June 20, 2006

File This Under "Huh?"

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are having a Turn Back the Clock Night.

Yes, they are.

Now, rest assured, they aren't going to pull a VH1 and do "I Love the 90s." No, with the Atlanta Braves coming to town, they're turning the clock back to 1975. The Braves will be wearing those funky-cool '70s blue-with-white-sleeves uniforms that Hank Aaron made famous. The Rays, meanwhile, will not show up at the game, since they did not exist in 1975.

Just kidding! The Rays will in fact be sporting the uniforms of the Tampa Tarpons, from the Florida State League (of which Tampa was a charter member, the Rays will have you know). Actually, since the stadium is actually in St. Petersburg, they should be wearing the uniforms of the St. Petersburg team, but since they were the Cardinals at the time, I suppose that was out.

Why, you might ask, did they pick 1975? Is it because the Tarpons were a Braves farm club then? Nope. (They were affiliated with the Reds.) Is it because the Tarpons were a mighty colossus in 1975? Google won't confirm or deny this one, but I assume that the press release would have mentioned it if they were. Other than the fact that the Braves can recycle the throwbacks they've used in previous Turn Back the Clock games, I can't think of a good reason why they picked '75.

Oh, and the game will be graced by the presence of ex-big leaguers George Foster, Tommy John, and Dave Kingman will be there. What do they all have in common? None of them played for the Braves (or the Tarpons, for that matter) in 1975. I suppose they were available and could use the money. Which, comes to think of it, means this game does have something in common with "I Love the '90s."

PS: I think I might know why they're doing this. As Frinklin reported a while back, the Rays are thinking of changing their name in the near future. Maybe this is a quick way to gauge public support for a name that's reportedly high on the list of possibilities?

Posted by Mediocre Fred at June 20, 2006 01:38 PM | TrackBack

Ah, the memories. When I was a kid, we just called them "The Tampons." Actually that's what we called everyone from Tampa but it was more of a legitimate contraction for Tam(pa Tar)pons. ;)

Posted by: Eden at June 21, 2006 08:05 AM

The "Tampons" thing seems to be the primary objection to the "Tarpons" name at this point. I have to admit, I didn't consider the connection until everyone else I talked to brought it up. Clearly, I need a more juvenile mind.

That said, as far as I can tell, "Tarpons" is the name most associated with Tampa baseball by far, particularly among those under 60 or so. The only other name I've seen attached to Tampa baseball teams with any frequency is "Smokers," and I have a feeling that wouldn't work, either.

Posted by: Mediocre Fred at June 21, 2006 12:09 PM

These folks came up with some pretty good concepts for the name change back in March:


Of course, I've been of the opinion for quite a while now that the best name choice is simply "Tampa Bay Rays", with the logo and colors left alone.

Posted by: PapaShaft at June 22, 2006 07:09 AM
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