TBtB: Rays Voting Thread

The Rays nominating thread attracted about as much attention as mid-day Rays game with the visiting Athletics.

Alas, we press on.

Choose one of the five names listed below.
A) The Aquarium
B) Rays Field
C) Suncoast Dome
D) Thunderdome
E) Tropicana Field

 

Editor’s Note: This will be the final installment of TBtB for a while. We’re going to take the playoffs off and resume the series in November.

The 200: 134-117

Part V of our XII-Part Series. Look for the next installment VII days or so from now.

134         We Want A Rock    They Might Be Giants  

133         Nemesis   Shriekback  

132         On Fire     Sebadoh                            

131         The Killing Moon    Echo & The Bunnymen

130         Drinking In L.A.    Bran Van 3000    (You Tube)

129         Drunken Lullabies   Flogging Molly 

128          Too Sick To Pray     Alabama 3

127         Moving to New  York   The Wombats (You Tube)

126         Someday, Someway   Marshall Crenshaw (You Tube)

125         Days Like This Keep Me Warm   The Polyphonic Spree

124         Safe From Harm     Massive Attack  

123         Tenderness    General Public

122         Chemicals Collide    Cloud Cult (You Tube)

121         Ball And Chain     Social Distortion

120         Never Follow Suit   The Radio Dept.

119         Kiss Off     Violent Femmes

118         Carry The Zero   Built To Spill

117         Doused   DIIV                      

 

131 – Echo and the Bunnymen are unmistakably huge fans of the Doors. What’s interesting is that I truly enjoy Echo’s music, I absolutely loathe the Doors. The only reason I can think of is that Ian McCullouch never tried to convince me that Bedbugs and Ballyhoo and Lips Like Sugar are comparable to the works of Keats and Frost.

130 – I’ve never heard this song anywhere besides 97x/WOXY, the now-departed radio station/online station from Oxford, Ohio that was my greatest source of new music for more than a decade. I was fortunate enough to get 97x over the air when I lived in Greensburg – we were at the far western reach of their notoriously weak signal. And when the site went digital only between 2004-2010, I was a devoted listener at my desk every day at work. In the seven years since its sign-off, I still haven’t found an adequate replacement. A lot of people think the radio station they used to listen to was the best ever. I happened to be right.

128 – Fans of the Sopranos may notice this is the band responsible for the theme song to that show. They probably wouldn’t get confused with the country band of a similar name, though they’re known as A3 here in the states just to be certain.

127 – I saw the Wombats perform this song at an afternoon showcase at South By Southwest, which I dropped in on for a day when a work trip happened to coincide with that Austin festival. I would love to go back to Austin, whether it was SXSW time or not, even if the rest of Texas really isn’t for me.

123 – I restricted it to one song per band, but not necessarily one song per artist. Dake Wakeling and Ranking Roger of the Beat (English Beat on this side of the pond) and General Public are one of three artists to make dual appearances on the countdown.

TBtB: Tampa Bay Rays

Part 6: Tropicana Field

When I was a wee lad, there were a handful of parks that were almost exactly alike, and a whole bunch more that didn’t stray too far from the basic template – fully enclosed fields, with symmetrical walls (often with the stupid yellow line four inches from the top of the fence) and, often, covered with turf. The National League was swimming in these. They were called cookie cutters, a nickname not bestowed with fondness.

Tropicana Field is the opposite of those sterile ashtrays, at least compared with its peers. It’s the last traditional fixed dome left, and one of just two parks with the fake stuff on the floor. It’s got the catwalks that come into play. Nothing else in the sport is like it. It’s also the only current ballpark built on spec, constructed in hope of landing a major league team, which it did eight years after it was built.

Alas, just being different isn’t enough, as the Trop is generally regarded as the league’s worst venue, by quite some margin.

Still, even crappy ballparks deserve a good name (do they?). So, let’s give the fans of Tampa-St. Pete something they can be proud of when they stay as far away from the park as possible on game nights.

But if finding a great name for this crappy venue doesn’t excite you, let’s consider this an opportunity to find a suitable name for its eventual replacement.

Ballpark History

Built: 1990

Capacity: 42,735 (naked), 31,042 (with tarp).

Name: Tropicana Field, 1998-present. Stadium was also known as Florida Suncoast Dome and Thunderdome (non-Mad Max version) before being occupied by Rays.

Other ballparks used by club in its current city: None

Distinctive Features:  The aforementioned catwalks, the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame, the Ray-filled Touch Tank beyond the right-centerfield fence, the dank.

Ballpark Highlights: In 1999, Wade Boggs became the first player to homer for his 3,000th hit.

In 2005, cheapskate owner Vince Naimoli had a Mets scout ejected from the ballpark for using his private bathroom.

After a decade of futility, the newly christened Rays played their first home playoff game, a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox en route to their lone World Series appearance. The game was punctuated by Evan Longoria homers on his first two postseason plate appearances and the appearance of those godforsaken cowbells.

In 2011, the Rays rallied from a 7-0 deficit against the New York Yankees, capped by Dan Johnson’s walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth. The victory completed an improbable final-month comeback to claim the AL wild card over the Chicken and Beer Red Sox.

 

 

The 200: 150-135

Part IV: Heading into the second quarter.

150         Tainted Love   Soft Cell 

149         Punk Rock Girl      Dead Milkmen

148         Chains Of Love     Erasure                                

147         Life On A Chain     Pete Yorn

146         Ambling Alp    Yeasayer (You Tube)

145        Five Get Overexcited The Housemartins (You Tube)

144         Head On  The Jesus & Mary Chain

143         When I Write My Master’s Thesis    John K. Samson (You Tube)

142         Book Of Poems      Old  97’s

141         Like the Weather    10,000 Maniacs

140         Something About You    Level 42

139         Never Let Me Down Again   Depeche Mode

138         Litany (Life Goes On)    Guadalcanal Diary

137         Sweetness And Light   Lush 

136         Fountain And Fairfax    The Afghan Whigs

135         Suffragette City     David Bowie

 

150 – I think there are only two cover songs in the bunch. The other is way the heck up at the front.

149 – Cormac’s pick. If you don’t got Mojo Nixon than your store could use some fixin’ is as true today as it was in 1989.

138 – When I was a senior in college, GCD played at the Vogue in Indianapolis. When I couldn’t round up anyone else, I went to the show by myself, a tactic I shelved for most of my 20s and 30s, but pulled back out of mothballs when I reached my 40s and even into the first day of my 50s (when I attended a birthday-timed New Pornographers show, a present from my lovely wife).

137 – In recent years, my tastes have really begun to move toward shoegaze music, the indie subgenre whose most notable progenitor is My Bloody Valentine (strangely, despite this, I’m not a big fan of MBV). Lush was one of their contemporaries who started as a shoegaze band before heading into a Britpop direction.

135 – Three guys who died in 2016 made this list done at the end of the year. Honestly, it should have been four, as George Michael’s Faith is simply an inexcusable oversight.

 

 

 

Confederacy of Dunces

I was driving south to Valparaiso Saturday when a pickup truck pulled in front of me. Waving defiantly off the back of the truck was the Confederate Battle Flag, not the first I’ve seen in and around Portage.

I don’t get it. I know the lousy arguments the flag’s supporters offer in public, and none of them pass the smell test. That it’s a sign of the southern heritage, an important part of the past, and other multiple blahs. But it isn’t. The South has been an instrumental and positive part of the U.S. and colonial history for all but four of its 500 years. Jamestown was the home of the first permanent English settlement in the colonies. Southern boys fought proudly and bravely on the right side in the Revolutionary War and all the others that followed, save one. Jimmy Madison gave us the Constitution, and his wife gave us tasty snack cakes. Against that backdrop is the Confederacy, which existed for just a hiccup in time. Hell, Jefferson Davis spent less time in charge of the CSA than Charles spent in charge of his broods on syndicated television. You need to fly a flag championing southern heritage, then how about the 3 of Dale Earnhardt, a much more worthy source of Southern pride and a guy with a much better W-L record.

And for most of its reconstruction history, southerners agreed. For roughly four score after the war, the flag made few appearances in public. It wasn’t a source of pride. It wasn’t until the civil rights era and how once again the southern way of life (you know, the structural segregation and dual-class existence) was threatened that the old cloth dragged out of mothballs. It’s kind of hard to miss the racism in that.

Frankly, whether you want to believe that claptrap that the civil war wasn’t about slavery, and your display of the flag isn’t meant to be interpreted as offensive to African-Americans, you know damn well that it is how it’s perceived by many of them (understandably so). So maybe you’re not a racist; you’re just an inconsiderate asshole.

The only thing worse than these southern flag fetishists flying that crappy rag is when their northern brethren, like the guys I saw Saturday, express their solidarity. We’re closer to Canada here than we are the Deep South, so what the hell are any of these idiots doing?* One of the nice things about being from the north is our relatives were not on the side of the racist, treasonous, second-place finishers from below the Mason-Dixon Line. That’s a legitimate reason to feel superior. What other cause besides latent racism is there to side with this rather famous collection of losers?

Now, I suppose it’s hard to have a true inspirational model for your hateful tendencies, given the rather uninterrupted series of comeuppances that have greeted bigots throughout history. You’ve got your Confederates, your Nazis and every bigot who ever appeared in an after-school special, all of whom took it in the ass in the end. The one modern exception is Joe Arpaio, who had gotten his well-deserved bitter end, what with the election loss and conviction in quick succession, only to get a reprieve from Agent Orange (who may not be a full-fledged bigot, but is at the very least racist adjacent). I still hold out hope the nation’s worst lawman will someday succumb to an alien abduction (either from the folks he’s been harassing for decades or the kind that does the probing – either way works for me), gets tangled up in an aardvark pornography ring or have a giant, unnecessary wall collapse on top of him.

Until then, just stop flying the flag. It’s a shitty totem to unsuccessful and unAmerican Americans wed to human bondage. Whatever other meaning it has is ultimately dwarfed by those simple facts.

*Yes, these cretins could have been just off the turnip truck from Mississippi, but I’ve seen enough flag wavers without a hint of Dixie in their blood that the point remains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They said what?

Judge 1

Welcome to Famous People, and the Things They Never Said*, where I place quotes of mine adjacent to photos of people who are much more well-known than I am.

It’s a lot like the Facebook feed from way too many of your friends, except I know the guy in the photo didn’t say the thing it looks like he said.

* That would be the title above, but it won’t fit on one line.