Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lord of the Orange Groves

Wade Boggs would be rolling over in his grave.

If he were dead.

How else to express the betrayal by his beloved Tampa Bay Famous Original Rays?

In first place. Widening their lead, even. They're spitting on Bogg's legacy. And Fred McGriff's. And Brent Abernathy's. How could they?

People love an underdog. Speak truth to power. The meek shall inherit something or other.

I used to tease a friend of mine who would always root for the underdog by saying he had to switch allegiances with every lead change.

Nietzsche saw 'master morality' as the identification of strength and goodness; virility and virtue are one. Slave morality is the inverse; power is oppression and subjugation. To automatically root for the underdog is to identify weakness with goodness. It's a sort of slave morality.

Tampa's a good team. They are strong. James Shields has great 12-1 movement on his fastball (tailing back into a righthanded hitter.) Javier Lopez should not have thrown a fastball strike to the righthanded Gomes on an 0-2 count with the sacks full of Rays, but they earned it. The Sox are no longer the underdog. That aspect of the narrative has played out.

What we have here is a rivalry. When Gerald Williams charged Pedro, I was indignant. How dare a commoner? I took umbrage. That was a peasant revolt. He should have known his role. But now, well, the 3rd estate is moving up in the world. The Rays are contenders.

Sox fans who were in it for the underdog story, the plucky rag tag fighters against the Evil Empire, might have a hard time making the transition to playing the bully, the establishment, the $140 million juggernaut, squashing the upstart Rays and their impossible dream.

Not me. Last I checked, the point was winning. That master/slave thing is for losers anyway.


becca said...

This whole fabulous blog post is because of me. Not that Jonah would give me any credit, oh no. I came up with that "Famous Original Rays" joke while we were watching the game. And all my sympathizing with the underdog (in this case Tampa Bay) lead to Jonah's reaction, which you see here. Seriously, though, don't you Red Sox fans feel as if you are being a little hypocritical? For years you were always the underdog, now you no longer have that luxury. Let someone else win some World Series! Let those Rays have their day in the sun!

Soxlosophy said...

:) can i put emoticons here? [insert heart]

Jere said...

I hadn't seen this post until I wrote the one I just wrote at my blog, which touches on this stuff.

becca, the Sox are my team. Born with them. My underdog loving came from being a fan of the Sox, not the other way around. But I also grew up around Yankee fans, who will be quick to remind me that we have just 7 championships to their 26. So I say: us, the Rays, and everyone else should go back to the classic Yankee-hating of the past. We all should live in harmony as non-Yankee teams. If one steps up and beats them, the others should be happy.

But the Rays effed it up. They went and made us their rival, so screw 'em. Let someone else win some? In the last 90 years, the Sox have two more titles than the Rays do. My theories include 1. that it's a short-term memory, short attention span world (I won't make that stupid cliche about "MTV and their quick cuts"), so two titles in four years seems like winning "all the time" and 2. the fact that Rays fans see us around them all the time. I wish they would've understood that A. we're there to root on our team (which they've never done in team history until, oh, a week ago) and B. had they bought their own tickets, they wouldn't have seen so much of us.

But that is a really funny thing about underdog fans changing allegiances with every lead change. There's no true underdog. The Sox are in second place--we're the underdog. But we won it all last year, so we're not. But the Yanks have won more than us, so we are again. But we could be starving in the desert instead of sitting in our comfy house, so...I don't know what I'm sayin' except I hope the Yanks lose. Always.

Aaron said...

That Famous Original Rays joke is a scorcher. Well done Becca!

I also liked the stuff in the following post on the importance of being a connaisseur. And as an occasional student of philosphy and longtime moustache connaisseur, I am shocked by that photo of Nietzsche. I say goddamn!

Barry said...

I wish I had thought of "Famous Original Rays".

Also, Barney and Boggs were both wrong. Palmerstone and Pitt the Elder were great, but even wartime Churchill and Disraeli would praise the Right Honorable Gladstone.