Tag: sports

11 Exciting Factoids About MLB’s Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays

MLB’s Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays rank as a favorite for many for countless reasons. While some are taken by its legacy, others are drawn in by the Tropicana Field, formerly known as the Florida Suncoast Dome or Thunderdome, which was built to beckon The Rays to the area. It’s well recognized that the Rays are one of the most colorful teams in baseball and  it’s a fact that their faces are always painted for battle. However, there are some other facts that aren’t quite as well known.

  1. Did you know that the Tampa Bay Rays were featured in the film, ‘The Rookie’? MLB player Jim Morris, who had had a sparkling but brief career, was a 35-year-old baseball coach who was able to pitch 98 miles per hour. For two seasons, he was a relief pitcher for the Rays.
  2. Raymond is the official mascot of The Rays. Raymond was once identified as an undiscovered species of dog… a seadog by the name of “Canus Manta Whatthefluffalus.”
  3. DJ Kitty, a cat wearing a Rays jersey that uses a turntable, went viral in 2010. The black and white feline was featured on the MLB.com and Huffington Post sites and in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times online. Of the cat, some spectators said, “It’s just too much for words. So awesome it hurts.” It’s a fan ritual to rally around DJ Kitty.
  4. While the stadium, Tropicana Field, was constructed for baseball, a host of other sports utilize the facility, including soccer, tennis, and equestrian events. In fact, in 1996, Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals took place at the arena, and visitors were able to watch Lightning and the Philadelphia Flyers go toe-to-toe. With more than 26,183  people fans in attendance, it was the largest single-game attendance figure in NHL history.
  5. Local Tampa Bay leaders sought to acquire another MLB baseball team during the 1980s and 1990s before opting to create a new one, The Rays. According to reports, the Chicago White Sox, the Minnesota Twins, the Texas Rangers, the San Francisco Giants, and the Seattle Mariners were among the many considered for relocation to the Tampa Bay area.
  6. More MLB  Spring Training games have been played in St. Petersburg than any other city. This is impressive considering the MLB didn’t arrive in Tampa Bay Rays until 2008.
  7. Following the conclusion of 2007, Stuart Sternberg, who then had the controlling interest in the team, changed the team’s name from “Devil Rays” to “Rays,” so that it would refer to the sunshine, rather than a manta ray.
  8. The Rays Republic, which is the moniker for the team’s fan base, has a host of notable fans and outrageous traditions.
  9. Once a year, the Rays hold a “cowbell night,” and free cowbells are giving away, meant to ring when the opposition’s batter has two strikes when the Rays make a good play, or when the opposing team’s fans chat. Principal owner Stuart Sternberg got the idea from the Saturday Night Live sketch.
  10. Frequently, Rays games receive visitors, who happen to be… wrestlers? In the past,  The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags), Brutus Beefcake, and Hulk Hogan have made appearances during games. John Cena has also made numerous appearances.
  11. Since the 2008 World Series, the Rays players and coaches have taken to wearing mohawks during the playoffs.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Wakeboarding

stephen overton

After a few months of the cold weather, I like to take a break and visit a tropical island.  It’s a welcome distraction and I indulge in the delights of the warm weather. One of my favorite things to do on a warmer day is hit the water. Laying out by the pool can be nice, but I prefer to be active. Wakeboarding is my preferred activity, but I’ll take surfing, jetskiing or snorkeling if you’re offering. If you haven’t tried wakeboarding, I want you to go out and do it now! Or, at least try it on your next warm-weather vacation. Like hiking, you should be prepared before you hit the water. To make sure you’re safe while you test out your new favorite hobby, I’ve put together a short list of tips to help you start wakeboarding.

First thing’s first, make sure you wear a lifejacket. This goes without saying, but I just want to remind you. Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) anytime you’re in the water. Once you’ve got your lifejacket on, find someone to be your spotter. Since you’re new to wakeboarding, you will need to have another pair of eyes on you. The spotter is responsible for you, and he, or she, will keep the driver alerted about your position at all times, and keep their eyes out for other approaching boats, or objects in the water.

Alright, so you have the very basics covered. Now, you have to get yourself on the board. Before you go out into the water for the first time, decide which foot you want to face forward. This is most basic wakeboarding tip, and you should know before you’re out on the water. Decide by figuring out which foot you intuitively place forward. Imagine you’re about to kick a ball or you’re catching yourself after a stumble, the foot you place first will be the foot that faces forward.

Now, take a beginner’s stance. Place your back binding far back, closer to the end of the board, and align it at zero degrees. You should be able to press your weight directly on the top of the rear fin. Your front binding should be between a 15-27 degree angle, and point slightly towards the front of the wakeboard. During your first few wakeboarding trips, you should use a shorter rope, so it’ll be easier to get up on the board and out of the water.

stephen overton wake boarding

Now that you’re on the board, stay as close to it as you can. Keep your arms and knees tucked in, and stay crouched down until your fully out of the water. As you stand up, take it slow and make every more deliberate, so you can evenly balance and distribute your weight. As you get up and out of the water, keep most of your weight on your front foot. Once you’re standing, remember to shift some of your weight back. As you’re standing, keep the row handle low. As you continue practicing, you’ll be able to hold it higher. The most important thing is to take your time. You should also stay relaxed, and avoid feeling frustrated. Practice makes perfect, and you will make mistakes, but that’s a part of learning. Remember, just have fun with it!