Friday, September 19, 2008

Eulogies for the Eliminated

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today not to praise the departed, but to bury them. For they are the meek that shall inherit golf courses, while those who remain strive for glory. They are the eliminated, the condemned. They are those whose bright summer seasons have grown dark and sickly like the colored leaves of fall. They are those who are left to play out the season, settling only for the bittersweet hope of playing "spoiler".

For today we are beginning to bury all those who no longer have a chance of making the Major League Baseball playoffs. For these teams there is no October Quest, no championship run, no dreams of ticker tape and champagne showers. Only the cold, dark, dismal reality of another season failed.

Dear Great Creator Doubleday, please take the souls of the 2008 Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Oakland A's, Cincinnati Reds, and Baltimore Orioles into your loving bosom. They were among the first eliminated this season, and all are now over 20 games out of first place.

We apologize, Great Creator, for this mass burial. But we unfortunately had not thought to bury them sooner, although there was little doubt of their demise. (On a positive note, however, we did a great deal on this corner plot.)

Beloved, please bow your heads as I say a brief word about each of the deceased.

2008 Seattle Mariners: Unfortunately, you threw all your eggs into the basket of a false god. Erik Bedard was not the answer, unless the question was "what was one of the most overhyped trades of last offseason?" Yet you gave up the farm, while you still counted on Richie Sexson. May you rest in peace.

2008 Washington Nationals: In a town of dissension, you were to be our rock. A stable guiding light that people from both sides could rally around. Yet you represented our nation with the weakest fighting force since Valley Forge. May you rest in peace.

2008 San Diego Padres: You counted on one of the most overrated pitchers in baseball to carry you to the promise land. If not for Adrian Gonzalez, you might be finishing in the California Penal League. The charge: impersonating the proud former team of Tony Gwynn. May you rest in peace.

2008 Oakland A's: Two pitchers with sub-1.00 ERAs and you are over 20 games out? Your demise speaks more to the strength of the Angels that you could not fly with, than your own personal vices. Even the sheer power of Thunder Matt could not save your season. May you rest in peace.

2008 Cincinnati Reds: You tempted fates by using Belisle Belial. Although the wicked communists of the Soviet Union have seemingly returned, you have yet to give us a Red Scare worth waking up for. Although Jay Bruce may save you soon, may you rest in peace.

2008 Baltimore Orioles: Another team full of promise, you failed to stockpile talent and follow the footprint of your divisional sister, the Tampa Bay Rays. Until you treat Camden Yards like the hallowed grounds that it is, the Great Creator will continue to smite you. However, because I am generous, may you rest in peace.

2008 Pittsburgh Pirates: 16 years of continuous futility? Forget a proper burial, you suck. May your rotting corpse end up in the belly of the Sarlacc, and may you find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a thousand years.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Talking Rays At-Bat Music

Last year, I attended a focus group meeting for (then Devil) Rays fans at Tropicana Field and I voiced my opinion on one particular issue: I wanted to know what song was playing as each individual player stepped to the plate. I suggested that it would be a good idea if this information was broadcast somewhere on the scoreboard. As this year has progressed, and as I have gone to approximately 20 home games at Tropicana Field, I have again wondered the same thing I thought about last year: what songs were playing?

Although I have noticed a few titles and some singer/band info being displayed, especially during the last few weeks, thanks to the MLB Entertainment website (via DRays Bay), I finally have my answers.

A few notes on the Rays at-bat music info:

- The page lists Evan Longoria's music as Pantera's "I'm Broken". While that was his music after the all-star break, he began the season with Tantric's "Down and Out".

- Of all the songs in English, the one I can least understand is Willy Aybar's entrance music, T-Pain and Flo Rida's "Low". I think the song goes something like "the belly-saggin' jeans and Reebok-twirling shoes" and then "she got low, low, low, low, low". The rest I have no idea. This song makes me feel old. I saw kids no older than eight singing along to it, while I stood there baffled.

- I'm pretty sure Edwin Jackson's music is not "Track 12" by Unknown. I don't think a musical artist would go by the name "Unknown". Then again, maybe they do and I am just old.

- Also in the category of "people who changed songs during the season", I think Troy Percival began the season coming in to Audioslave's "Chocise" before settling on Godsmack. Usually Godsmack oozes confidence and bad-assness, but not when Percival takes the mound. I've never been more nervous during "Keep Away".

- I know B.J. Upton has come up to the plate to more than just Lil Wayne's "Lollipop", but I have no clue what his other songs were.

- How cool is it that two Rays come to the plate to Pantera, both the aforementioned Longoria and Eric Hinske, who after his first at-bat comes to the plate to "Walk"? Both "Walk" and "I'm Broken" sound kick-ass echoing through the stadium. I also think the PA guys crank those songs up a little louder than they do some of the rap songs. But maybe I am just biased.

- Hinske's opening tunes also remind me of an opportunity lost. Why didn't anyone form a group in the stands called "Hinske's Headbangers"?

- Speaking of fan groups, and time is not yet lost on this one, what about the "Longo-holics" for fans of Longoria? Count me in as the first Longoholic. I might have to start making t-shirts.