In all fairness, they really weren't devil rays, but Cownose rays, because of the shape of their head. The Devil Rays keep about thirty of these fellas in the "touch tank" out behind center field, where visitors can visit with them or even feed them for ten minutes at a time. While they were generally pretty friendly, stick your hand in there with a little bit of fish, and you'll have thirty new best friends. So, don't feel too sorry for these guys. You may think their lives suck, but in reality only their mouths do. They not only have a great view to heckle the outfielders from, but they get fed fish about every ten minutes. If you ask me.. that's the life. (Wait, I know some people like that... only its beer instead of fish.. LOL.)

Anyways, I was at Tropicana field that night in honor of college alumni night. There were representatives from all sorts of schools: UF, Miami, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Penn State, and of course, my alma mater. Even the mascots from a lot of the Florida schools showed up. Sure they had to break up a few "incidents" between Albert and Sebastian, but at the end of the night all was forgiven.

Before the game, I hung out with Brian Killingsworth and my family down on the field. I got a sweet tour of the facilities including the new club level they just added. I think my sheer presence may have been enough to distract all Cleveland's "little Indian boys," who decided one stretching session simply was not adequate enough. This only further demonstrates they don't grow women there like they do in the south. Many of the Rays players came over, introduced themselves and posed for pictures with me. Sometimes, part of me would cringe, remembering an article I read recently in GQ about how some MLB players like to um.. "urinate" on their hands to prevent calluses and blisters. (yuck.. eck.. ) But one of them assured me that was strictly a "Giants" thing though. :)

I then spent the next few innings posing for pictures and doing radio interviews, getting everyone pumped for the beginning of college football season, and spending their Friday nights at "College Night at the Trop." I only wished we had something like that in Tallahassee. Who knows, it might have saved some of us from those "Dear Six pounds, Eight Ounce Baby Jesus, what did I do last night" Saturday mornings.

The Devil Rays were extremely hospitable to all my family and friends who came out to support and spend the evening with me. It was a real treat that my grandmother came out with us as well, because she rarely gets a night out on the town with us anymore.

At the end of the night, the Rays surprised everyone with a comeback victory, while the rest of the Devil Rays staff gave me my own surprise.. my very own customized devil rays jersey.. complete with STERGER on the back. I told the Rays if they ever need a cowgirl in the bullpen that I would be more than happy to oblige. Not that Kazmir needs to watch his back or anything, but I have proven "I got skills." (My "jock" of a mom made me practice throwing out the first pitch, because she didn't want me to embarrass the family name one afternoon in my backyard.) Besides, I might just fill out a pair of pants in the back better than he does. We will just have to wait and see though.

And that.. ladies and gentlemen is the ball game.

Admin note: Photos displayed courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times website, all photos in this particular post belong in full to the website...To view the complete list of pics, visit their official website


Jon said...

One would think in today's era of advanced technology and modern conveniences that there would be a more palatable way of preventing the formation of callouses than peeing on one's own hands. Then again maybe it should be somewhat comforting to know that no matter how advanced we become nature is always supreme... Tampa's a great town and I am glad you had a good time. Take care, Jenn. Peace.


Mikey said...

I love the jersey but unfortunately you'll need to get it changed. My last name is not Sterger ;O) You're beutiful keep it up...



My dad and I will be at the home game this sat. . .we will be celebrating his birthday and a picture with you would make his year!

If there is any chance of this happening I will make a donation to any type of cowgirl charity!

How great was that win over Miami last night!



Cameron said...

Hey Jen,

Congrats to your Noles on a huge win last night. Also caught you on ESPN congratulating one of the players hehe. Hope FSU and yourself continue to do well. Holla when you're in DC ;)