I mentioned the other day how the Rays now have a sign, something that EmailTheRays.com author Bob Andelman has been calling for. I had to show you the latest newsletter I recieved from EmailTheRays where Bob has offered to retire his site if LaMar and Vince were both to leave.
Hey, whaddaya know, the Rays actually put an enormous sign along Interstate 275 this week, visible in both directions, touting "Tropicana Field" and "devilrays.com." On top is even a -- relatively -- small baseball with the "Rays" logo on it.
Good for them.
And good for me, frankly, a lonely voice crying out in the wilderness since October 1999 (read it here:
and see the original publication referenced here:
) for some indication to thousands of motorists passing the Trop daily what goes on inside that big, ugly, lopsided, virtually unmarked building by the side of highway.
(I also wrote a similar story three years later, here: link.)
I've driven by the sign a good half a dozen times this week, studying it, thinking about what I'd write to you about its existence. At first, I was pretty excited. The lack of signage at the stadium inspired the creation of the EmailtheRays.com web site, which soon triggered Major League Baseball's threat of a lawsuit against me (link) if I didn't cave in and dismantle the site. Instead of closing me down, both sides were no doubt surprised to find me featured on everything from local television to CNN and MSNBC and from local newspapers to wire service stories that appeared around the world and on the front page of my hometown paper in New Jersey. (Mom was really surprised.)
So it's been an interesting ride.
I often thought about shutting the site down if they ever did put up a sign. I figured it would be (ahem) a sign.
But in typical Rays fashion -- their slogan this year, after all, is "Watch It Happen" (say it fast), they screwed up the job. So there is a sign and it's a doozy. Probably even electric, but they haven't actually turned it on yet.
So what's the problem? There's no indication that there is any connection between the Tropicana Field sign on I-275 and the Trop itself, which remains a barren piece of concrete some distance away, unadorned by anything baseball related. It has those tiny green letters high across the top (really, Tropicana, you think this is getting your money's worth from a sponsorship deal?) but still nothing more, no banner of the Rays logo, no baseball mural, nada, zip, bupkes. And the new sign, for all its grandeur, doesn't even have an arrow on it indicating where the Trop is.
(A side note: For a sense of how little Tropicana actually cares about being a Rays sponsor, visit this page -- http://www.tropicana.com/index.asp?id=62 -- on their web site and click on the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" link. It takes you nowhere. No kidding.)
So I'll keep the site chugging along a while longer. But not too much. Here's my offer: I'll retire EmailtheRays.com when Vince Naimoli and Chuck Lamar leave. But it's a package deal: they both have to go.
Good night, Gracie.