As much as they’ve been giving us fits, the very fact that the Rays are still relevant after May 1 is one of the more interesting stories of the 2008 baseball season. Admittedly, I haven’t been following much beyond the box scores, but last night, with the Sox coughing one up in Baltimore, I starting flipping between video footage of my Uncle Sid’s last four prostate exams — far less painful viewing than the Sox game, mind you — and the Rays-Angels mash-up on ESPN2.

Now here are the Rays, in the thick of an actual pennant race for the first time ever, playing at home against a potential playoff opponent, both vying for the best record in baseball. And the Trop — at least from what I could see courtesy of the ESPN2 cameras — can’t be more than a third full.


I know that the Red Sox are religion here in Boston, but surely there has to be some increased enthusiasm for the hometown team down in TB, right? Enough to, say, pull folks from the early bird specials and swimmin’ holes to come out to the ballpark and see just how far this scrappy team will go? I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that concerns over tropical storm Fay may have kept the crowds away. But what more do the Rays have to do to get folks to show a little interest? Two-for-one beer? A female Raymond mascot? “Free Rubdown by a shirtless Joe Maddon” night?

All I know is if the Rays stay on course, Bud Selig may want to start calling on friends, relatives and local vagrants to ensure a packed house come playoff time.