On June 30th the Rays will wear these uniforms for a faux-throwback game (fauxback game) against the Tigers. Throwbacks are a fun way to liven up otherwise dull early season series (almost all of them), but having only existed since 1998, the Rays don’t have many variants to choose from, and the jerseys they do? Well…
Wade Boggs in 1998.
You’ll never be able to convince me that these uniforms weren’t designed by a local child who stood on his friend’s shoulders, put on an oversized trenchcoat and fake mustache, and killed the guy who was supposed to design the Devil Rays’ uniforms before stealing his identity. Some might call me a conspiracy theorist, but to those people I ask, what’s more likely? That a professional person was paid actual US currency to bring a rejected Baseketball jersey to life? Or my murderous Little Rascals plot? That’s what I thought.
So desperate times (and anyone who saw the Rays before the word “devil” was wrested from their chests knows that there was little that wasn’t desperate about this franchise), call for made up history. These alternate universe Tampa throwbacks are perfect. And it’s not just because they capture the ugliness of the era. It’s because they capture the “oblivious goofiness in the face of ugliness” of the era. This is just one more reason that Joe Maddon is the best manager in baseball. Sure some would point to his affection for sabermetrics, and his solid game management, but me? No other skipper in baseball would nail the smile and awkward hands on the hips pose. Not even Girardi in his “braces aren’t just for 12-year-olds” period. Give that man an award. Good on you Tampa, and good on you Joe Maddon. The Rays: Giving you a viable AL East alternative since 2008.