Besides my wife and politics I’ve been busy with my third love: Baseball. I usually watch the playoffs every year, but this time around it was different. Besides the Cardinals, I usually don’t really have a stake in the outcome of post-season baseball. I just enjoy the theatrics. The only cheering I usually do is against the Cubs and against the Red Sox. But not this year.
As previously mentioned, I’m a big fan of both the Phillies and the Rays. I’ve been a Phillies fan since I was a kid. They are my loveable losers; the polar opposite of the Cardinals. Both teams have been around for about 125 years. In that time span the Cardinals have won 10 World Series, and the Phillies have won once.
Going to see a Phillies game is also an opposite experience. Cardinals’ fans are known for being the best in baseball; they frequently cheer for achievements of the visiting team. Phillies fans are known for being a tough crowd. I remember as a kid watching the home team boo Mike Schmidt, their future hall of famer, when he struck out. Unbelievable!
And while I’ve been a Rays fan for only a couple of years, they too have that loveable underdog quality. They have a small payroll, a crappy stadium and no fanbase. The last Rays game I went to had more fans for the visiting Yankees than for the home town team by at least 2:1. In 2007 they were so hard up for fans that they offered free stadium parking for all games. Free parking at a ballgame, that’s some hurting.
So imagine my surprise to discover that my two favorite loveable losers both made it to the World Series. The Rays even managed to defeat the Red Sox to make it to the big game, which was just extra icing on the cake. So now I am torn as to which team to root for; I want them both to win. So I’ve decided to compare the teams to determine my allegiance. Since they both are pretty damn good at playing baseball, I will only be examining what I consider to be the other vital parts of a team
This one is no contest, definitely the Phillies. Tampa has Raymond the Ray, one of the wussiest looking mascots ever.
Seriously, what a pansy. And who decided to make a fish harry?
The Phillies on the other hand have one of the best mascots in the business, the Philly Phanatic.
Man do I love me some Phanatic. Like Gonzo from the Muppets, he’s just considered a weirdo. He’s not actually an animal; he’s the personification of crazy. Plus he has a cool party blow-out in his snout.
He’s light years cooler than Raymond. One point for Philly.
This one depends on how you view fans. Philly fans are definitely more dedicated, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. For example, last year I went to see a Phillies spring training game in Sarasota with my uncle at the Reds’ stadium. We had great seats right behind home plate. In the first inning we started hearing a guy screaming profanity at Pat Burrell. I turned to my uncle and said “Man, these Reds fans are pretty rough.” He replied “Nah, that’s definitely a Philly fan, probably came down to Florida on vacation just to yell at his own team.” Sure enough, the guy was decked out in Phillies gear and kept screaming at Burrell the whole game.
While the Rays fan base is a little tepid, they have yet to boo their own team. Plus, they all bring cowbells to games. Point Rays.
Last year this would have been a toss up. I was never in love with the Phillies logo.
No only does this seem lame, the stories that will follow if the Rays win will be extra-super-duper-lame. Any variation of the “Rays drop the Devil and find the Promised Land” headlines that are sure to follow make me cringe already. Looks like another point for the Phillies.
Better Player Names
This one is hands down a point for the Rays. The Phillies have some decent player names, like Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino. But Chase and Cole are lame names for a dude, and I absolutely hate the G spelling of Geoff.
The Rays have a goldmine of names: Carl Crawford sounds dangerous, Gabe Gross sound hilarious, and Akinori Iwamura sound like a ninja. Add to that the strange coincidence of Evan Longoria’s name and we have a winner. But the best is B.J. Upton. Like naming your son Sue, any guy who goes by B.J. must be super tough and ultra-secure of his manhood. Big point for Tampa.
This one is tricky. My favorite player on the Rays is Carl Crawford.
He’s young, he hits for power, he steals bases, and an all around great player. Plus he stuck with the Rays through several shitty years. And my Nana is a huge fan of him.
On the other hand, Philly has Ryan Howard.
This former MVP has a lot of power, is an RBI machine and plays with a real passion. Plus he’s a hometown St. Louis guy, which gets him bonus points. Unfortunately, those points are negated by those cheesy commercials he did with Jared from Subway.
I think the real tipping point is that I actually met Ryan once in college. I ran into him at a party several years back before he was in the majors. I remember meeting him because there aren’t very many 6’4” black guys in Springfield, Missouri. So I guess the personal connection makes the final point a point for the Phillies.
So with a final score of 3-2, just like Game One’s score, it looks like the Phillies have won my allegiance. I’m gonna say the Phillies in 6. But no matter what the outcome, I’ll still be happy for the winner and feel bad for the loser.