Results tagged ‘ cowbells ’

Cleveland’s “10th Man” Doesn’t Employ Human Nature

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Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon has
always been proud and loud about the noise and ability of the Rays “
10th man”, their fans. But as the Rays venture into
Cleveland I was wondering what the Indians might consider their “10th
man” because I have a few suggestions based on past events within
this great baseball environment.


Sure you could point immediately
towards the ginormous scoreboard that is possibly higher than the
Trop’s center ring cupola, or you could just open your ears and hear
the rhythmic “thump,thump,thump” of the famous Indians drum
always present in the leftfield stands.

For some reason to me, these are not
the Indians ” 10th Man”. Possibly their “10th
Man” might not even be in human form. It seems like every time the
Rays wander into Progressive Field, Mother Nature tends to have her
own version of the “10th man”. And some times this
great woman’s obsession with Indian wins ventures into the realm of
insanity.

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She is known to throw rain at the Rays
at every occasion she can. I remember going up to Cleveland for a
birthday road trip and spending most of the Saturday afternoon
nestled by the Rays dugout with rain dripping off my cap as I talked
to the Indians ground crew and former Rays Damon Rolls.


Mama Nature has had clusters of storm
cells postpone games, had single thrusts of moisture keep the Rays
confined to the Progressive clubhouses for hours before letting the
game resume to only punch a cloud again and send fans, Umpires and
players scurrying like church mice to the warm and dry confines.

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But she not only uses weather as a
clever tool to take the wind out of the Rays sails, she also has her
own “Air Force” of pesky midges,sea gulls who have changed the
path of driven balls in the outfield, and who camp out in Centerfield
as if they belonged there. But then again, what else did you expect
from a woman who can call on the forces of nature in all realms.

So Mother Nature is the Indians
greatest “10th (Wo)Man”. Seriously, the only thing
more dominating within the confines of Progressive Field to even
compete with Mother Nature might be the famous Stadium Mustard. But
it doesn’t have the troops to employ havoc, mayhem and drama…Unless
they run out of this tasty condiment during the upcoming $ 1 Hot Dog
night.


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Mother Nature has won playoff games,
regular season series sweeps and provided a nightly reminder that the
cool winds coming off the lake can turn into moisture madness in a
New York minute. Seems like the second most popular person at any moment in the Press Box is the guy watching the impending weather on the local radar.


It might not be the classic “10th
Man” like the Yankee’s Bleacher Creatures, or the Rays cowbells,
but Cleveland special lady makes sure every team during every game
knows she is sitting just above the rim of the Progressive Field
Upper Decks ready, willing and able to provide tense moments,
unexpected showers and possible a few animal intrusions……



Really? Cowbells are the Culprit for Rays Low Attendance?

Are you kidding me St. Petersburg Times? You are flaunting the recent fact you won a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for one of your investigative reports on the Juvenile Penal camps that used to be a “scared straight” tactics for kids like me when we were young, but you drop the ball in your Sports section. Are you that starved for viable responsible reasons to try and figure out the Tampa Bay Rays 2010 attendance woes that you resort to blaming it on one of the Ray’s most popular promotional items of all time…..the manually-used cowbell.
 
I find it kind of hilarious that a simple Rays giveaway items being used within the stands to drown out opposing team chants or used by the Rays Republic to show their spirit by ringing or banging on these items to promote the Rays great offensive and defensive plays to be at the forefront of the Rays attendance downward spiral that is causing reduced attendance figures after one Rays home stand.

And the pure fact this is not a game day note or snippet, but an actual written multi-paragraph article is beyond responsive journalism and borders on insane media influence logic to induce or imply any realistic dialogue or discussion into the real attendance woes.


But then again in 2009, the Rays had their second highest yearly attendance figures of all time with over 1,874,962 Rays Republic members filing into the gates of Tropicana Field. And that figure is only 2,506,023 behind the all time mark set in the 1998 inaugural season of 1998. And even with a slight 3.5 percent increase, not a decrease in total 2009 attendance, where is the true logic that the Rays are hurting at the gate?

Even if the 2009 total numbers were 19 percent under the Major League Baseball average and last in the American League East, it is the fourth year in a row that some sort of upwards trend showed in the overall final attendance figures.

 
So don’t you think Mister Jones that it is way to early to bring out the attendance card after just six Rays home games. And to blame it on a simple promotion that is felt deep in the heart of our Rays team owner is a bit upsetting and totally without basis here. So let’s take a small gander at the first six Rays games as compared to 2009.

 
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Now since we had the New York Yankees in for the first series in 2009, it will make it a bit easier to compare the totals, but the Chicago White Sox came in right after them in 2009 and carry a better traveling fan base than the Baltimore Orioles who were here for the first three games in 2010. But let’s take a look anyways.

 
After the first six Rays home games in 2009, the team had 173,763 Rays Republic member enter Tropicana Field. Now that is for six games, not the total 7 games that made up the first home stand of 2009. With a fast comparison to the first six games in 2010, we see that over 94,366 fans entered Tropicana Field for the New York Yankees first visit to the stadium in 2010.

And in their three game against the Rays, the Baltimore Orioles, which are usually not a great draw for the Rays brought in 68,384 fans into the blue seats. The immediate numbers do show a decrease of 11,013 fans entering the Trop., but realistically not where in that article does the St Petersburg Times or Jones even remotely show that Rays Television Network broadcast numbers have gone through the roof through the first flurry of Rays home games, plus the decline could be a reduction due to the National Broadcasts also done by TBS and Fox Sports over the weekend during the Yankees series.

 
Realistically, 11,013 usual Rays fan could have stayed home to enjoy the comforts of home aka cheaper Rays game alternative. I bet if a poll was submitted on any website or media gathering point, the fans who did not attend the games would rank the cowbells as one of the least of their concerns. But if you look at the first three Yankees games of both 2009 and 2010 in comparison, than about 4,751 fans decided to not attend just the Yankees series this past weekend.

But seriously, if Saturday and Sunday’s games were televised Nationally, why would the casual fan come to the ballpark if they can channel-surf at home with as many hotdogs and beers as they desire. So let’s also try and see what the variations in attendance would be if you took the Orioles first series in 2009 attendance numbers and compared them to the Rays first three games.

In 2009, the Orioles had only two early games at Tropicana Field on May 4 th and 5th before they did not come back until August 18th. But the Rays did attract 42,486 fans on those three dates, which is a decrease of 25,998 fans, but the 2010 Opening Day attendance of a sell out crowd, which filled 102.6 percent of the Trop was a huge variable in the figures.

 

 
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But realistically in 2009, the Rays averaged 13,184 fans during the Orioles 9 games in the Trop in 2009. Already in 2010, those numbers are averaging 22,795 Rays fans with just three games completed in the yearly series. But then again, if you are a media member like the St. Petersburg Times you need to find a scapegoat for every bit of reasoning you can consider instead of a more reliable and viable reason to thrust out to the masses as to why the team is struggling at the box office.

 
But the reality is that the Rays past two seasons attendance figures might not be at a safe spot the Rays Front Office might have realistically envisioned the figures to be at this point in the team’s development, but outside influences like the economy and a upward spiral in Rays Television Network rating shows the passion might be here, but not the capital for the masses to be within the Trop. I found it refreshing when Rays Team Owner Stuart Sternberg said recently he has readjusted his Rays attendance expectations for 2010 based on the main fact that this region is stifled with over 14 percent unemployment,.
 
And I am sorry Mister Jones, but even the best promotions or concert acts will not change the struggles of the Tampa Bay region with their extra spend able income drastically reduced, and in some cases completely drained for this 2010 season. fact. There are too many factors to submit here right now, but to even push a figment of the Rays “supposed” attendance blame on a Rays manufactured promotional item for the decline of the fans in the stands….Really?
If the Rays attendance is going to begin a small downward turn in 2010, it is not for the loud noise produced by a cowbell, or even the air horns that certain Yankee fans snuck in along with cans of Silly String for this past weekend’s Rays games. I know there are certain people within the Rays Republic who again wish for the Trop to resemble a monastery in that you could hear someone cough in the Upper Decks during a game, but those days are long gone, and I am glad they have been exterminated for good.
 
Rays Republic members have matured as an overall baseball savvy public, and with that comes noisemakers and chants and sometimes a bit of cheering and loud noise. If you really feel it is a distraction, I am sure there is another Rays fan who would be more than glad to take your seat in 2011, or maybe the rest of 2010.

 
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I am surprised that the St Petersburg Times did not blame the Cowbell Kid and his Cowbell Posse for all the noise so far in 2010, but then again, these same cowbells are now heard from the TBT Deck to the Upper Decks to even behind Home Plate. It is an outrageous noise epidemic to some, but a necessary Rays evil to others.

But then if it was so bad and obnoxious to the majority of the Rays fans, then there would not be promotional items given out to promote their usage during games.

Or Raysvision produced in-house videos submitted to educate and enlighten new cowbell holders to the proper time for their use of this now outrageous item. But then again, you would have to consider me and the rest of the “Maddon’s Maniacs” Fan Club as outlaws since we are some of the loudest participants to this “supposed” attendance decrease.

 
 
I can’t wait until they post a reward poster within Tropicana Field for my capture….just like our monkey friend in South St. Petersburg. And I got to advise you Mr Jones,you or any other authority faction will have to pry both my cowbell and my drumstick from my cold dead hands before I stop making my cowbell noise in the Trop…..You Count on it!

 

Boston Fans Hate the Cowbells……….Really Now?

 

My wish for the ALCS at the Trop – “A little less cowbell!”

The following is a reprint of a blog on www.SoxandPinstripes.com from October 8th, 2008. It was a submission by Jeff Louderback to the site.

I will giv e a bit of commentary here before the piece and let you know that some of the comment by him are just a Boston fans looking for negative in a hostile enviorment, but I understand that since I ahve been to Fenway Park wearing a Rays jersey in the last 2 years. The atmosphere has changed in Boston too, so do not throw stones at our glass house when yours also has some pretty picture window in front.

 

Gone from this October’s post-season excitement are the Thundersticks and the Rally Monkey. Taking their place in the ALCS are cowbells. Yes, cowbells, which clang amid the worst venue in Major League Baseball – Tropicana Field. It’s bad enough that the first two games and, if necessary, the last two games of the series will be played in a roach-infested, odd-shaped dome where balls bounce off catwalks in fair territory and the game is played on artificial turf. Now, the cowbells will be louder than ever as the Rays step onto the national stage Friday night.

 

(Roach infested, have you not been to a game at either Yankees Stadium or Shea in the last year. Since they are tearing the structures down, the stadium crews have done the minimum to keep these structure working before the wrecking ball takes it first on deck swings.)

 

Legend has it that the Rays introduced cowbells to Tropicana Field to drown out the boisterous chants of “Let’s go Red Sox!” during Red Sox-Rays series. One of my favorite modern-day Saturday Night Live skits involves Will Ferrell and a parody of Blue Oyster Cult in the studio recording “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper.” For those of you who appreciate classic rock, the clattering of the cowbell plays a significant role in the actual song. In the SNL skit, Christopher Walken’s character, a music producer implores, “A little more cowbell” and Ferrell’s character obliges.

 

(one of the reason for the addition of your worst nightmare aka cowbells was for the drowning out of the opposition. It was not only a process for the Boston faithful, but for Chicago, New York, and the Florida Marlin. You can be egotistical enough to think it was all for the Wrold Champs, but it did serve it purpose. You have been a bit quieter this year, or did the scoreboard bring on some hoarse moments.)

 

Believe me, if Walken was watching a baseball game at the Trop, those words would not leave his mouth. Cowbells, Thundersticks, Rally Monkeys and white towels may be appropriate at an NBA arena or an NFL stadium, but can’t we experience a baseball game without cheesy gimmicks to induce noise. Can’t fans work themselves into a frenzy on their own?

 

(I agree with you about the white towels, but considering that Major League Baseball and TBS handed out over 60,000 at the Trop last week, and even during today’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, all fans will be presented with a towel upon entering the building. Some call these towels collectibles, others call them just annoying tools of the fan trade.)

 

Fenway Park has traditions that some consider corny, such as the singing of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the eighth inning. That, I admit, is a little embarrassing, though I love hearing “Dirty Water” after a Red Sox victory. However, Red Sox fans don’t need noise pollution and novelty items like cowbells to become immersed in the game. Can you imagine a cowbell or a Thunderstick at Fenway Park? Just walking into the hallowed baseball sanctuary is inspiration enough to make some noise when the game begins.

 

( I guess when we have been around as long as the Boston faithful fans, we can resort to other means of making noise. But since we are still in our first 25 years, we are growing the young following by small baby steps. I think the fans in Tampa Bay are really educated on the game, but some have not seen how to watch and be active participants yet in the great game. You do not have to paint your body blue, or wear Marge Simpson’s faux wig to get attention if you are a true fan….but then again, those are also the people they first interview after a tornado in the Midwest.)

 

Maybe, just maybe, if Tampa Bay maintains its winning ways for a few more seasons, the cowbell will disappear and the noise level from Rays fans alone will drown out Red Sox fans and Yankees fans who crowd the dome. For now, since many Tampa Bay residents don’t even know there is a Major League Baseball team that calls St. Petersburg home, we will have to tolerate the clattering of cowbells from the 5,000 Rays fans who actually bother to show up. At least that number has increased in recent months. There was a time earlier this season when Tampa Bay was lucky to get 1,000 people at the Trop rooting for the Rays when the Red Sox and Yankees were in town.

 

(For you information, we have had more sellouts this season than at any other point in our franchsie history, and that is only in it’s 11th year. When we have been around as long as you, we will have inherited seats and lotteries to get unspoken for season ticketholder seats. But, right now this team is also in an area of the country where there are a million things to so in the sun for fun some days and nights. For that reason, the fan base is not great yet, but winning does breed the possible addition of 5,000 or more for even the Seattle series every night next year.)

 

My suggestion to Rays supporters who attend the ALCS this weekend – yell yourself hoarse if you must, that is part of the baseball experience, but a little less cowbell, PLEASE!

 

(By the way, please take this as a compliment that I am writing about your blog. It should not be viewed as a Rays fan dogging you, but I respect you position and offer my counterpoint to it. No matter what happens in this series, remember this. Of these 2 teams, the best will rise to the top and face the National League. And after the battles that will take place on the field in the coming days, remember that these guys area laying it all out on that field for the fans and for pride. Hopefully both teams fans will show the same class in the stands during this ALCS both here and at Fenway.     Let’s enjoy the sights and sounds and relish that a new rivalry is established this year in the A L East.

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