9 Cities That Deserve the Devil Rays More Than Tampa Bay

Two nights ago only 12,000 people turned out to see one of baseball’s best teams take the field with a chance to clinch a playoff spot. Last night they clinched in front of 17,000. The people of Tampa Bay should be ashamed of themselves, but they probably aren’t which is why they shouldn’t have a baseball team – especially not one as good as the Devil Rays.

So we got to thinking about other cities that deserve them more. Towns that have a passionate fan base but haven’t had a winner on the diamond in recent history. Places that have residents that would kill for the Devil Ray’s roster in their city. And also, places that may not have a whole lot else going on and could use something to distract themselves from their otherwise shitty existence. They are as follows:

Did you know that Charlotte is the 18th largest city in the US? I didn’t until I looked it up. In a league with 30 teams it seems unfair for Charlotte to be left out of the mix. Neither of the Carolinas have a pro team and the town has an educated, affluent population base that would undoubtedly provide financial support. They are known as great sports fans on the collegiate level and the city already has a NFL and NBA team there. Why not send the Devil Rays up the road a few miles if Tampa doesn’t want ‘em?

The Brewers have sucked for a long time. In 1982 they peaked, winning the AL Pennant and then losing in the World Series to the Cardinals. Since then they have only qualified for the playoffs one other time, in 2008 as a Wild Card. They didn’t get out of the first round. The people of Wisconsin deserve a better brand of baseball and the Devil Rays would be a good fit. Until then they will have to fall back on their beer drinking culture and drown their sorrows in year after year of mediocrity.

The Nationals suck. It’s true. This year they are hoping to be the last place team with the best record as compared to the cellar-dwellers in the other five divisions. Hardly an achievement to be proud of, and Steven Strausberg isn’t enough to fix that. They need an entire roster overhaul, so why not just trade rosters with the Devil Rays? If the payrolls match, which they damn near do, would anyone in Tampa even notice? Probably not. So there you go Nationals fans, your solution has presented itself. Now make it happen. Oh wait, I forgot, you live in D.C. where “making it (or anything) happen” is an impossibility. My bad.

Bret Saberhagen, where art thou? Sometimes, when it’s 1985 and you want to win a World Series, all you need a 21 year-old ace with a child molester’s mustache and a hell of a sinkerball for things to go your way. Twenty-five years later I’m not sure that that formula works anymore, but what would work is to cut everyone on their 25 man roster and acquire all of the D-Rays players. The AL Central is average at best and with the unbalanced schedule the Rays players would probably win 110 games if they didn’t have to face the Red Sox and Yankees 15 times each. The people of Kansas City are good fans and they deserve to have a good baseball team one of these days, unlike those a-holes in Florida.

In 1983 the Orioles won the World Series. Since then the only thing they have had to get excited about is Cal Ripken’s streak, a new ballpark and Jeffrey Maier. Keep in mind that this is the city that HBO’s “The Wire” was set and produced in. They could use a winner on the ol’ ballfield. Sure, civic elements of the city have improved recently, but they are still number five on this list because you have to remember what they are improving from. Send the Devil Rays to Maryland and the bums on the Oriole’s roster down to Florida for a long overdue early retirement. It would only be fair, to everyone involved.

After watching their fans turn out for the NBA playoff series against the Lakers who could doubt that they deserve an MLB team like the Rays? Ever since striking oil back when they were just a territory, the people of Oklahoma have had a tough road. From the Dust Bowl to the Oklahoma City bombings living in Oklahoma hasn’t always been a bowl of peaches. Mostly it’s been a bowl of dusty peaches that are in danger of being blown up by domestic terrorists. For that reason alone, they deserve a MLB team and a good one at that. We hereby declare OK City the 4th most deserving city of the Devil Rays! Now on to the top three…

Where you ask? Wait, forget where… why? Let me tell you why – the Hanshin Tigers, that’s why. Often compared to the Cubs for their futility and known around town as “Hard Luck Hanshin” this Japanese League team needs a winner bad. Things are so bad there that their version of a “Curse of the Bambino” goes as follows:

“After their 1985 Japan Series win, fans celebrated by having people who looked like Tigers players jump into the Dotonbori Canal. According to legend, because none of the fans resembled (white boy) first baseman Randy Bass, fans grabbed a life-sized statue of Kentucky Fried Chicken mascot Colonel Sanders and threw it into the river (like Bass, the Colonel had a beard and was not Japanese). After many series without a series win, the Tigers were said to be doomed never to win the season again until the Colonel was rescued from the river.”

If they had Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford and David Price I’d venture to guess that they would manage to win the season with or without rescuing the KFC mascot from the river. Don’t they deserve to find out at least?

Think about this for a second. What if you lived in Pittsburgh? Just let that thought simmer for a moment. Imagine waking up every day, getting out of bed and realizing that you weren’t just having a bad dream. You actually live in Pittsburgh. Then imagine opening the sports section to check the standings of your local MLB team and seeing them in last place year after year after year. Then imagine standing on a chair, wrapping your belt around the ceiling fan, then you neck, kicking the chair over and having the poorly installed ceiling fan come falling down on top of you as you hit the floor, pantless, undignified and unable to succeed in the seemingly simple task of killing yourself. Then imagine having the Devil Rays players in Pirates uniforms. That’s about the only thing that might make the failed suicide worthwhile. Would it be so wrong to give this to the people of The Burgh?

They lost the Browns only to watch them become the Ravens and win a Super Bowl. They lost LeBron and will soon see him go on to win an NBA Championship. They lost the Indians years ago and will only see them win by watching VHS tapes of Major League. They seem to lose a lot in Cleveland, yet being the masochists they are, they always come back for more from their sports teams. Perhaps they just aren’t meant to have championships. Or maybe they are just destined to be broken hearted year after year. Hell, at least in Pittsburgh they have the Steelers and the Penguins. In Cleveland the best they can say is that they crown State High School Champions every once in a while, and even then it’s rare. So why not just give ‘em the Devil Rays. What’s the worst that could happen? Actually, the worst that could happen is they could turn into Red Sox fans. People we sympathized with until their team finally won, and then they turned into the world’s biggest douchebags.

On second thought, forget it. Let the D-Rays stay in Tampa… the last thing we need is more D-Bags in this world.

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