Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You'll Always Be the Devil Rays to Me

A few observations as I was watching the Rays hold off the Red Sox in nail-biting fashion the other night:

1. This marks the eighth time in the past eleven years that the American League representative in the World Series has come from the A.L. East—and the first time during that time frame that the A.L. East has been represented by a team other than the Yankees or the Red Sox. This makes me happy. I’d be happier if the team in question was a scrappy bunch of underachievers in orange and black, but, as my dad says, “If wishes were horses, then scientists would clone Matt Wieters and he'd be able to play every position and pitch, even, and nobody would think it was weird that the Orioles were winning a bunch of games with a roster full of cloned dudes because they’d be too busy getting their asses handed to them by an army of Wieters.”

My dad says that all the time.

2. David Price. Good at baseball. David Blaine. Bad at magic.

"For my next trick, I will attempt to dribble a football. Seriously, guys, it's not that easy."

They look kind of similar, right?

3. Rays fans don't know how to party. This is not a big surprise, I guess. Tampa is not a baseball town, after all. (I guess it’s a football town? I’m really not sure. Tampa is mysterious. They have alligators there). And I realize that, as recently as a month ago, the Rays' entire fan base consisted of 37 relatives of Dioner Navarro, the staff at Baseball Prospectus and my Uncle Wayne. And, yes, for the first ten years of their existence, the Rays were utterly, spectacularly terrible, and it’s hard to rally around a 5th place team. But none of these reasons can excuse the following transgressions of fandom that occurred during the ALCS:

a. The signs in the Tampa stands were hilariously amateurish. I (Heart) Upton! read one. Beat Those Sox! read another. And when the final out was recorded, a few fans in the upper deck dramatically unfurled a vinyl sign that read: “First Time in History.” Nevermind the fact that ten years is not a lot of "history." The sign looked like it had been lifted from a used car lot, like they had cut off the bottom part that said "Geo Prizms and Dodge Neons Priced Under $1K! No, Money Down!"

Dear Rays fans: you owe the fans from Bases Loaded royalties for those horrible signs.

Does no one in Tampa have the ability to craft an even halfway decent pun? No ‘Bring the Pena’? No ‘Rays ‘em up’? It took me two seconds to come up with those, and I'm not even drunk. Well, I'm kind of drunk.

b. The celebration music they were playing in the stadium made me envious of the deaf.

In the song “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drum” by A Perfect Circle, there’s a moment when singer Maynard James Keenan hisses Go back to sleep in a voice that sounds like knives being sharpened. It takes place roughly three minutes into the song, and it is terrifying. When the Rays were celebrating their victory on the field, the song playing over the loudspeaker sounded like a loop of that same terrifying, sharp-edged line. It is a frighteningly awesome line, from a frighteningly awesome song. But to listen to it—or something that sounded like it—over and over was the aural equivalent of staring directly into Medusa’s eyes. After a minute, my ears started to bleed. After two minutes, I ran upstairs to grab my baby daughter from her crib, all but certain that the apocalypse was nigh. And before we reached the fourth minute, I had turned to stone. This was not celebration music. This was music to accompany great and terrible acts of violence. This was music to justify an insanity plea. And yet, it was still better than “Celebrate good times, c’mon!”*.

4. I'd like to point out that Jeff and I liked the Rays way, way before it was cool. Like, back in the days of Crime Dog and Greg Vaughn.

My Series prediction? Rays in 6. However, part of me will be rooting for the Phillies because, if they win, the city of Philadelphia will riot—and Papa needs a new Liberty Bell.

* Please do not read this as an indictment of Kool or any of the members of his Gang—all of whom are fine, upstanding citizens who have more Funkiness in their little fingers than I have in my entire Dockers-wearing, Double-Windsor-knotting body.

No comments: