Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tampa Bay & New York Gm 2 rained out

The game between the Devil Rays and the Stankees scheduled for this afternoon was postponed due to inclement weather. In other words it's shitty up in the Big Apple. Hometown hero Dukes tries to rehab his rep by signing autographs at spring training

But despite the lack of action on the field today and the fact that they absorbed a 9-5 beating at the hands of the Evil Empire on Opening Day, the Rays are getting plenty of attention off the diamond.

For example this cover story on Elijah Dukes this afternoon. From Karl Ravich to Pete Gammons to Dickie V. everyone is singing the praises of the Rays' troubled-but-talented trio of B.J Upton- Delmon Young-Elijah Dukes. That's partly because they are fascinating case studies of what athletes who are incredibly gifted & talented can do to throw their careers away, and partly because America loves those types of stories, whether they turn out to have happy endings or not.

The stories behind these young men are truly fascinating, though. Take Elijah Dukes. Kid is a legend here in Tampa Bay, both for his immense athletic skills, which were quite apparent when he attended Hillsborough High, as well as for his rough upbringing and hair trigger behavior. Drug arrests, fights with coaches & teammates, suspensions, a dad in prison, you name it, this kid has been through it. After spending 4 rocky-but-productive seasons in the minors, not only does he make the roster after a blistering spring but he goes and hits a home run on opening day in Yankee Stadium for his first major league hit.

Somewhere a Disney writer's burning a hole in the hard drive of his HP Notepad over this kid.

So for now the media will hype Dukes and Young & Upton as well, by going over their numerous arrests, suspensions and immature quotes while touting their physical abilities and what they can do with a baseball. And while they pretend to want these guys to succeed in their careers, they would be just as happy to write juicy columns about their failures and how they wasted opportunities. After all, those make good movies, too, just not the Disney kind.

It's up to Delmon, Elijah and B.J to write the endings for them.

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