TAMPA, FL (SatireWire.com) – Eight games behind the division leaders and losing confidence, the Tampa Bay Rays today announced one of their players will have to be killed in order to inspire the team to win the championship in his memory.

Rays Manager Joe Maddon (bottom) will have to give someone the ultimate hook.

“We’ve tried extra batting practice, extra fielding practice, even yoga. We’re just not catching up,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. “I am going to be sad to have to announce the death of one of our players, but I hope that we will honor that person by clawing back and winning the title in his name. Like he would have wanted. Whoever he turns out to be.”
The Rays have yet to choose the death-bump player as Maddon and front office staff scour the roster to find the best candidate, ideally someone who is popular in the dressing room but not too valuable on the field.
“Picking a rookie is good because the loss of a young person is always sad,” said Rays GM Andrew Friedman. “But then again a veteran in the last year of his contract is also good, since we’re probably going to lose him anyway.

“Ugh. Decisions!” he added.

So far the Rays are looking at losing one of their affable but underperforming hitters, such as infielders Elliot Johnson and Kelly Shoppach. But Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said 35-year-old DH Johnny Damon is the sentimental favorite.
“Johnny is getting up there in age and is injured a lot, but he has amazing career stats — Hall of Fame stuff,” said Sternberg. “If someone like that died, I mean, can you imagine? It would be so inspiring.”
One drawback is Damon’s #22. “We have to think what number looks good on a black armband,” said Sternberg. “I prefer lower numbers because they’re historically better players and that seems more of a loss.”
For Maddon, the player’s name is just as important as he’ll have to wield it during pre-game pep talks.
“I’ve gone through our roster and we obviously didn’t draft these guys for their Gipper qualities,” said Maddon, referring to George “The Gipper” Gipp, whose death inspired Notre Dame to football glory in 1920. “I mean, ‘Win one for Andrew Sonnanstine?’ Our scouts have got to do a better job.”

GM Friedman, however, said he has made his choice: OF Justin Ruggiano.
“I like Justin because his name sounds like ‘Justice,’ and really it would be an injustice for such a great guy to be deprived of life at his age,” he said. “I think our marketing people could work the ‘Justice for Justin’ angle, particularly if he happened to die in (rival) Boston or New York.”
In response, fans of the second-place New York Yankees are already urging manager Joe Girardi to consider shortstop Alex Rodriguez for the honor.
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