Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
I have a mind to leave Sun Life Stadium right now and go somewhere kind of quiet like the busy neighboring I-95 off ramp so I can make a long distance call back to Tampa Bay’s barrister barroom bullies, Morgan & Morgan Law Firm and see if they want to represent me in my audio discrimination case where I felt embarrassment and humiliation from our cross state rivals, the Florida Marlins and their game day staff who seemed to violate my audio instrument rights by refusing to let me bring in my adorable little Carolina Blue Rays cowbell into the stadium tonight. It is a blatant attempt to silence the Rays Republic fans who made the pilgrimage down to Broward County to support our Rays.
And after taking my little blue Rays noisemaker back to my car, I got the shock of my life as these same Sun Life Stadium gatekeepers handed me a small dark-colored vuvuzela, disguised today as a simple “Marlins Air Horn”. It was their simplistic way of letting me know they make the rules regarding my noisemaker, and their instrument of deaf tonight was going to be a horn that definitely sounds like a huge swarm of Killer bees descending upon us Rays fans in attendance in their lovely outdoor hot oasis tonight.
It seems that the first 15,000 fans who wandered into the stadium tonight were going to be given the Marlins personal interpretation of the vuvuzela /air horn and immediately I wondered just how many Marlins Season Ticker holder were either happy or a bit upset with Marlins sponsor American Fasteners for sponsoring such a promotion. But these are also not your garden variety or even copies of the South African instrument currently all the rage just over the Atlantic Ocean in the country of South Africa during the FIFA World Cup. These Marlins vuvuzelas are only a good foot and a half compared to the over 3 feet of molded plastic that encompasses a classic vuvuzela sold in the streets surrounding the World Cup venues in South Africa.
And these noisemakers have become one of the fastest selling sports items in the World that can be easily customized, or extended by their users for a more pronounced and deeper sound. But this smaller unit given out as I entered the Marlin’s seating bowl could compare quite comparable to our own Rays cowbell promotions that have been done over the last three season, including the post season. Maybe now I understand all the noise commotion over a simple $ 65 Latin Percussion cowbell and a large drumstick being pounded right behind you head. But the low hum of these vuvuzela /air horns do not produce the 127 decibels of the parent vuvuzela creation, which is like having someone run a lawnmower continuously behind your ears all night long.
But I can understand the local sports minded obsession, and constant playing of these childhood toy that in Zulu means ” to make a loud noise”. For a few moments the constant hum of the vuvuzelas after 3 innings of constant blowing and no formal “Cowbell Etiquette” videos or groups like the “Maddon’s Maniacs” to help educate the masses in the stands, the vuvuzelas /air horn have ruled the air tonight. It was kind of funny as a small group of Rays fans and myself began to do a rendition of the “Flight of the Valkyries” or better known as the music from the helicopter scene from “Apocalypse Now” to provide our own Rays counteraction to the local Marlins kids blowing the noisemakers until they were either tired, or their lungs burst from the constant pressure.
Sure it got to me a bit earlier tonight that my Rays cowbell was now alone and unattended in my car and it could easily hear the commotion and noise coming from the high walls of the stadium tonight. How it wished it could have been included in our musical interlude tonight to make noise, in unison with the Marlin’s new noisemaker. And maybe this simple instrument will soon become the Marlin’s noise element that the team will use for the rest of the 2010 season, and might catch on like our own cowbells as their own personal piece of noisy home field advantage.
It is now the top of the sixth inning and with the score in the Rays favor 4-1, the noisemakers have to intimidated the Rays and it is amazing the small pockets of musicians and amateur vuvuzela operators beginning to incorporate their vuvuzela’s sounds into recognizable songs and even a impromptu “Charge” serenade from time to time. The original models of the vuvuzelas can still be purchased state-side on the websites of companies like Amazon.com which has them listed in the 29 inch version for as low as $ 6.99 and up, and $44.99 for a dozen. I think the vuvuzela and its unique sounds are here to stay, and just might find its way into more sporting events within the next few months (lookout NFL/NHL).
But, I will stay with my familiar Rays cowbell. Maybe it is because I can use different rhythm patterns and striking motions to change the sound and the way it carries through Tropicana Field. But the more I hear the vuvuzela tonight, the more interesting and new usage ideas keep popping into my mind like hot buttered popcorn.
Do not be surprised if a few of these vuvuzelas /Marlins air horns make their way home from the Inter-state rivalry and begin a small increasing sound segment within the Trop. when the San Diego Padres come in on Tuesday night. But then again,on the same Amazon.com website at the bottom of the vuvuzela page, the company also is thinking about the anti-vuvuzela movement and list E A R classic trademark un-corded earplugs…for a special price of .10 cents a pair……Might be another wise investment option for those who hate the cowbells…..and maybe now the increasing popularity of the vuvuzelas….zelas…..zelas….zelas.