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Rays Tank: Four shades of bow ties, a baseball study

It's National Bow Tie Day!

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ladies, gentlemen, and puddingrons, welcome to a Very Special Episode of the Rays Tank. More special than any VSE of Blossom, more shocking than the time on Fresh Prince when Carlton got shot, more important than Jessie Spano's caffeine pill freakout, more timely than the time Homer served cabbage instead of lobster and Marge discovered Lisa's test grade, oh yes, because today, TODAY, brothas and sistas, today is National Bow Tie Day. If that doesn't get your blood flowing, then I'm sorry, no collection of highlights can help you. Or perhaps your bow tie is too tight.

And to celebrate NBTD, in the only manner that does it justice, we will be looking at great catches from NBTDs past. Because, as everyone knows, there are only four possible reactions to a man in a bow tie, and they are the same as the reaction to a great catch.


Case Study: Matt Smith

Let's be honest; a bow tie is not an easy look to pull off. But unlike most fashion choices, it's not solely dependent on the suaveness (suavery? suavenivity? whatev.) of the wearer. For lots of guys, the first time you see them in a BT, you think, "well, that's never gonna work." But then, the more you look, you realize that, yeah, it kinda does. Huh. Well, that was unexpected.

It's 2008. Evan Longoria is hurt. Carl Crawford is hurt. Cliff Floyd is on his last leg. But Willy Aybar is capably manning third, a choir of backup singers is covering left, and somehow, the Rays. Just. Keep. Winning. Partly because Eric Hinke, against all odds, looks good in a metaphorical bow tie.

Is that a picture of grace? No. Honestly, it looks kinda clumsy. But is it a thing of beauty? Oh yes. Yes, it is. Because bow ties are cool.


Case Study: Jerry Lewis

Sadly, this is what most people think when they hear "bow tie." For this, we can thank a hundred comics, from Jerry Lewis to Paul Ruebens as Pee Wee Herman, and all the way back to Karl Marx (he was the Marx brother with the big bushy beard). Clownish. Buffoon. It's a signal to not take this person seriously. And even when worn sincerely -- a la former U.S. Senator Paul Simon -- elicits the reaction "Oh my god, that's fantastic, but never wear that again."

Which brings us to Houston in 2012, where Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford combined to make this absurd Bozo the Clown of a bow tie circus catch.

All this needs is for the umpire to hit Panda with seltzer water.

Nods of Approval

Case Study: Dhani Jones

This is the guy who looks so good in a bow tie that you might forget he's wearing one after a while. So natural that you forget how hard a look this is to pull off. Guys like Fred Astaire.  Abe Lincoln.  Ken Rosenthal. Okay, maybe not Rosenthal.

In his heyday, no player better exemplified this with his playing style than former Ray Melvin Upton. (It's still weird to write that.) Here he is on this date in 2013 while he was with Atlanta.

Those long, loping strides, just chewing up real estate. Then the extension. The catch. And the soft dive into the pool, barely making ripple. The essence of Beej. Almost makes you think that if you were a little more athletically gifted, had practiced just a little harder, you could do that too. Hahaha, no. No, you could not.


Case Study: Bill Nye

The fourth and final class of bow tie wearer. Like the clown in #2, this bow tie is a signal. But unlike the clown, this isn't played for laughs. You never forget that this guy is rocking the BT, and you just can't take your eyes off him. Nor do you want to. Because if you did, you might miss something awesome.

Lorenzo Cain. Last year. In KC. Doing what he do.

You better tip your cap, Mr. Arcia, because you just had the privilege of being robbed by a master criminal.


But enough about bow ties. Here's your Link Dump: