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Rays ban the stogie from throwback jersey


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Rays cut cigars from Tampa Smokers throwback jerseys

By 'Duk

On July 2, the Tampa Bay Rays plan to pay tribute to the 1951 Tampa Smokers by wearing the uniforms their minor league predecessors wore while winning the International League.

There's just one big difference between the real things (left) and the throwbacks (right):

rays_cut_cigars_from_tampa_smokers_throwback_jerseys.jpg

In case you can't spot it, the Rays have removed the picture of the cigar from underneath the "Smokers" name, causing some consternation from the old-timers in Florida. The Tampa Tribune asked about the omission and the team issued the following statement:

"We have chosen to wear the Smokers jersey to celebrate the rich heritage and traditions surrounding baseball in Tampa Bay and this version of the logo is intended only to be a slightly more contemporary version of that wonderful history."

Current attitudes about tobacco being what they are, it's not surprising that the Rays would scissor the stogies from their shirts. But it's also worth asking why they think they should whitewash history if they're going to use the Smokers name for a night anyway.

As the Tampa Tribune notes, cigar smoking and the Tampa Bay region have been so intertwined that, well, the team once had a baseball team named after the habit:

"It's kind of embarrassing," said Gary Mormino, a University of South Florida history professor and co-director of the Florida Studies Program. "I mean, embrace the past."

Tampa's love affair with the national pastime is equaled by its passion for making and smoking fine cigars, he said.

"Tampa still is known as Cigar City," Mormino said. Prior to the 1950s, dignitaries who came to Tampa got the key to the city along with a box of fine cigars, he said, and mayors always were out in public, chomping on foot-long cigars.

I really don't have a dog in this nostalgia race, so I'm not totally taken aback by the Rays' decision. And perhaps it really was a "darned if you do, darned if you don't" type situation with all the anti-smoking groups that exist nowadays.

At the same time, it seems silly that they would cut the cigars — which really aren't all that noticeable — but still advertise the Smokers name for a game at the same time.

Do they really think kids would be chomping cigars by the end of the night?

Or that Smokers used to mean something else?

What do you think? Should the cigars have been cut from the Rays throwback jerseys?

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I'm not surprised the see the cigar removed. All Tampa Bay area teams are involved in a huge anti-tobacco campaign and have been for a few years. Would be odd to see a cigar jersey after the commercial break where BJ Upton is imploring kids to not smoke, dip, etc.

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Myself, I think the cigar in the jersey looks terrible. It's small and encased entirely within the red swoosh across the buttoned area of the jersey. From the stands, I'll bet it's barely noticeable. Furthermore, it looks like a turd. Entirely apart from the whole smoking/anti-smoking debate, I think it's a good thing to remove it.

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I'm not surprised the see the cigar removed. All Tampa Bay area teams are involved in a huge anti-tobacco campaign and have been for a few years. Would be odd to see a cigar jersey after the commercial break where BJ Upton is imploring kids to not smoke, dip, etc.

OK, OK, but that throwback jersey STILL says "Smokers". :wacko:

Should they use a "Non Smockers" jersey? :hockeysmiley:

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This is further indication of what I call the pussification of the United States. C'mon, bullets, smokers, etc are ruining society? I don't think so. No discipline and no guts are ruining society. The second problem I have is that the Rays have no affiliation to the smokers.

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Challenge: Name one unarguably positive contribution smoking makes towards our society.

Jobs. From farmers, to the manufacturers, to the convenience store workers that sell them.

Taxes on them fund numerous positive projects for society.

That's not the point, there are bad things that happen, there are bad habits that large groups take up, but the rewriting of history (speaking as someone with a history degree) is never, ever a good thing. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, and revising history so it's more palatable keeps people from learning or understanding, and generally, it's just wrong. Really, the whole thing is silly, and this is coming from a non-smoker.

This jersey change is really no better than this, the photo on the right was displayed outside a museum in London:

churchill-comp_1657976c.jpg

article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7828755/Winston-Churchills-cigar-airbrushed-from-picture.html

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So somehow a picture is worse than the actual name? What's the point in even doing the throwback in the first place? If they don't like the connotation of the cigar then why are they even choosing to represent a team called the SMOKERS? I don't know much about Tampa's history, but were there no other options than Smokers? I doubt kids would have gone "Oooh, Smokers, golly gee, what an awesome and innocent name! But wait! What is that barely discernible black shape? Maybe I can smoke it and live a happy, carefree life! Thanks Baseball!" Kids probably would recognize the term Smoker and what it means before they would understand that the logo is a cigar. It's like there being a team called the Prostitutes having a condom as a logo and just removing the logo and calling it good.

...sorry, I was ranting.

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Challenge: Name one unarguably positive contribution smoking makes towards our society.

You could probably make the same argument about wasting time on a sports logo message board.

So somehow a picture is worse than the actual name? What's the point in even doing the throwback in the first place? If they don't like the connotation of the cigar then why are they even choosing to represent a team called the SMOKERS? I don't know much about Tampa's history, but were there no other options than Smokers? I doubt kids would have gone "Oooh, Smokers, golly gee, what an awesome and innocent name! But wait! What is that barely discernible black shape? Maybe I can smoke it and live a happy, carefree life! Thanks Baseball!" Kids probably would recognize the term Smoker and what it means before they would understand that the logo is a cigar. It's like there being a team called the Prostitutes having a condom as a logo and just removing the logo and calling it good.

...sorry, I was ranting.

But "smokers" on a sports jersey, in and of itself, doesn't immediately or necessarily conjure up an image of a cigar. It could be interpreted as the "we smoked 'em" kind of smoking. Which works for a sports team. If you name a team the prostitutes, the name in and of itself can't really mean anything than, well, a prostitute.

That's my two cents on why they figured the name was acceptable but the logo was not.

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"We have chosen to wear the Smokers jersey to celebrate the rich heritage and traditions surrounding baseball in Tampa Bay and this version of the logo is intended only to be a slightly more contemporary version of that wonderful history."

This bugs me. History isn't "politically correct." It doesn't always fit in with contemporary attitudes. Changing the past does more harm to history then simply ignoring it does. If the cigar was that offensive to the Tampa Bay Rays organization then maybe they shouldn't have thrown back to a team called the "Smokers" in the first place.

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But "smokers" on a sports jersey, in and of itself, doesn't immediately or necessarily conjure up an image of a cigar. It could be interpreted as the "we smoked 'em" kind of smoking. Which works for a sports team.

At first, before i opened the topic, I thought of smokers as a barbecue thing...y'know, with Tampa being southern and all.

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So where's the outrage over the Milwaukee Brewers? I mean, they should get rid of the beer barrels and wheat logos for the good of the youth.

Or parents can parent on their own and teach their kids about the problems that smoking (or drinking) causes; that could work too.

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