Four-syllable Canticles

Here’s a copy of a Draysbay FanPost I concocted out of much frustration with the Rays current cheering options.  I wrote it almost a year ago, but sadly, Rays Republic has not yet adopted my stellar suggestion.  Also of sad note is the unfortunate pseudonym I employed:  Deuce Cannon.  What initially seemed to me a bad ass nickname now too closely resembles the word “douche”, and might also describe some sort of early military contraption for hurling feces.

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I know you probably don’t know what the word canticle means.  Neither did I, until I went looking for a synonym for the word “chant” that rhymes with “syllable”.  Lucky for me, some Latin-speaking folks in the 13th century saw fit to create this linguistic nugget, and now … here we are.

So, let me begin by stating that no one would describe me as the outgoing type, but I did go out to approximately thirty Ray’s games last year.  I phrase it as such because this article is about being vocal at baseball games and how Rays fans need to get better at it.  Now, I’m never going to be the guy with the immeasurably large blue afro, banging a cowbell while Yuniesky Betancourt whiffs at an 0-2 pitch in the top of the third, but I do believe that Rays fans have an obligation to be more skilled in the art of cheering.  Listen to this example from fans who know what they’re doing:

The Yankees fans are just as good at it.  It’s intimidating.  I have been at the Trop when the Red Sox or Yankees fans join together and produce that chilling and horrifying rally cry.  That sound is intended to embolden their team and strike fear in ours.  It is the soundtrack of pillage and plunder of our hometown as we just sit there nervously washing down swallowed pride with a sip of $8 beer.  It’s like the violent howl of invading hordes as they hammer-fist you in the face and seize your scantily-clad, voluptuous woman.  It is a violation and it must be countered.

Now, why are the Yankees and Red Sox chants so potent?  It’s simple.  The team names are 2 syllables.  This allows them to produce the four-syllable chant, “Let’s go ___   ___”.  Or, using capitalization to convey vocal emphasis, “LET’S go RED sox!”, followed by the catchy percussive rhythm “clapclap … clapclapclap”.  It’s melodic, sing-songy, fun to scream, and most importantly, highly effective.

In stark contrast, our pathetic Rays chant is monotonous and unconvincing:  “let’s … go … rays, let’s … go … rays(!)”.  There is no melody to that.  There is no passion in that slow, soulless drone.  Alternatively, there is an even more pathetic Rays chant in frequent use:  “LET’S go RAY-hays!  LET’S go RAY-hays!”.  It is a lame attempt to stretch the word “rays” into a two-syllable word and it isn’t even followed by the clapping.  It’s ridiculous.

So, what are we as Rays fans to do?  Must we remain sadly shackled to our lamentable appellation?  Are we hopelessly bound by our unfortunate monosyllabic moniker?  No, my comrades, we are not.

We can overcome this, but you must be willing to travel with me down a dark and treacherous political path.  For some, there will be sacrifice of residential identity.  But trust me, there is light, and unity, and some sweet, sweet kick-ass vocal harmony at the end.  What you are about to read is the single greatest phrase you have ever … experienced.  If your young children are asleep in your home, wake them.  Sit them on your knee.  This will be the most pivotal moment of their young lives to date, and possibly the remainder.  If your lady is watching American Idol, simply turn off the television, take her hand and walk her to the back of your desk chair as you read this:

“LET’S go TAMpa!” clapclap … clapclapclap.  “LET’S go TAMpa!” clapclap … clapclapclap.

Sure, it looks innocuous enough in Times New Roman font via the soft glow of your 22″ Samsung.  But imagine thousands of rabid Rays fans screaming it in glorious unison as B.J. Upton takes an ever-increasing lead at first base.  Imagine the sense of futility it will give Jonathan Papeldouche, late one night in September, as he nervously clutches the ball that Matt Joyce will soon send rocketing over the right field wall.  It will be a fearsome auditory weapon.

Now, I know there are some among you that will say, “The Rays play in St. Pete, not Tampa.  The city of St. Petersburg brought Major League Baseball to the Bay Area, not Tampa.”  Yes, I understand this, but they are still the Tampa Bay Rays.  The letters on their hats are TB, not SP.  St. Pete residents might also say, “I can’t chant ‘Let’s go Tampa!’.  It sounds too much like ‘Let’s go to Tampa!’ ”  Well, you know Grandma, sometimes it’s hard to face the inevitable, but you must learn to accept that one summer day the Rays will trot onto a field that is surrounded by the border of Hillsborough County and that you will have to drive across the bridge to the city where all the people live.  I know it, you know it, hell, even Bill Foster knows it.

I mentioned before that I am not the type to don the giant blue afro and clang the cowbell.  However, I know that someone reading this article is that person.  Perhaps you are more vocal or more spirited than most of us.  Or maybe you just stopped taking your medication.  But whatever the origins, your awkward and embarrassing enthusiasm will be the spark that lights this firecracker.  Some people march to the beat of a different drummer.  You march to the tuba player.  But that’s OK, because it is you that will carry us forward.  You must take us the rest of the way.  When you are leading the cheers at the Rays’ next home game, spread our new chant into the heart of every Rays fan.  Make your voice echo among the catwalks and the baseball gods will smile upon thee.  Godspeed.

Featured image photo credit link

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