Starting in 2008, thousands of baseball fans will be without a favorite team. All across America, members of the Church of Satan are denouncing their allegiance to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after the team decided to change their moniker to the "Tampa Bay Rays" effective next baseball season.
"Granted, I could never make the trip to see them in person," said a Church of Satan member from Salem, Ore. "But they were definitely my favorite team."
Some Church of Satan members are accusing the Devil Rays' ownership of kowtowing to the Religious Right.
"It's all those Bible-thumpers' fault," said a church member from Rome, NY. "You don't see us making a big deal over the San Diego Padres, do you?"
Although the true reason behind the name change remains unclear, the head of the Church of Satan, Magnus Peter H. Gilmore, believes the team made the move to spite the church.
"We were in the midst of negotiations for the souls of some of their players when the organization low-balled us and we had no choice but to walk out."
According to Gilmore, deals had been made to ensure the success of many "Devil" teams, such as the New Jersey Devils, the Duke Blue Devils, and the Arizona Sun Devils. Past deals have included the souls of Martin Brodeur, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, and Barry Bonds.
"Each team has had to sell us a few souls in order to win. Tampa Bay hadn't done that yet," said Gilmore. "We saw a few players we liked in Scott Kazmir, B.J. Upton, and Carl Crawford."
Gilmore claims when the Devil Rays counter-offered with Rocco Baldelli, Elijah Dukes, and Don Zimmer, he knew there was no chance for a deal.
"It is no secret having the Church of Satan on your side has its advantages. Look at the history. We've supported winners," said Gilmore. "But the Tampa Bay baseball team did not take the negotiations seriously and now they are on their own. I feel bad for our members who are baseball fans, but we don't take too kindly to being insulted."
Because of the failed negotiations, some former Devil Rays fans are already making plans to change their allegiances.
"I guess I'll root for the Yankees next year," said a Church of Satan member from Hell, MI. "It's no secret the Big Man Downstairs is quite fond of George Steinbrenner."