I've found it -- I've gone directly to the heart of the most annoying gimmick the sports world has ever seen.
If you watched any of the Red Sox/Rays games from Tampa, you no doubt heard that annoying ringing sound. It almost drowned out the commentators.
It's the cowbell.
Now to be very clear, the Tampa Bay area is known for a lot of different things: sun, beaches, the first Hooters restaurant, an amazing number of junky strip malls and for that matter, strip bars. Farms, cows and the bells these cows would wear, aren't anywhere to be found.
It's actually a lame tradition that started because Tampa Bay had (until the playoffs) so few fans.
The Rays owner loved the very funny SNL skit with Christopher Walken as a cowbell-loving record producer so the owner played it on the stadium big screen. He then gave cowbells to the half dozen fans who came to games so they could make the cavernous stadium feel loud and energetic.
Cue the "Cowbell Kid."
Cary Strukel isn't even a kid, he is a bartender and construction worker by day. Then during every Rays game, he is a blue-afro-wig-wearing, cowbell-slapping knucklehead.
To be fair, he is a heck of a nice guy and if he was a Phillies fan we would probably love him but he's not so we don't.
He is the ringleader of this obnoxious, grating noise making you'll hear at the Trop.
Strukel has his eye on Ryan Howard -- he thinks Howard is mentally fragile and he thinks the constant ringing in his ears will wear him down -- keep him from hitting home runs.
Of course, we as Phils' fans know Ryan Howard is actually more susceptible to hard-diving breaking balls.
But, I digress.
There you have it, everyone was curious about the cowbells and I dug up the story for you. That's why I'm here! Now during the World Series when you find yourself getting so annoyed at the dopey cowbells, you'll know where to focus your anger -- the Rays owner and the "Cowbell Kid."