You slowly make your way to the Party Deck as the chanting grows louder. As you peek around the corner you see the source: 30 hooded figures sway as they chant in tongues like a Pentecostal Church. What are they chanting? It sounds like...
Just as you pull out your cell phone to inform the authorities, you catch a brief glimpse of the baseball bat swinging towards your face before you are knocked unconscious.
Hours later you awake. The world is hazy. Suddenly, ice-cold water splashes on your face causing your cheeks to burn at the frigid sensation. A dark, hooded figure stands before you and two more to your sides lift you to your feet.
"Wha-What's going on?" you stammer.
The hooded figure booms back, "You've seen what you should not have seen, Joe Maddon!"
As your sight returns you see the figure in the shadow of the hood. It couldn't be!
"Todd Kalas? Is that you?" you ask.
Kalas lowers his hood with a maniacal chortle.
"Yes, Joe, it is I, the one and only Todd Kalas! Leader of the Church of Raymondo!"
You respond with the blankest of stares, as Kalas lays out his evil plan.
"You see, Joe, we are waiting for the day the One True Raymondo returns. The day the Rays shine through the sky and the Devil Rays rise from the depths. It will be a day of reckoning for all the unbelievers. The only problem with this is you, Joe. For the One True Raymondo to appear the Rays must again finish last in the AL East. We only needed three last place finishes when you came aboard with your wacky lineups and irrational numerical sayings. You gave us two, but in winning these last three years you have delayed the coming of our true God too long!"
"What are you going to do, Kalas? You can't make me lose," you retort.
"No, I can't, but I can replace you."
As he says this, another hooded figure emerges from the shadows. The figure removes his hood and it's as if you're starring in the mirror. A true doppelganger.
"You know who that is, Joe? That's usher Allen Dodson, your lookalike. He'll take your place and lead the Rays to a last place finish so that the One True Raymondo can return! And this," Kalas pulls a thin black collar from his robe, "This will make sure you keep your mouth shut...
Two Months Later
You watch as the Rays give up seven runs in the third inning to the Mariners. A single tear rolls down your cheek as you see Longoria sitting on the bench while Manny Ramirez mans third base. You stifle a cry as starting pitcher Kelly Shoppach lobs another 57MPH fastball to catcher David Price. You want to scream, but the mind control collar tells you to obey and watch silently from the stands.
You are an usher now. Condemned to watch as the Rays complete the single greatest collapse in the history of sport. Condemned to watch the sullen faces of the children you usher to their seats. Condemned to witness the horror of the coming of the one true Raymondo.
As the final out is recorded and the Rays clinch a last place finish in the AL East the ground begins to shake, and the sky is filled with light. You think back on your life and wonder: