Wednesday, March 7, 2007

What's in a Name? (Mar 7, 2007)

Original post HERE

by user Manny Stiles

---What's in a Name? Manny Stiles---

Manny Stiles is a character. A guy with a full time job as a stockbroker (and it IS the most wonderful, busiest time of the year, Tax Season!). A dedicated husband and father of two. A collector of hobbies. A ear-blistering recording artist/musician. An ordained minister who conducts pet funerals. A champion fire-roasted salsa maker and champion pumpkin pie eater. A prankster, a wankster, but not a wannabe gangster.

But deep underneath the schizophrenic facade is a writer at heart, at mind, at soul. A journalist by definition. Meaning: a person who journals. Meaning: not a surly guy with a mustard stain on his shirt that hates his life, has a deadline, a guy that HAS to journal as a "profession". No, this is a guy that has to write as therapy, as expression of creativity, as leisurely exercise... as **gasp!** "fun"!

No more ManWags, it's "ManRay" (not to be confused with Man Ray nor the evil Man Ray from SpongeBob SquarePants)

What do you get with Manny Stiles? Fun. If you're not having fun, what are you having? And also, you get a plethora of many styles. Volumious wiles, in fact!
Don't get me wrong. I'm still half tempted to hang a "Will Write for Food/Kids Shoes/Mortgage Payments" sign around my neck. I wanna get paid, just like every other fool with a dream and a passion for "MORE!" I'm doing this writing thing as a part-time part-time gig, you know... but for a second best option to a shot of Vitamin M in the greasy palms; Hell, this is my resume! Proceeds to charity makes it feel pretty good too.

Manny Stiles wants to bring you along on "the Journey". A twisting tale of fate and glory. A Major League journey through the veil of success and victory and into the depths of humanity and reality. Meet the players, peer within the franchise. Follow as the #2 Tampa Bay Devil Rays fanatic roots on his new favorite MLB team! Bask in the Rays of Hope.

---What's in a Name? Tampa Bay Devil Rays ---

Maybe I'm too close, maybe I'm too far away. Maybe I just think I know what's going on and there's a rational, logical explanation to this...There's been some talk about the franchise dropping the "Devil" from the moniker and naming themselves the Tampa Bay Rays.

Maybe "Devil" has a bad connotation with some. To me, a devil ray is a colloquialism for a manta ray, the largest of the rays. I know there's a heavy religion influence in Florida, but they're not the "Tampa Bay Satan Rays", after all... Rays are a fish, in case you didn't know, never thought about it or are a Miami Dolphins fan (Dolphins are Mammals, stop calling them fish). Quite fascinating fish at that! Related to the family of sharks, Devil Rays get their nickname from the "horns" on their head, their forked, pointy tails and their ability to cast spells of dreaded, everlasting evil. Ok, I made that part up; they don't have forked, pointy tails.

The other connotation I think of is the "Devil" card in the tarot deck. The "Devil" card "is the card of self-bondage to an idea or belief which is preventing us from growing" The Devil card conjures images of materialism, stagnation and self-bondage. WHAT would that have to do with this baseball team?
If I were running a baseball team and I wanted to loosen some "self-bondage", escape the chains of the past and move into a new, prosperous future maybe I would change the franchise's name to stir it up a bit. That gets people talking about my franchise. (Sometimes I think half of business is just talking about it.) Not only would I change the name, but I'd stir up "controversy" doing it.

I'm sitting in my fancy office in my mind somewhere in Sunny Florida sipping on a Pepsi product (some Tropicana orange juice, for instance) and I'm thinking about those summanahs in Miami hogging up the name Florida all to themselves. How DARE they?!?! Marlins, pfft! Such a boring fish compared to a ray!!!

And we're a team that encompasses an area, Tampa Bay. Hmmm... Dammit, it's such a diverse, expanding area. But we don't play baseball games in the bay itself, but on dry land afterall. The rhyming of "Bay" to "Ray" is cute and all, but as long as Jason Bay is a Pirate and Ray Durham is a whatever team he's on this year, there's not much to capitalize on. Calling ourselves the Western Florida Devil Rays is interesting but sounds too much like a minor league team (such as the former Western Michigan Devil Rays) and "Florida" just says it all!

And we don't want to leave out the fact that our roots are in the Tampa Bay Area... soooo... Florida Devil Rays of Tampa Bay Area... hmmm. it... just... doesn't... sound ... quite... right... yet.

We gotta represent. The stadium is in St Peterburg, we can stay true to the roots and still express exactly what's going on here. The team is up, it's coming and deal with it... ladies, gentlemen and all others, I proudly present to you...

The Florida Devil Rays of St Petersburg of Tampa Bay Area Baseball Club

Sure the Anaheim Angels of Orange County, California, Western Hemisphere did this first, but we'll do it better!!!

So the name is getting changed. (Or at least I'm on the job, working on it...) But I'm keeping the "Devil" part of the "Rays". Don't throw away history on a superstitious whim, P.C. marketing or special interest group's irrational fear. Let the other teams fear us, keep the "edge"... Honor the fine aquatic ray. He's the "Eagle of the Seas"... or at least the "Kite of the Seas" and if you know anything about kitefighting, you know a kite can mean serious business!!!

Come on! (Here comes the obligatory "Yankee Bash of the Day" - brought to you by In a division with the Yankees, how can "Devil" really be so bad? So Florida Devil Rays of St. Petersburg of Tampa Bay Area it is!!!

So start the countdown til the buzz dies down then I can start my next name change, to the "'Gulf of Mexico Devil Rays of St Petersburg, Florida ot the Western Florida/Tampa Bay Area, Phoenix, Arizona and All Points Beyond Baseball Team."

If we get rid of the "Devil" part, why not just call ourselves the "Tampa Manatees", jeez!

---What's in a Name? AIDS ---

What does a word make you feel? AIDS. It's a cold steel-like word. It rings like a death sentence. It is realer than real. It is heartless and empty. It changes your ease, your comfort, even your blood pressure. People don't like to talk about it. People let an acronym that became a word, "AIDS" drive them to fear, to judgement, to embarassment; driven to silence.

The fact that people can't talk about a disease is what led me to do this. When my brother died from AIDS it wasn't mentioned. It was swept under the rug. Out of embarassment, out of a lack of understanding, out of fear. I fear that the day we can't talk about something is the day we cannot move forward. Silence solves very few issues.

The auction benefits the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation. I want people to understand there IS more to AIDS than social, religious or political matters involved with this disease. It IS a disease caused by a virus that kills MILLIONS of people every year. We need to have more understanding. If "knowing is half the battle" then understanding is what writes history books. We need to fight our fears and grow our understanding, not grow our fears and fight our understanding. There's no reason we can't treat AIDS like we treated smallpox and just get rid of it. it's a stupid disease that needs to go away. No one should have to suffer from AIDS ever again. Especially not children.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation assists with research, education and treatment of patients world wide. They are a well run foundation with a great reputation (as opposed, sadly to many other AIDS foundations which seem to come and go like real estate scams). I feel that AIDS should be no more of a death sentence than life itself. Imagine the doors that will be opened for medical advancement, imagine the understanding of the human immune system we will have, imagine the social advances that will be made when we cure AIDS once and for all!

We shouldn't feel "fear" in a word like AIDS, we should feel "victory".

---What's in a Name? Matt Silverman ---

Matthew Silverman is the name of the winning bidder and guy responsible for making me the World's #2 Florida Devil Rays of St. Peterburg of Tampa Bay Area Baseball Club fan. He's the #1 fan for a simple reason. You REALLY love your team if you go out on a risky limb, be a forward thinker or just have an eye for unique talents (I suppose it's possible) to "force" a whackjob blogger like Manny Stiles to cover your team, eh?

Matt Silverman is a pretty smart guy for a guy with a Harvard Economics background. He's a pretty smart guy who is no slouch as a fan, knows the roster inside and out. He even enjoys writing (a "guest appearance" for an article?) and running. So he has a special interest in the Devil Rays' doing well.

Lucky for me, Matt knows some people within the organization and has offered to "pull some strings" for me to access the club, it's inner workings and details from unique angle a writer like Manny Stiles, hell, ANY writer can only DREAM of having the opportunity to explore! Word has it team owner Stuart Sternberg even enjoys an occasional Manny Stiles post! (can't hold it against a guy for enjoying a little quality sports banter). Matt even says he could possibly "get me a deal" on some Devil Ray logoed merchandise! Sweet!

With Matt's help and other various devices, Manny Stiles will explore the fans, the players. the franchise and all of it's elements to get you a rare glimpse of the #2 fan's team. From the highest level overview to the strangest imaginable topics as "What are the 10 favorite movies of the groundskeeping staff", "How messy is Matt's desk?" or "101 Valid Reasons the Devil Rays Could Win the World Series ('this year' edition)"

Matt and myself have a lot in common, go figure. We both have the first name Matthew (I know, shocking! Manny is my "stage name" and your dreams were shattered as I pulled back the curtain for a moment), we are both familiar with the finance business to varying degrees (he rolled up the sleeves, merging and acquiring at Goldman Sachs; I'm a stockbroker for a large, hereby-unnamed conservative and blogger-leery Mutual Fund company), we both lost a relative to AIDS and (now) we both love the Devil Rays.

Matt won the bid of $535 to charity to have me cover his team for the year and also donated an extra $1000 on top of the bid to go to the charity as well.

---What's in a Name? the Future---

I'm still coming up with a name for the "home blog" even though the articles will run on as well. Watch out traditional journalists of Western Florida... Dr Commento is coming! I'll have a traditional blog as a home base for "All Things Devil Ray" as well as other nonsense, tomfoolery and fun soon enough.

I've got a few ideas for a name including... "Unbelieveably Hopeful Devil Rays Fanblog", "I Cantu, So Should You", "Raving Silverman", "Crazy Devil Raysy " or "Florida Devil Rays of St Petersburg of Tampa Bay Area Baseball Team #2 Fan's fanblog" eh? eh?

Did I mention Matt Silverman is also the Team President of the Devil Rays?
So spread the news, make quality jokes only (funny is funny, but tired and poorly contrived jokes will get you nowhere), call your local radio station, do what you gotta do... Just prepare yourselves adequately - 50 Devil Ray loving articles are coming your way! Enjoy the Journey!

Go Devil Rays!

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