It's Opening Day at Tropicana Field, and you know what that means: Anything is possible.
Opening Day is about rebirth, about fresh starts, about big fat fun wishes. It's the genie bottle of sports metaphors. That great newspaperman Thomas Boswell even waxed poetic about it: Why Time Begins on Opening Day.
So when your Tampa Bay Rays take the turf tonight against the Seattle Mariners, it's entirely reasonable, and entirely mandatory, to assume that, come October, Carl Crawford & Co. will be playing in the World Series.
(They crushed the Yanks for the pennant, natch.)
And after winning the World Series in seven games, thanks to a walk-off homer by American League MVP B.J. Upton, your Tampa Bay Rays will receive a ticker tape parade down Central Avenue, which even folks in Tampa will brave the bridge to attend.
And as a result of the Rays' mind-blowing victory, newspaper sales will skyrocket as everyone in Florida, in the Southern states, in the country, will clamor for Rays stories and pictures and zany Joe Maddon quotes to hang on their Frigidaires.
And this rabid excitement for our ragtag World Champs will also commence a hellzapoppin' downtown boom — and an uptown splash, and a midtown renaissance, and a Feather Sound huzzah. There might be a recession elsewhere in the U.S. of A., but not here, not in St. Pete, not in Rays Nation, baby!
And yes, the Rays' triumph will ultimately lead to a new waterfront stadium, which everyone will agree was the greatest idea in the history of great ideas. And they will call it Al Lang Field, of course, because it's never too late to correct past wrongs.
And in the posh confines of this bejeweled downtown stadium, where the championship banner hangs in straightaway center, there will be a watering hole called Ferg's Too, a cozier version of the loyal sports pub that once lubed losing streaks next door to the Trop.
And while drinking at Ferg's Too in the new waterfront stadium in the revitalized downtown in recession-free St. Petersburg, you — yes, you — will meet your future spouse, who just happens to be wearing the same Scott Kazmir jersey as you. You will talk and laugh and flirt. And when you stroll out of the ballpark together, you will discover, after the goodnight kiss, that your future spouse is heir to the Mack Truck fortune.
The next day, you will quit your job at Arby's.
You and Mack will have lots of children (one named Ferg) and grandchildren (one named Ray). You're a happy millionaire now, and you live in a mansion, and you drive one of those red Magnum P.I. Ferraris you've always wanted, and you have Rays season tickets on the third-base line, and you spend every anniversary drinking and flirting in Ferg's Too.
And you will continue to live in St. Petersburg, home of the World Champion Tampa Bay Rays, because really now, why would you leave?
This place is paradise.
And to think, it all started on Opening Day 2008.
• • •
Whether you're at the Trop tonight, or merely by the radio in spirit, here's a few 'tween-inning songs to stoke those hardball fantasies — including a special seventh inning rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
To contribute your own songs to the playlist, go to blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic. Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467.