Thursday, 14 February 2008

It's Official: Jays-Rays to Play at Disney officially announced today that the Jays and Rays will indeed be hooking up for a 3-game set April 22-24 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. instead of playing at the Rays' usually 80% empty dump of a stadium, Tropicana Field. Snooker enthusiasts will be badly disappointed, while minor league baseball fans will be delighted to see two big league clubs lock horns in a 9500-seat glorified Spring Training facility. At the very least, one hopes that being outdoors will do something to drown out the constant heckling of the most annoying baseball fan on the face of the earth.

For years, something has really turned me off to the entire Tampa Bay operation. There's the obvious colour scheme and the name, which have been revamped for 2008. But is "Tampa Bay Rays" really an improvement on the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays"? It's kind of like if a guy named Michael Johnson did his tour in the French Foreign Legion then selected the new identity Mick Johnson when they handed him his Ray-Bans and shiny new French passport. Psst, we still know it's you...

Some praise: the long-hapless Rays are undoubtedly putting a much improved product on the field this year and just might be where the Brewers are now in 2009 or so. But forgive me for thinking that they should really go back to the the drawing board with this whole makeover thing. Let me make a few suggestions.

A quick google search reveals that the following animals (all good sports teams need to be named after animals, right?) are native to the state of Florida:

* American River Otters
* Florida Panthers
* Red Tailed Hawks
* American Alligators
* American Crocodiles
* Gopher Tortoises
* Kingsnakes

Some comments. Tampa Bay River Otters sounds a bit too AA, so I'd cross that one off straight away. Panthers is taken by a crappy NHL team. Alligators or Crocodiles is too college footbally in my mind. Gopher Tortoises is kind of funny at first, but I think it would wear thin pretty quickly kind of like it did for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Tampa Bay Kingsnakes would be pretty badass I do admit, but for me the best of the lot of rename options has to be the TB Red Tailed Hawks. This is a pretty gnarly looking bird if I do say so and I think its name goes well with a ball club trying to wrap itself in a new speedy, brash sort of identity. Better yet, switching names here would also have to be accompanied by an entirely new colour scheme, perhaps red and black? Really, I don't know what they're waiting for.


Drunk Jays Fans and DRaysBay have an interesting wager riding on the outcome of what's been dubbed the (Walt Disney) World Series. We're pulling for the hometown squadron, as usual.

-- Johnny Was

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