We have a few big changes planned around these parts during the off-season. We figure if other people are going to start taking us seriously, we might as well start taking ourselves seriously.
In his latest piece, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News explores what it means to be a fan of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In the piece, Deveney interviews beat writer Marc Topkin and some blogger.
Attendance figures suggest most of the nation has been shielded from D-Rays baseball. But Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, one of the team’s beat writers, has no shield. He started covering the Devil Rays when the city was awarded a franchise, and it may be that no one has seen more Rays baseball. “Sometimes,” he says, “I wonder how this became my cross to bear.” You’ve heard of Red Sox Nation? “We have Devil Rays Corner,” Topkin says.
Poke around in Devil Rays Corner, though, and a funny thing happens — you find people who care passionately. There are blogs galore, nine of them… Raysindex.blogspot.com, run from New York by molecular biologist Cork Gaines, includes the Scott Kazmir “March to 300 Wins ” clicker. (He’s at 33.)
This for a team whose coaches once popped champagne to celebrate hitting the 70-win mark for the only time in history. “Remember, we are Tampa Bay fans,” Gaines says. “We went through more than a decade of awful Buccaneers teams. The great thing about that Super Bowl Bucs team is that Tampa fans may have appreciated that championship more than almost every other championship in the history of American professional sports”…If you spend enough time listening to Gaines, you see the Rays differently, not as an eternal failure but as a team whose failure will only make success all the sweeter.
As for this Cork Gaines fella…never heard of him…but he sounds like a swell guy.
Devil Rays fans fight for a lost cause [The Sporting News]