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Fans root for Rays in an array of ways

ST. PETERSBURG — She painted her nails blue, fastened her "TB" earrings and slid her right hand into the lucky cat puppet.

Janet Newberry Howe, 60, donned her Trop uniform Tuesday evening to cosmically support a Tampa Bay Rays' win.

"I was wearing this when we came back from 7-0 two years ago," she said, waving the "D.J. Kitty" glove. "Now I bring him to every game."

Newberry Howe, who runs a St. Petersburg antique shop, said her mother was a Rays season ticket holder. She has long loved the team, the underdogs. In 2011, after Evan Longoria hit the game-changing home run, a Sports Illustrated photographer snapped her pumping D.J. Kitty into the air.

"I don't care," she said, "if people think I'm crazy."

• • •

During the third inning, in the seats her family bought behind third base 10 years ago, 88-year-old Elsie Bauer sipped water and scotch.

The Columbus, Ohio, native in an Evan Longoria jersey sat with her daughter, Nancy, and hoped for a Game 5 against the Boston Red Sox. She admired from afar her favorite player, Jose Molina, who she first loved for his confidence on "other teams."

All her life, Bauer said, she has enjoyed baseball, the players, the spirit.

"I have no idea why," she said, "but I've been watching since I was a kid. I guess it grows on you."

• • •

The 16-year-old boy in the back of Section 129 clutched his baseball glove.

"I'm here to catch fly balls," he said.

Trey O'Shields, a Lakeside Christian high school student, said he has caught more than he can count at the Trop with the golden brown leather mitt.

His favorite?

"In '08, Dioner Navarro hit a ball that hit the back wall in 130 and bounced right into my hand. Right spot, right time."

• • •

The 54-year-old retiree from Spring Hill stood in line for the Power Alley concession stand, craving nachos and stroking his chin.

Paul Nolan's gray stubble, much to his wife's dismay, was growing into a gray beard.

"I can't shave until the Rays lose," he said.

• • •

Suzanne Golden, who owns a St. Petersburg art gallery and pet-sitting business, felt festive this week.

So the 56-year-old went to a Central Avenue hair salon for a Rays-inspired look.

"I told them to give me a blue streak," said Golden, a brunette season ticket holder.

But it's nothing permanent.

"It's just an extension," she said.

Fans root for Rays in an array of ways 10/08/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 2:43pm]
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