'Rayhawk' Readies Tampa Bay Fans For World Series

Some Tampa Bay Ray fans are wearing their hearts on their heads. They're sporting Mohawks in solidarity with their favorite ballplayers, who adopted the hairstyle for good luck in the baseball playoffs.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

For the Tampa Bay Rays, success has gone to their heads. The Rays are facing the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. Game one is tonight. And the team and many of their fans are sporting a signature hairdo. It's called a Rayhawk. Fernando Santamaria is the owner of Fernando's Shaves & Shades, and he is providing free cuts to fans. I asked him what it looks like.

Mr. FERNANDO SANTAMARIA (Proprietor, Fernando's Shaves & Shades): Well, the Rayhawk is the same thing as a Mohawk. The only thing that changed is the name. We put the Ray in front of it just to have something to go by, you know, because the Mohawk is - anybody gets a Mohawk anytime of the year. But we want to make sure that we specify that this is for the Rays and to support the Rays. And that's the reason why we put Rayhawk.

NORRIS: Are people doing this out of love or loyalty, or is a bit of superstition involved, also?

Mr. SANTAMARIA: Well, let's put it this way. This is a long time coming. We've been - we've gone from worst to first, and we're talking worst for the past 10 years. And for us to go all the way to the World Series now, that's so big that people just want to show their support. And it all started with B.J. Upton. He got his first. And he walked into the locker room, and everybody else in the team started wearing it. And when they clinched the playoffs, they started jumping up for a celebration on the middle of the field, and all their hats started coming off. And me and my wife were watching the game, and I looked at her, and I said, hey, you know, what a great idea, you know, with all these Mohawks, let's start giving them away for free just to show support for our team. And they just took off after that.

NORRIS: You know, that's probably tough for someone who has thin or balding hair, maybe a recessed hairline. Does it work with all hair types?

Mr. SANTAMARIA: I'll tell you what. The weirdest one that I've gotten, the guy had a bald spot, like right on the crown of his head. He had just a little bit in the front and a little bit in the back. So, it was split in the center, but we managed to do it anyway. We shaved off his sides, and he had a little bit up front and a little bit in the back. So, I'm sure all he had to do was put a hat on, and nobody would know the difference.

NORRIS: Now, there are people who sport Mohawks not because of their love of sports, but because they're trying to make an aggressive fashion statement. So, I'm wondering if there are some punk rockers walking around the city saying, oh, man, you know, now everybody's getting a Mohawk.

Mr. SANTAMARIA: Well, they're definitely benefiting from the free Rayhawks if they normally get it. And one of the Rays players mentioned in one of the stories that if a tourist comes to Tampa and sees all these Mohawks walking around, they're going to get scared and never want to come back because they're going to think it's a punk rock town. And it's really not. It's just, we're all in the spirit, and we're all trying to support the team. And that's why you see so many of them going around right now.

NORRIS: Well, Fernando Santamaria, thanks so much for taking time to talk to us.

Mr. SANTAMARIA: I appreciate it.

NORRIS: All the best to you.

Mr. SANTAMARIA: Thank you.

NORRIS: Fernando Santamaria is the owner of Fernando's Shaves & Shades. He's been providing free Rayhawks to fans of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.