Last man who still said ‘Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ dies

LAKELAND, FL—Peter Mankins, the last known man to have still referred to the Tampa Bay Rays as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, passed away yesterday at the age of 42. Mankins, who was a Rays fan since the club’s inception in 1998, refused to call the team by its new name when they dropped the ‘Devil’ moniker in 2008, though friends admit they're unsure if this was done out of spite, ignorance or laziness.

“He just kept saying, ‘Hey guys, catch the Devil Rays game last night?’” said a former co-worker at the Cleveland Heights Country Club, where Mankins had worked as an associate grounds keeper for 13 years. “The first year it wasn’t really a big deal, a lot of us still called them the ‘Devil Rays’ when they initially switched over. But after a few seasons, everyone got on board, but not Peter.”

Friends and co-workers say they corrected Mankins on numerous occasions, but he failed to adopt the shortened name. “He said it really didn’t matter,” explained Mankins’ cousin Adam Mankins. “And I guess it really didn’t, but it was still weird, you know? It’s kind of like people who say their cell phone provider is Cingular.”

A Rays spokesman said the organization expressed its condolences over Mankins passing, but added it was excited to finally put their past to rest and fully embrace the new era of Tampa Bay baseball.

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