Some of you might know that the Tampa Bay Rays are playing their first-ever post-season game tomorrow. And surprisingly, the Rays hadtrouble
figuring out who should throw out the first pitch. They ultimatelydecided
on John Higgins, the team's general counsel who was the very first man hired by the team way back in 1995. And for Game Two, the pitch will be thrown by Paul Azinger, a Bradenton resident who captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
But my spies at Tropicana Field said there was much discussion and much disagreement over these choices, and they slipped me a list of ten other names that were discussed, but ultimately rejected.
10. Wade Boggs. He hit the first home run in the history of the Rays. He got his 3,000th hit as a Ray. He's the only Ray to have his number retired. He's in the Hall of Fame. And maybe he'll kiss home plate after the pitch. 9. Gallagher. The comedian is a Tampa native. And maybe he could use the Sledge-O-Matic on the umpires if they make a bad call.
8. Tony Saunders. He was Tampa Bay's first pick in the expansion draft. So why not have him throw out the first post-season pitch?
7. Josh Hamilton. The dude took their money and he never played a day in the bigs for Tampa Bay. He owes them.
6. Dick Vitale. He's had Tampa Bay season tickets since day one. You've got to reward that kind of loyalty. Besides, it can't hurt for the Rays to have a PTPer on their side.
5. Jim Duquette. Hey, the guy was stupid enough to trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano when he ran the Mets. The Rays owe him.
4. Drayton McLane. Who knows if the Rays would be this good if Drayton had not have driven off Gerry Hunsicker. Hunsicker has helped the Rays to get their act together. So maybe they should thank Drayton for sending them a professional.
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3. Chuck LaMar. The team's first general manager could never turn this team into a winner. But because the team was so bad, and kept getting high draft choices, he's kind of responsible for the position the team's in now.
2. Victor Zambrano. He was mediocre with the Rays. But he was traded to the Mets for team ace Scott Kazmir, so he kind of made this post-season possible.
1. Eva Longoria. Hell, everyone thinks she's the team's third baseman anyway.
-- John Royal