A thunderous noise-making scandal hit Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Saturday night.
A couple of Tampa Bay Rays fans — identified only as "Ernie and Shannon" by TV reporter Todd Kalas — tried to bring a pair of cowbells into the park. Cowbells, of course, have been the official noisemaker of the Rays since their World Series season of 2008.
"They told us they're not allowed in the stadium," Ernie said. "Cowbells are forbidden!"
So, after being denied at the gate, Ernie and Shannon returned their cowbells to their car, lest they be confiscated and tossed out by
TSA Florida Marlins security.
Upon returning to the park, the couple was presented with vuvuzelas — the ear-shattering, soul-clobbering air horns that World Cup soccer fans in South Africa have turned into an international, ahem, sensation.
And the Fish were giving them away to fans. On purpose!
Vuvuzelas, if you've never had the pleasure, sound like a giant swarm of bees or the Indianapolis 500, or sound as if you're in a never-ending tailspin while strapped into a World War II-era airplane.
"This isn't soccer," Uggla said. "I know the World Cup is going on, but this is baseball. We don't want to hear horns or anything like that. We want to hear the crowd cheering. We want to hear the crowd getting behind us, not horns."
Rays manager Joe Maddon, about as open-minded a sort as one can find in the major leagues, was no less blunt about his feelings for vuvuzelas.
"They're annoying," Maddon said. "I mean, there's cool things and there's very non-cool things. That's a non-cool thing. ... It just doesn't make any sense."
"I had a headache in, like, the third inning. I couldn't hear anybody when I was sitting on the bench," Ross said. "I know the fans enjoyed it, because they were blowing them all the way until the 11th hour. But for the players, it was awful."
Defend yourselves, Marlins!
"The air horns are part of our regular pregame interactive giveaways for Super Saturdays," Marlins vice president of marketing Sean Flynn said. "We try to create either a sound or visual giveaway."
Oh, forget it. Beyond the noise, there is something to Uggla's point about this being baseball and not soccer.
Rays announcer Dewayne Staats, with tongue planted in cheek, wondered why the Marlins would accept the latest trend over long-standing tradition.
"That's just not right," Staats said. "These vuvuzelas — they're for soccer. Cowbells have a deep and rich baseball history."
All the way back to the Brooklyn Dodgers — and even earlier. Brooklyn, I say! Sorry. You probably can't hear, what with all of the buzzing.
There's only one prescription to make this right. More cowbell. Less vuvuzela.