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The Pick-Me-Up Post

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It's times like these where I question why I'm a baseball fan. Heck, why do people root for sports teams in general? If you think about it, fandom makes so little sense. Here you are, a rational human being that has enough other worries and stresses in life, and yet you decide to go and tie your emotions to a team that it is completely beyond your control. You can't influence decisions or change the outcomes of games, and yet you root for this team with all your heart and soul. When they win, your fandom makes sense: everything else in life - even the crappy stuff - looks easier and more manageable, and the sun seems to shine a little brighter and the flowers smell a little more gorgeous. But if they lose...well, that's another story.

When your team loses, you're sucked down into a pit of frustration, anger, disappointment, and bitterness. When your friends rag on your losing team, you hang your head in shame and feel personally embarrassed, as if you'd done something stupid or dirty. "Yeah, we're sucking right now." You're stuck trying to find ways to cope with their losing, and to find ways to keep it from hurting you so deeply. Maybe you turn the games off early or don't watch them at all, futiley pretending your team doesn't exist and that the losing isn't hurting you that much. Maybe you lash out in anger or snark, trying to hate your team and distance yourself from the pain. Or maybe you resignedly slump your shoulders and take it all, internalizing the losses and feeling worthless and powerless in the process. But in the end, there's no "right" way to react to a losing streak; it still hurts, no matter what you do.

So why do we emotionally identify with teams, setting ourselves up for these emotional roller coaster rides? What sense does it make to allow our emotions to be controlled by something beyond our control, especially when the odds of a season ending in success (AKA a World Series victory) is so small and subject in part to luck? As fans, we're setting ourselves up for disaster each and every year....and yet despite feeling pain over and over again, we keep doing it. Are we masochists, or merely emotionally disturbed?

Whatever our reasons for rooting for them, the Rays are still in the midst of a horrible slide and we're all feeling quite edgy. Emotions are boiling over and some of the threads here have spiraled into negativity contests, seeing who can pick the most radically negative thing to say about the Rays. This thread is going to be the exact opposite. These Rays are still a damn good team, as evidenced by their start to this season, and we've got no right to be feeling this depressed at the moment. What bright spots do you see right now? What's something about the Rays that can make you happy? We've all expressed our negative opinions many times over the past few weeks; positive opinions only are allowed in this thread. Let's try and lighten the mood a little, even if it's only lasts until tonight.