Really Joe, the Blackhawks?

 
 
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Believe me, I understand the Tampa Bay Rays and their anti-Philadelphia baseball-related sentiments after also personally enduring some of that civic indigestion following the conclusion of the 2008 World Series against the “City of Brotherly Love”. And I truly get Rays Manager Joe Maddon’s sense of irony and side joke the Tampa Bay Rays team possibly all wearing Chicago Blackhawks jerseys with the Chi-town team opening the 2010 Stanley Cup finals in Philadelphia this Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. But really Joe, wearing Blackhawks gear?

I might be the only one thinking on this vein, but I find it a bit confusing that the Rays squad is even considering wearing Chicago Blackhawk custom made hockey sweaters minutes after we conclude our 3-game series against a team that resides in the South side of Chi-town. I totally get and support Maddon on his creative idea to showcase Canada’s National sport since we are heading to Toronto following Sunday’s finale against the White Sox, but maybe wearing Blackhawks gear is a bit too much for me?

Not sure if that is a great way to bolster any additional Tampa Bay civic pride towards the Rays and possibly get more Rays fans to flock to the Trop. if you send a weird mix signal like this to the Rays Republic. This to me would be like me wearing my Cooperstown replica 1919 White Sox jersey to tonight’s Rays game and not being considered a “bandwagon” fan or even an outsider. And I commend Maddon for once again thinking extremely outside-the-box in boosting his squad’s morale and chemistry by bringing up the idea of wearing NHL hockey jerseys on their upcoming 6-game road trip’s first stop in to Toronto, but couldn’t we have asked the Tampa Bay Lightning first?

 
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Maybe I am being a bit too “civic sensitive” here in thinking the Lightning might consider outfitting the Rays squad with their own jerseys especially since several current Rays players (Evan Longoria, B J Upton) and former Rays (Toby Hall, Scott Kazmir) have been known to wander around the Lightning locker room. And I could see Maddon possibly putting on a number 11 jersey of Chicago Blackhawk center John Madden at another moment in time, but not this weekend. Leave it to Rays Pitching Coach Jim Hickey to fuel the anti-Phillies fires with a nice cheeky statement in a US Today story on May 26th:


“Nothing like a little pro-Chicago, anti-Philadelphia sentiment. I thought we could share our mutual dislike for Philadelphia sports teams.”

 
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But then again, this just might be my fault being a bit uber sensitive to this region’s plight to right the Rays attendance woes, then seeing a indirect signal from the Rays Coaching staff that flushes the past glory of their own hometown hockey franchise that used to play their NHL contests in the same confines as the Rays just perplexes me at the moment. How many people remember the sight of so many Tampa Bay hockey fans swarming the aisles of Tropicana Field, then the Thunderdome, to set the past record for a NHL post season playoff attendance record (25,945). It was a sign that hockey had finally come to this region and been embraced by the fans.

Maybe I am reading too much into this and not seeing the true tongue-in-cheek anti-Brotherly love concept for what it is…..a way for this Rays club to maybe find common ground right now. In that aspect, it is a great humorous idea, but the overall timing and team selection definitely sucks to me.

 
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Sure, I might not have had a single thought about it all if we had played Boston this weekend, or maybe even Cleveland. But the fact that the Windy City’s other MLB squad is seated in our own visitor’s clubhouse, and this Rays team will be sporting their hometown’s NHL gear on the bus to St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport, then fly directly to Toronto definitely evoke a bit of additional indigestion.


Joe, got to say I loved the conceptual idea, but I personally hate the final result.
 
 
 
 

8 Comments

i just love how the team has a theme for almost every road trip. That’s just so great! Great for team bonding as well. Looks like y’all are in good hands :) Riding high and mighty together~ Y’all deserve more support from the town that’s for sure

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

I can see your point Cliff. I like the move though. But if it works for the Rays, it’ll be hard to argue. In Maddon “we” trust.
mike
http://thebrooklyntrolleyblogger.mlblogs.com/

Mim,
It is a great way to promote some internal harmony and chemistry by bringing the bonds closer within the team.
I know I let Rays Bullpen Coach Bobby Ramos wear my old Colts jersey on the trip and it made an impression on a few of the guys.
We get a lot more support than the National media lets on.
But they are also outsiders who do not live in this region and do not understand living in an area that has almost hundred options a day to do thing beside travel to a baseball game.
They do not tell you the television and radio rating have tripled since 2008, they just look at the empty blue seats in the stadium.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I’m with you, Renegade. I think it’s a weird idea. Just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to be in solidarity with a hockey team that’s not even in the same region of the country as the Rays. But Joe’s thinking out of the box, and I guess that’s part of his appeal.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Maybe he’s giving out this anti-Philadelphia thing yet all he wants to do is wear a uni that carries the Phillies colors (almost), lets face it, if your a hockey fan great, but if your a baseball fan and don’t know what the blackhawks strip is like, it’d be why are the Rays wearing red and white

-peter
Phillies Outside

Mike,
Like I mentioned in the post, it might just be my ultra conservative civic pride rolling all WWE here, but I think it is a mis-step of allegiance.
I am all for the anti-High dollar payroll workings, but also a bit tired of some local people boosting the bandwagon mentality both here and in other cities.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jane,
Really feel kind of offended when I first heard about it since we have our own Stanley Cup Championship team only 20 miles East of Tropicana Field.
Would have been a bit more apt to take on the Blackhawk idea if we did not have the Chicago White Sox in-house this weekend.
But I guess it could have been a lot worse. Could of possibily been the New York Rangers, or Anaheim Might Ducks.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Peter,
The Tampa Bay Lightning( who used to play in Tropicana Field) wear black, blue and white, which is a lot closer to the team’s colors than a Blackhawk indian head on the jersey with red, black and white.
But it is his team and he will do whatever he likes…So who am I to judge.
Heck, the Rays Front Office must be fine with it since not a word has been generated throughout the Press Pass segment on MLB.com or inter-office mailings/emails.

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