Let's ignore the baseball craziness that is mediocre Rays catcher Jose Lobaton keeping his team alive by hitting a walk-off home run off of Koji Uehara, who didn't allow any home runs from July onward and had a 1.09 ERA this year and was just so generally good that Baseball Nation was singing his praises just yesterday. That's so crazy. That's insanely crazy. What?
Let's ignore that, and focus on the Rays tank where Lobaton's home run ended up:
The Rays touch tank has been in place since 2006 and features 20 Cownose Rays, caught in Tampa Bay waters and cared for by Florida Aquarium staff. The idea is that fans can visit, touch, feed, and learn about the real-life Rays while watching the baseball Rays.
We had Wade Boggs feed the Rays in a video for SB Nation back in August:
However, there's not much intersection between the on-field play and the Rays. After all, it's 404 feet to center, and the tank is well back and much higher than the right-center wall. This is only the third time a ball has ended up in the tank: the first was Luis Gonzalez in 2007. The second was Miguel Cabrera earlier this year:
That home run actually prompted PETA to send a letter to the Rays:
"The rays held captive at Tropicana Field not only were traumatically taken from their vast home waters but also are subject to harassment, loud crowds and even baseballs capable of seriously injuring them," Delcianna Winders of PETA's captive animal law enforcement said in a statement to the media (tbo.com). "When it comes to compassion, the Rays are batting .000."
But note that both Gonzalez and Cabrera are not Rays players. What would the team do if a Ray hit the ball to his cartilagenous creature counterparts? They have had a plan in place:
If a Rays player hits a home run into the tank, then the organization will donate $5,000 to charity - $2,500 to the Florida Aquarium and $2,500 to the player's charity of choice.
But that had never been an issue, since it had never happened. Now, with Lobaton's homer -- which also happened at the craziest time in the craziest situation possible -- they'll finally have a chance to make good on their offer.
That is, if there are any Rays left:
Per a friend at the game, a Red Sox fan was escorted from the stadium after taking a live Ray out of the tank and throwing it.— Thomas Beisner (@thomasbeisner) October 8, 2013
Be well, Ray.