Rantings and ravings from an admitted fan (as in fanatic!) of the Boston Red Sox. Updated only occasionally, but with my take on recent developments in Red Sox Nation. Updated more frequently during the end of the regular season and playoffs (hopefully).

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The (Don't Call Me Devil) Rays

So the Sox were swept in a 3-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays this week.

FULL DISCLOSURE ALERT: I grew up in St. Petersburg, FL, about 6 miles from where the Rays play at Tropicana Field. Of course, this was before there was a baseball team, and when I lived there the "World's Largest Shuffleboard Court" (as the Trop was called in those days) was used as bait to get teams to relocate to Florida. All that happened when I lived there was the White Sox used St. Petersburg as the "other suitor " to get new Comiskey built, and the Giants used St. Petersburg as the "other suitor" to get PacBell or whatever they're calling the ballpark in San Francisco these days. But after I moved away, MLB gracioiusly awarded Tampa Bay an expansion ballclub, and the Devil Rays were born. It was such big news, my brother and I flew down to take our parents to the first game in franchise history (pictured here).

But since I never lived there while the Devil Rays existed, I never had much of a chance to root, root root for the home team. Besides, they have been nothing to write home about in their first decade of existence, finishing in last place in the AL East in nine of the last 10 years. Let's face it, the Devil Rays have been the laughing stock of baseball for the past decade.

This year, with some nice young players, really good team chemistry, decent pitching a fine manager, the Rays (they've now dropped the "Devil" from their name) are playing the best baseball in the league if you believe the records. Their three-game sweep of the Sox this week was a "statement" to the rest of the league that they are, indeed, for real.

So why am I not happy for my hometown team?

Well, there are a few reasons. The nasty rivalry with the Red Sox is a big reason. If my Red Sox don't get along with a team, I'm naturally not going to like them. But I'd have to say the biggest reason I can't stand the Rays is their announcer, Dwayne Staats. I find this gentleman to be -- hmm, how can I put this politely? -- an asshole.

How in the name of Dewon Brazelton can this guy be so arrogant when he announces for the Rays? It's the Rays!!! -- note above, nine last-place finishes in 10 years, and this guy sounds like they've been dominating baseballf for a decade. I just don't get the arrogance all of a sudden because they've pulled 1/2 of a season out of their collective you-know-whats??? These guys are gaining on the White Sox for the title of "Announcers who make you want to shoot your friggin' television."

As I've said before, I live outside of Philadelphia and watch my Sox on the MLB "Extra Innings" package, and they usually give you the home team's feed. Since the Sox were in St. Pete this week, I was stuck with two gut-wrenching games of listening to Dwayne talk about how Zeus almighty came down from Mt. Olympus and populated the Rays organization with baseball geniuses (or is that genia? geni?). I know the announcers work for the team, but he takes it to a new level. At least Don Orsillo and Rem Dog keep it real -- and if one of the Sox screws up, they'll talk about it. I admit my bias, but I feel like they call a nice, even-handed game, which is pretty much all you can ask out of an announcer.

Staats even committed to ultimate broadcaster's sin by making himself the story last week for his comments on MLB reducing Coco Crisp's suspension, saying that other baseball teams "served at the pleasure of the Red Sox." I don't even know what that means, but I don't know the meaning of most of the babblings from this man.

Thank goodness the Wednesday Game 3 was on ESPN, so I actually enjoyed the telecast -- though not the result on the field.

Sure, some of this is sour grapes. I don't like trailing the Rays in the standings, even though I secretly think it's a good thing for baseball to have someone besides the Red Sox or Yankees leading the AL East for a week or two. So let the Rays have their moment, as they are on a nice roll. Hell, I'll even give them July, and then it's back to reality! :-)

But while they are having their moment, can someone please throw a muzzle on that pompous jerk in the booth


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