Fresh off a win in the American League Division Series, The Tampa Bay [retracted] Rays find themselves at the center of the baseball universe. The team’s meteoric rise to the top of the Major League’s toughest division has teams throughout the sport playing catch up.
“You just don’t see that in this day and age, a team going from worst to first,” said Neal Huntington, general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I mean maybe in the NFL, where you’ve got things like a salary cap, but not in baseball. Not in this day and age.”
“To me it reeks of parity. Parity! Parity? In Major League Baseball? In the American League East? That’s just crazy talk,” said Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles. He then went on to elaborate that he saw some potential humor in this season’s final standings. “Now parody, I could go for some of that. Like if The Onion had written a story about the D-Rays winning the AL East, I’d’ve gotten one helluva chuckle out of that. Probably would’ve sent it out as an e-mail to some of my other friends around the division.” When informed that The Onion specialized in satire and not parody, MacPhail angrily retorted “Well fine then Mr. Uppity Newspaper Dude, how about if Mad TV did a sketch on it? Would that suit you? ” As the unidentified, but petrified reporter retreated from the press room, MacPhail chased the reporter down the hall yelling “I can’t wait til the god damn internet puts your sorry ass out of business.”
Th success of the Rays has confused executives throughout the AL. Oakland A’s vice-president and general manager Billy Beane is perplexed as to how the Rays can build on this season’s winning ways. “Sure they have a base of veterans and young players, but they don’t have a hot pitcher to trade away for pennies on the dollar,” he said. “I don’t think Andy Sonnastine garnered enough attention despite his high win total and David Price didn’t even get called up until September…” At that point Beane was cut off when a deranged looking Al Davis wandered into the room and fired him. Beane just shrugged, “he does that two or three times a week, it’s actually kind of funny.”
“I sort of enjoy sharing a home with him,” Beane continued. “That old coot cracks us up around here.” During the September 14 game against the Texas Rangers, Davis wandered out onto the field of the Coliseum and yelled at A’s players to “get off his lawn.” Even those outside of the A’s and Raiders have been affected by Davis’s insane tirades. “That first Monday night game of the season against Denver was pretty harrowing,” said Ignacio De La Fuente, chair of the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority. “First he saw Mike Shanahan and insisted on firing him. We told him that Shanahan coached the Broncos now, but that didn’t sway him. He then ordered one of his assistants to get Pat Bowlen on the phone so he could fire him for hiring Shanahan, Then the broadcast team walked by and he saw Ron Jaworski and thought it was Super Bowl XV and insisted that we sent out an intern to get him some red beans and rice from Pat O’Brien’s.”
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was enjoying a rather peaceful October. “Look at it, isn’t it beautiful,” Cashman beamed as he stood up from a park bench and pointed up and down Wall Street. “I come here every day, it’s quite relaxing.” Cashman explained that he usually has to take a vacation at the end of a season when the Yankees fail to capture a world championship. “One year I went to Afghanistan, another I traveled to a leper colony in Bangladesh. With the way things were shaping up this season, I had already booked a trip to Darfur. Then the market collapsed and I didn’t even have to leave the city.” Cashman then leaned back and rubbed his belly, the smile never leaving his face. “I mean I thought wasting $207 million was bad, but did you see what these guys did? I did steal some ideas from these guys though. I’m going to call Senator Clinton and see if she can get us a government bailout for the $40 million we gave Carl Pavano. He was definitely a sub prime pitcher.”
Some have attributed the winning ways of Tampa Bay to the name change. After last season, the Devil Rays shortened their name to the Rays. This trend has caught on like Wildfire (the Michael Martin Murphy song which reached number one on the charts in 1975 not Tommy Rich who reigned as NWA World Heavyweight Champion for four days in 1981). Jumping on board first was Toronto. “We are through with the Blue,” said the Toronto baseball club’s president Paul V. Godfrey. “From here on out we are just the Jays.” Quick to capitalize on that was Baltimore CEO Peter Angelos. After observing that the division already had a Rays and a Jays, he dropped the Orioles and rechristened his team the Baltimore Johnsons. “Get it?” Angelos excitedly asked. “The Rays, the Jays and the Johnsons. Like Ray Jay Johnson. Man that guy used to crack me up on the Redd Foxx Show. You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, and then he would just go on and on. You guys remember that right? Surely someone outside of the Simpsons writers room remembers that.”
The Yankees jumped on this opportunity to go back to their original nickname the Orioles. “That’s right, new stadium, new mascot,” said Hank Steinbrenner, head of the Bronx Party Chancellery. Later Steinbrenner changed his mind and decided to go in a different historical direction and changed the mascot again, this time to the Highlanders. Shortly after this decision was announced, Mayor Michael Bloomberg informed Steinbrenner that the change in the name of the stadium would cost taxpayer’s another $175 million. Steinbrenner then decided to make a different nod at history and changed the team’s name to the Yankees, which was the former name of the Highlanders four hours ago.
The Boston Red Sox got in on the act and dropped the Red. They will now just be known as the Sox. “Let’s face it,” said Boston principal owner John Henry “Most of our fan base never realized “socks” was misspelled. We just thought dropping the extra three letters would make it easier for Murph and Sully to make signs to bring to the games.”
Just moments after the press conference in Boston, one was held in Chicago where it was announced the White Sox were dropping the White, giving MLB two teams with the same nickname. “Shouldn’t be that big of a deal,” said commissioner Bud Selig. “It’s never been a problem for the CFL.”
In what some view as a rather tasteless move, The Cleveland Indians changed their name to the Steamers. When reached for comment team president Paul Dolan said “Have you ever been on urbandictionary.com? You need to check it out, then you’ll get it. Do you know how many t-shirts and caps we are going to sell to 14-22-year-old men? Big time revenue baby.”
The Detroit Tigers changed their name to the Detroit Magnums. “Look, Jack Morris was nice and all, but really the best thing to happen to this franchise since Al Kaline was Magnum P.I.,” said Detroit owner Michael Ilitch. He also added that the team will now wear Hawaiian shirts. The franchise looked around the Motor City to get some other championship caliber ideas. In addition to the flowered uniforms, next season, all players will wear a clear, protective mask. They also plan to sign more Russians and six foot tall women.
In Kansas City, the Royals surprised many by retaining their nickname. However, one slight change was made. “From here on out we are the Los Angeles Royals of Kansas City,” exclaimed CEO David Glass. “See our problem for decades has been that we are a small market team, well consider that problem solved. We now play in the second largest media market in the country. Also, we’ve now got the best bar-b-q in LA.”
With all of this action and excitement, Major League Baseball expects a big postseason. “The League Championship Series both start this weekend,” Selig said. “We think a lot of fans will be glancing at those scores as they scroll by on the ticker during football games.”
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