I guess when you take a crappy team that’s never had a winning record – Christ, never won more than 70 games! – and put them in first place in mid-July, you have to expect they’ll be out of their element. Sure, the win-thirsty fans might get a little mouthy, the players might start to strut around, chests puffed out more than usual, but you would think the Tampa media would try to keep an even keel about the way things are going, I mean it’s been 10 years of off-the-charts sucking. But some people just can’t handle the truth. It was clearly documented by both Red and I that playing “Sweet Caroline” after sweeping the Sox was creating some seriously bad mojo – like tugging-on-Superman’s-cape-or-messin’-around-with-Jim kinda bad. And sure enough the Rays have lost four straight, two of those to the Yankees, getting outscored 27-7.

So you can blame it on a wise-ass PA dude at the Trop for creating the Curse of Neil Diamond and sending the Rays back into obscurity, ’cause that’s where I think they’re destined to end up. But check out an article in The St. Petersburg Times, cleverly called “10 reasons to hate the Red Sox” by one Tom Jones. Not the Tom Jones, at least we don’t think so. It is so poorly written and factually inaccurate that it makes anything the Post or the Daily News ever spit out look like Pulitzer Prize material.

The fans

Red Sox Nation? They weren’t even known as “Red Sox Nation” until they started winning championships, which in case New Englanders forget (and it seems they have) was only a few years ago. Before 2004, Red Sox fans were like Cubs fans: lovable losers. You felt sorry for them when Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone happened. Then they won a World Series and then another and now they, including all the bandwagon jumpers, parade around like they invented the game. They were more fun — and a whole lot classier — when they were cursed.

Wrong. The term was first coined by a Boston Globe Writer in 1986, then made popular ten years later in a book titled “At Fenway: Dispatches From Red Sox Nation” by none other than the Curly-Haired Boyfriend. And does this guy really want to talk about bandwagon fans?

Curt Schilling

I know he’s not around, and, sincerely, we hate to see anyone’s career end on an injury. But …

Shut up. Please. Please shut up. You talk too much. Remember a few years ago when he popped off on Lou Piniella, claiming Piniella no longer knows how the game is played? (This year’s NL Central standings suggest otherwise.) That’s just one of like a million things Schilling, right, has said over the years — to newspaper reporters, on the radio, on TV … in his own blog! I swear, someday a YouTube clip is going to show him rubbing ketchup on that, ahem, bloody sock. Okay, we get it, you had a cut on your foot.

Wow. I know he probably isn’t serious…but…wow. And did he really say “right” in the middle of a sentence?
Oh yeah, sure, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, right, is a genius. It takes real brilliance to recognize that Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell are, uh, pretty good and we should write them a check from a limitless bank account. No, genius is trading away a player like Delmon Young for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett.

Newsflash: we traded for Beckett and Lowell! There’s a guy named Hanley we gave up in this deal playing pretty well right now.

Jason Varitek’s C

Jason Varitek is the Red Sox captain, and he wears a “C” on his uniform. This isn’t hockey. Why is he the only guy in baseball wearing a C? In fact, what does a baseball captain even do? Wearing a “C” is just arrogant. “Hey, look at us, we have a captain.” “Hey, lookie at me. I’m the leader.” The Yankees have a captain, too, but you don’t see Derek Jeter feeling the need to announce to the world that he has a job that has no duties. If you want to lead, then lead. But you don’t have to tell everyone that you lead.

Yeah…there’s actually only a handful of teams who even designate a captain, Jeter being one of them, and as far as what they do…nothing. So why do they need the title (or the “C”) and other teams don’t? It’s something called “respect” given to long-term members of a team.

Coco Crisp and Jonathan Papelbon

Don’t get us started on Coco. He starts all the trouble by spiking Akinori Iwamura then has the nerve to storm the mound when James Shields hits him in the leg? Whatever. Everything calms down, everything is evened up then Papelbon, right, runs his mouth about the whole thing not being over. Unless you plan on grabbing a bat and standing in a batter’s box, you probably shouldn’t say anything. And while we’re at it, does Kevin Youkilis have to wet his pants and throw helmets every time he gets called out on strikes or pops up with a runner on third and one out?

As far as the Papelbon and Youk comments…never mind, not worth responding to. And yes, he did drop another “right” in the middle of a sentence.

Listen, I understand this was probably a harmless attempt at “tongue-in-cheek” humor, but it’s July. When Labor Day has come and gone and the kiddies are back in school and the Rays are firmly entrenched in third place, I’ll be checking Tommy’s column out to see how funny he is then.