February 25, 2005


And so it came to pass that on the same day we visited Legends Field and observed multimillionaires chasing and throwing little white baseballs, we also drove over to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Fanfest to see hundredthousandaires chasing and throwing... uh, nothing. Hardly any of them were there.
As much as I hate to say it, because it comes down to dollar envy, going to the Tropicana Dome from Legends Field is like downshifting to a corn dog from prime rib. It still fills you up, but you're filled with self-loathing and regret. And it leaves you a little bit gassy.
It's not that the Trop is a bad place to see a game. It's just that it's a little... sterile. The psych ward in "Cuckoo's Nest" had more warmth and charm than this place does. They've dressed up this Jell-o mold as much as they can (hence the atrium adornment above), but after you smear off the lipstick, you still have the pig.
It was alltogether appropriate for Kane's to set up a bed by the dugout for the second year in a row.
Those colored papers on the seats in the back there represent everyone who fell asleep during all 81 home games last year.
Fans were plentiful on this day. Some 15,000, I read, walked the field, ran the bases, shagged Wiffle cans of corn and generally had a good time. But the autograph lines were spectacularly long. And that made for some cranky patrons.
Although the guy above with the bat had enough fortitude for all of us.
Question: What kind of grown man carries this Bam-Bam blunt trauma instrument around? And why would he wait in a two-hour line for a Devil Rays autograph?
For the record, I'm avoiding any Freudian interpretations of this guy. Not gonna do it.
I encouraged my son to run over and get owner Vince Naimoli's autograph on his baseball.
Brian was lukewarm to the idea, but as I told him later, "In 20 years, you can show it to your kids and say, 'This was signed by the man who almost killed baseball in St. Petersburg.'"
The real star of the day's autograph schedule was bench coach Don "I'm Too Damn Old To Do Road Games" Zimmer. He's shown here with Aubrey Huff, who was just finishing his hour of signing when Zim arrived.
What's Huff saying?
"Dude, get a look at the Freudian bat guy."
Although it helps us almost nil on the field, Zim's at least a good draw for fans who remember him from his Red Sox and Cubs coaching days and also from the time he tried to throttle Pedro Martinez in the narts.
You know what they say about people looking like their dogs after a while? This photo shows that fans sometimes start to resemble their favorite bench coaches.
Raymond may be the official mascot for the team, but Zimmer could qualify as well. He's the Devil Rays' equivalent of Uga, the University of Georgia mascot. Only Zim slobbers in greater quantities and licks himself more often at inappropriate times during the game.
Internal diaglogue: Is there such a thing as an appropriate time to lick yourself during a game?
Nevermind. I digress.
Not that mascots were in short supply that day. This one, Timmy the Termite, represented a pest control company.
As any avid Salad Bowl reader (that's you, mom) knows, I have a bit of a mascot fetish. I can say as somewhat of an expert that although it's moderately cool to have a termite mascot, it's eminently uncool to use a costume that you put together from a kit at Joanne's Fabrics.
Well, for one thing...
...you end up with feeler control issues.
Which fits, now that I think about it, since former Rays player Wade Boggs had issues with controlling his feeler at one point in his career. Posted by Jeff at February 25, 2005 07:57 AM
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