Monday, October 20, 2008
Powell Endorsement Sends Rays to Series
TAMPA, FL—Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League pennant yesterday, spurring them to a dramatic 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Calling the Rays a “transformational team” and “a new generation coming onto the World Series stage,” Powell apparently inspired Rays players and allayed the concerns of Rays fans who feared that the Red Sox would find a way to stage yet another stunning playoff comeback.
“Motherf***ing Red Sox,” said one Rays supporter who spoke just before the start of game seven. “Just when you think they’re finally dead, they nargleflecchjeedusrawkik&%##@*$#&=))))” The fan then began to spit and twitch uncontrollably and was taken to the Yankee-Indian Institute for Post-Traumatic Sox Disorders for observation.
The Rays had been projected to win the American League pennant as early as last Thursday night, but an improbable eight-run rally propelled the Red Sox back into the series. All eyes then turned to Florida, where many analysts speculated that the series might end in a virtual tie, thus opening the door to legal and procedural disputes and possibly leaving the fate of the American League pennant in the hands of a decidedly pro-Boston Supreme Court. “Weirder things have happened,” noted Rays manager Joe Maddon.
But Powell’s endorsement was “a game-changer,” Maddon said in a post-game interview last night. “I know it’s a cliche, but Powell really changed the game in a game-changing kind of way.”
Equally important, for some observers, were Powell’s criticisms of the Red Sox organization. On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Powell said he was “disappointed . . . by some of the approaches that Terry Francona and his players have taken recently,” and called the Boston front office “a little narrow” in its approach to the ALCS. Powell specifically singled out the controversial “robocalls” in which members of the Red Sox organization suggest that the Rays are trying to hide aspects of their past that might alienate independent and undecided fans. “I have heard senior members of the Red Sox front office drop the suggestion, ‘they used to have a Satanic middle name and they might be associated with Lou Piniella,” said Powell. “This is not the way we should be playing ball in America.”
In a related development, Tucker Bounds, spokesman for the campaign of Senator John McCain, said the endorsement was simply more evidence that Tampa Bay was unqualified for the World Series. “Only an unproven and inexperienced team like the Tampa Bay Hussein Rays would have to rely so heavily on another man’s resume in making the case for their right to play in the Series, and it shows that they’re just not ready,” Bounds said.
Senator McCain could not be reached for comment on last night’s game, but in a recent interview with the St. Petersburg Times, McCain pointedly declined the opportunity to offer words of support to the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans.