I've probably been to a thousand baseball games in my lifetime. Several hundred of those have been of the Tampa Bay Rays variety. Not once, in my entire baseball-watching career, have I caught a foul ball... until today.
See, today was special.
A pal and I kicked it off with brunch on the rooftop of the Birchwood Hotel, followed by a quick pint at Green Bench Brewing, but still made it to our seats just in time for first pitch. We got to see Brandon Guyer's hot streak begin with his lead off single in the first. We got to see Daniel Nava walk, and Logan Forsythe move Guyer into scoring position with a fly ball. We even got to see Joey Butler's RBI single to right to put the Rays up 1-0 early.
The second inning, though, is where magic happened. At least for me. After J.P. Arencibia and Kevin Kiermaier strikeouts, Rene Rivera strode to the plate. He had something special in store. Rene swung at a first pitch fastball, and sent it flying foul over the catcher's head. The ball bounced off the second level and careened towards me. I couldn't believe it. This was my moment. I reached out to grab it, but it was just out of my reach. It bounced off the back of the woman next to me and somehow wedged itself between my back and my seat. As a crowd formed around me, I reached back and grabbed the ball. I held it up like Simba, as the cheers washed over me. It finally happened. I had my ball.
Heart pounding, I knew I had to calm myself and refocus. I had a recap to write, and you people demand my best.
Our lead was short-lived. In the top of the third, Omar Infante and Drew Butera singles began the threat. Our beloved Zorilla did the first permanent damage with an RBI single to center to tie the game. Lorenzo Cain followed that up with another single to right that Butera home to put the Royals up 2-1.
The Rays answered in the bottom of the frame. Brandon Guyer sent a 1-2 pitch flying way out to left field, curving just inside the foul pole to tie the game 2-2. Brandon really got ahold of this one.
I saw it mentioned on Twitter today that Kevin Kiermaier really is the new face of the Rays. He certainly lived up to that praise today, as his solo shot in the bottom of the sixth put the Rays up for good. A line drive SHOT to right field that was a no-doubter off the bat.
3-2 was your final. Brandon Guyer was an absolute monster, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs and an RBI. Alex Colome was a blast to watch as well, firing some serious heat and striking out Drew Butera and Lorenzo Cain over his two relief innings. The win puts the Rays record at 64-66. Chris Archer takes the mound in Baltimore tomorrow.