The baseball promotion guy’s work is never done, and there have been some odd promotions. But the Tampa Bay Rays, losers of 14 of their last 16 games, have come up with a truly obscure one. An email from Rays Tickets News informs me that when the Rays host the Houston Astros in the Trop on June 20 it will be “Soccer Night.”
I’m urged to buy a $30 “Soccer Night special event package” which will entitle me to a “discounted seat in the lower level” (of the Trop presumably) and a “limited edition Rays style soccer scarf” (whatever that is).
The headline to the email shouts, “Join in on the soccer madness at Soccer Night with the Rays!” What a Major League baseball game between two losing teams has to do with soccer is anyone’s guess. There is no detectable interest in soccer, other than what kids play, in the Tampa Bay area. The only local “soccer madness” I’m aware of is when I tune in a sports channel to pick up a baseball or a basketball game only to find a %^&*ing soccer match on instead.
In spite of almost no interest in soccer in the lower 48, sports pages have nattered on about the World Cup at great length. The Wall Street Journal recently featured a multi-page spread on the Cup, which probably represents one of the biggest wastes of unread newsprint in that venerable publication’s long history. My guess is it was read mostly by Americans who visited Europe once and should have stayed there, or perhaps by the hundred or so people in the lower 48 who understand and prefer the metric system.
My own Tampa Tribune chipped in a long piece, where I learned that the Cup will last four weeks. (I skimmed the story to find the only thing I wanted to know about the Cup, to wit: when will it be over?) I’m sure it will only seem like twelve. My understanding is the first match was between host Brazil and Croatia. I’m sure I’ll be able to get to sleep without knowing how that one turned out.
(Brazil won, 3-1.—Ed.)