With the Republican National Convention in town — you may have seen a little something about it elsewhere in the paper — it seemed only right to get in the spirit and talk politics, starting with one of the most opinionated Rays, Luke Scott. • To get a sense of political views that conservatively would be described as ultra-conservative, know that he posts a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his locker, refers often to the Judeo-Christian principles the country was founded on and says the root of his concerns is the eroding moral character and fiber of the nation. • He is against excessive government intervention, rails against laziness and finger-pointers and insists "we need to get back to our identity as Americans."
Also, that President Barack Obama is "an open Marxist, an open Socialist" not capable of handling the responsibilities of the job.
"What it really means to be an American is to be a man or woman of accountability, responsibility, hard work ethic, discipline, have honor, good character and be honest," Scott said. "Those are the true core principles."
Some of Scott's more provocative views:
• On the Obamacare health-care reform plan, which requires people to carry health insurance: "That needs to be taken and thrown into muriatic acid and just absolutely disintegrated and never spoken of again. Like it would be blasphemy to even mention it. We can't afford it. It's not right. It's the unaccountability thing, where people can smoke cigarettes and be lazy and be unhealthy, and then you and I have to pay for their health care bills. No, I'm sorry, it shouldn't work that way. … This bill is another thing that helps people avoid accountability and responsibility and puts the burden on those that are doing things the right way, which is evil. E-V-I-L."
• On immigration: "Legal immigration, I support. Illegal immigration — that's a big red X. Goodbye. Not welcome."
• On abortion: "I'm against abortion. Even the scientists say when sperm and egg come together, there's a life. So whenever you take away a life, it's called murder. It's wrong. … If it's a case of rape, that person goes in and takes a morning-after pill or some kind of drug, a contraceptive."
• On the Obama administration's handling of the economy: "Horrible. I give them an F-minus. A complete F-minus. Failed."
• On prayer in schools being restricted: "I think that's terrible. It should be allowed."
• On making English required: "English is the dominant language here. This is the language that we speak. It should be mandatory. If you don't want to, then by all means you don't have to — but good luck trying to get by with someone that doesn't speak your language."
• On those who prefer a different system: "Here's a message to those who are socialists and are communists — go live somewhere else. GET OUT! We don't do that here. Go to Russia. Go to Cuba. Go to China."
• On Republican nominee Mitt Romney's positions: "I haven't paid a whole lot of attention, but I like the fact that he's chosen this (Paul) Ryan guy (as his running mate). What I've heard about him is awesome — he's no nonsense, keeps it real, tells you how he feels. He's cut from the same cloth as (U.S. Rep.) Lt. Col. Allen West, another great man and great leader in this country who knows what it means to be an American."
Two other politically savvy players were a little less inflammatory in discussing their primary issues:
RHP Burke Badenhop, a "more conservative" Republican:
Education, "to figure out ways to pay teachers more and get better curriculums"; healthier eating; improved working relations between Republicans and Democrats "for the greater good"; a decrease in the capital gains tax to spur investment, noting, "I've never been a big fan of being taxed on your money and taxed on the money you're trying to invest."
OF Sam Fuld, a "slightly fiscally conservative, socially liberal" Democrat (whose mother is a New Hampshire state senator):
Clean up and essentially simplify the tax code; increase funding all across the board for education; start to tax the food market similar to the tobacco industry and create more transparency in the food industry, which ties in with health care; and, his personal plank, "go to an eight-team college football playoff."
Good thing the Rays are winning, or just think what their attendance would be. Oh wait, they are last in the majors. … So now will ex-Ray Carl Crawford say his heart was in Los Angeles all along? … Most interesting revelation from the behind-the-scenes Caught Looking TV show was concern among the Rays that RHP Alex Cobb was again tipping his pitches during the Aug. 18 game. … ESPN's Uni Watch expert, Paul Lukas, ranks the current Rays uniform design 21st among MLB teams; the Cardinals were first. … The PR staff has already started an email campaign touting LHP David Price's candidacy for the AL Cy Young Award.
Got a minute? Ben Zobrist
Something you're scared of?
Heights. If I'm not strapped in I'm not good.
Karaoke song if you had to?
I know all the words to Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby.
Favorite TV show?
Does my wife (singer Julianna Zobrist) count?