24 October 2008

Hey Hey Tampa Bay...Fall Classic style

So, I'm rooting for Tampa Bay to win the World Series.  I would like to stress that this does not make me a "bandwagon" fan.  People get so het up about that. They're all "I liked the Rays from the start.  Now all these Johnny-come-latelys are trying to act like they're Rays fans, but where were they when the team had 10 straight losing seasons?!  I mean…it's just!…and they think they can just come in and…ahhh!…"  And then it just deteriorates into incoherent ranting and frothing at the mouth.

Calm down people.  I'm not saying that I am suddenly a Rays fan.  I'm saying that in the current sporting contest, in which neither of "my teams" is participating (Braves or Orioles, FYI), and therefore a contest in which I would otherwise have no interest, I have chosen, of the 2 teams presented to me, to root for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays*.  Deal with it.

The choice was a no-brainer, really, for a number of reasons.  1. I am a Florida girl, so I gotta represent.  2. The Rays have a good story with the whole worst-to-first arc.  3. Phillies fans kind of seem like assholes.

I find the whole bandwagon situation interesting.  Even though I am rooting for the Rays, I don't consider myself a "Rays fan".  As stated above, in the World Series, there are only 2 teams to choose from, so I picked.  Rooting for a team in a given contest doesn't make you a fan.  Fans have hats, and t-shirts, and the occasional bumper sticker or large foam finger.  The teams of which I am a fan (minus the finger, those are wack) include, the aforementioned Braves, The Buccaneers (i.e. the other Tampa Bay team), FSU as my alma mater (although, don't get me started on the madness of college football fans), ditto for those Leon Lions (the alma mater part, not the madness), and Arsenal, if you want to branch  across the pond and into the Premiership

The rest of my sports affiliations break down along these lines. I have a second tier of teams that I like a lot (usually in the other league from the main team, just to give me a rooting interest.) These days those would be the Orioles, the Colts, Manchester United.  I also have teams that I have a certain affection for because someone I like likes them, like University of Kentucky (Hi Rakes) or the Bolton Wanderers (The Byrons), or because they are scrappy underdogs (I'm looking at you, Vanderbilt).

Everybody else falls into 3 categories: 1. teams I will generally root for to win  2. teams I wish failure and destruction upon  and 3. teams I have no strong feelings about.  So if say, anyone, is playing the Yankees…go anyone! Tottenham Hotspur?  I generally like 'em, so good luck boys. University of Miami?  Go whoever is playing them, but be careful because they might shoot you. Chiefs playing the Texans?  Umm, whatever, makes no difference to me.   You'll note none of my examples include the NBA or NHL.  Can't be bothered these days.  Again, I have some teams I intrinsically like more than others (for absolutely no apparent reason) and come play-off time, I'll pick someone to root for, but I really don't care one way or the other.  Oh, and when I say "pick someone to root for" I mean that in my head, I will say of one of the teams, "gee I hope they win",  but that doesn't mean I'm going to watch the game.  It's more like if I happen to run across the score the next day and the team I selected is victorious, I can say "well, isn't that nice".
And…that's way too much time and effort put into my feelings about sports. 

*One final thing, I wish the Rays were still the Devil Rays.  They are in my heart.  First off, I didn’t realized that when they chaged the name, they changed the meaning of the word ray from this:

To this:

Is that what that little twinkle in the “R” is supposed to be?  I also don’t approve of this:
In November 2007, majority owner Stuart Sternberg decided to make drastic changes and renamed his team from the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" to the "Tampa Bay Rays", which he described as "A beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and across the entire state of Florida."


Anyway, I dislike the name change.  Partly because Devil Rays is a better name, but mostly because the fundamentalists are now going to be able to cite the removal of the word "devil" from the name and the team's subsequent improvement as some sort of triumph of Jesus over evil.

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