I was minding my own business on Twitter yesterday, as one does, until I stumbled across a seemingly innocuous tweet from Steve Carney.
I stopped dead in my tracks. As a Rays fan who is unfortunately not based in the Tampa Bay region, I’m lucky to get to a game once a year, let alone on the regular. So I haven’t attended any of Blake Snell’s starts in person, and therefore have not beheld this blue towering behemoth.
The photo was not only baffling, but intensely comical for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate. The Godzilla-esque creature looked as if he was trying to duck into a tunnel and the grounds crew were assisting him, a la the troupe of sidekicks from the Hundred Acre Wood assisting a portly honey-bellied Winnie the Pooh out of a rabbit’s house.
The longer I looked at it, the more it amused me. And the more questions I had.
What on earth was this creature? WHY was this creature? Was it meant to stand somewhere inside the Trop? Could I hug it? Were plush versions available? Did it have a name? Was DJ Kitty jealous?
The grounds crew eventually freed it from the tunnel, and holy catfish that thing is tall! How tall? 40 feet, according to the Rays.
His name is Zilla, or Snell-Zilla depending on if you go from the uniform or not.
He is probably okay with being hugged, and no, I still don’t know if there will be plush versions, but if the Rays are listening, please get on that.
At present, Zilla makes his appearances for every Blake Snell home game, but like a sensible inflatable kaiju, you will find him outside on those days, rather than in the stadium. A shame, because I feel like not much would get past him in the outfield.
So majestic. So blue. Check him out in action below.
Where he will arrive is a mystery as he surely stomps away into the sea, but he will arise again no doubt the next time CyZilla is in town.