Baseball is here! Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we're previewing the season by going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don't Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays. By the way, we know we started this feature with the Devil Rays, but that was so long ago we thought we'd take another crack at it.
• 1. They Will Get You To The Final Four. Pitcher Shawn Camp is a proud graduate of George Mason University. But he showed none of that Basketball Mojo in his first season with the Devil Rays last year. Here's what the team site has to say about him: "Although Camp has good stuff, he failed to put everything together for most of the season. A middle reliever, he showed improvement during September. Left-handers hammered him for a .407 average." When your own team site uses terms like "hammered," that's bad.
• 2. They Will Never Get Scurvy. The official Devil Rays team site is cracking us up. Here is their bio information, in its entirety, on pitcher Jesus Colome: "Is the youngest of eight children ... Sold fruit as a youth in his native San Pedro de Macoris."
• 3. Don't Accept Their Challenge To A Basketball Pickup Game. It's A Trick! Pitcher Mark Hendrickson (6-foot-9, 230) played four seasons in the NBA with the 76ers, Kings, Nets and Cavaliers, from 1996-2000, averaging 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in his 114-game career (better than us). He was a career 80.2 percent free throw shooter (way better than us), and was a two-time All-Pac-10 center for Washington State.
• 4. They Are Beloved By Jimmy Fallon Fans (Both Of Them). The Devil Rays have never made the playoffs, but have seen them vicariously in the movies. In the film Fever Pitch, the scene in which Drew Barrymore runs across the field to where Jimmy Fallon is sitting, near the Red Sox dugout, was filmed after a game between the Red Sox and Devil Rays, with about half the crowd staying after to be extras. The September 16, 2004 game was won by Boston, 11-4.
(Tomorrow: The Arizona Diamondbacks)