Cutting 'Devil' from the 'Rays' hasn't been that hard

In terms of being able to adapt, I think Tampa Bay's excising the 'Devil' from their nickname has been an unusually smooth transition. Oh, there were a few hiccups here and there. A few times I called them the 'Rays' and it made me think of a bunch of old Polish guys playing horseshoes while drinking Old Style beer and wearing both tennis shoes and black dress socks. (I had a few great uncles named Ray who did exactly that.)

Another time I referred to the team as the 'D-Rays' in a post and drew the ire of a few faithful readers from Florida.

Yet for the most part, the semi-switch has certainly been easier than when the Bullets became the Wizards and the Oilers moved to Tennessee and became the Titans. (Why, just last week I wondered aloud what the Oilers might expect to get in trade for Adam Jones — the video game-inspired miscreant, not the Oriole.)

When it comes to the Rays, though, NY sports talkers Mike and the Mad Dog haven't had as easy of a go as I have, which is why they just sent the team $100 for future 'violations' of using 'Devil Rays' on the air.

As you might have heard, the team already has an in-house "swear jar," fining $1 to every player, coach and franchise employee who slips up. But they shouldn't expect a contribution from the Stew, because I've already banished any Satanic connotations to Tampa's team from my baseball memory bank.

Ridding my noggin of old Polish guys pitching 'shoes? Now that's a whole different challenge.

• Number of the day / St. Pete Times

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