Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
I have been jealous of people with an artistic talent for drawing for a long time. Sure, I used to dabble in simple cartoon characters and landscapes as a kid in Art class, but the really defined and articulate professionals who day in, and day out compose and construct a simple one panel cartoon are imagery masters to me.
With a single comical image, they can conjure up emotions and events that take me sometimes 5-6 paragraphs to illustrate with words. They can do stuff with the flick of their wrist that I could not even fathom with my keyboard and mouse.
So as the Tampa Bay Rays ready today to leave the Charm City, I am instantly drawn to the Baltimore Sun website to catch the daily cartoon antics of Mike Ricigliano, who has been doing a daily Baltimore Orioles cartoon for over 20 years for the Baltimore Sun.
And if you want, you can scroll through Ricigliano’s daily images here
When you check out his daily images, you will see that the man definitely has his finger, or wingtip on the pulse of Birdland. And this is something I truly wish I could do, or produce for the Rays, but my talents are far inferior both in drawing and tongue-in-cheek humor to pull it off with any success.
But it has been great for the past few years to check in on Ricigliano’s impression of the Rays versus Orioles series, and get some impressive artwork, plus a few chuckles along the way. But seriously, I wish the Rays or the St. Petersburg Timescould find a qualified cartoonist who would do the same thing for this community.
TheTimes did have a great cartoonist for years named Don Addis, but he is now creating in that big inkwell in the sky and is not available for the job. And I grew up with Addis’s artwork daily at the Times, plus he did the character imagery of “Pushy DaBroom” a quasi-janitor/journalist who erratically used to appear to write a sports opinion column in the Evening Independent .
The imagery created by Addis made you want to like Pushy, and his opinions sometimes took a deep soulful look into situations that some journalist tried to shy away from at that moment in time. But the one panel imagery of Addis spoke volumes about the piece even before you set your eyes upon the written words.
Sometimes I think that is needed again with the Rays. A simple one panel cartoon or image that could take all the words opinions and clutter and simplify it into a neat and thought provoking image.
And I think Ricigliano and the Sun have shown that it would become popular, and even be considered one of the “must see” items during your daily stroll through the paper or online.
And with the media giants crying “foul” on the abusive use of long words and sentences today, it might be a great clarifying use of imagery that would fit conveniently within a box in the corner of the page. And it could instantly take a situation, such as the swirling Major League Baseball Trade Deadline and use a simple image of a Rays player with the names of players thought to be within the Rays trade bubble, it could actually achieve the action of showing the magnitude of the trade scenario without clogging up the paper with 10-12 paragraphs on the same item.
We all know that saying, “A picture paints a thousand words”, and a cartoon can use that same old quote and click it up a notch. This is something I really feel passionate about, but I do not have the creative drawing talents to pull this off myself.
But there has to be a guy sitting in Art class right now, or maybe creating glorious illustrations in a tattoo parlor that could produce a daily mesmerizing cartoon that could bring together the collective Rays Republic. Maybe I will again go out and buy an artist’s pad and some ink and try to produce something like this myself, but then again, stick people probably will not excite anyone, especially my eight grade Art teacher.
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