Phils, Rays know the name of the game
Upcoming World Series features battle for moniker supremacy
When the World Series ends, either the Rays or the Phillies will be crowned champions, and the winner will be forever cemented into baseball lore as the greatest team of a memorable 2008 season.
But the stakes are even higher in this particular World Series, as more than just baseball supremacy is on the line.
You see, this perfect storm of postseason events has led to the elusive matchup in which the two teams' names also pass as common and completely acceptable first names for people (Phil and Ray).
So if we came up with teams featuring the most prominent Phils and Rays, they'd look something like:
1. Philip Roth: Bestselling author's attention-grabbing novels are almost always hits.
2. Phil Mickelson: Pesky pro golfer has the swing to bat in the middle of the lineup.
3. Phil Hartman: Comedy legend and ideal three-man held the "Saturday Night Live" lineup together in the early '90s.
4. Dr. Phil: TV psychologist has the ability to come up big when others need him most.
5. Phillip Seymour Hoffman: Academy Award-winning actor was absolutely brilliant in "Capote," though he could be injury prone if he's anything like his character in "Before the Devil Knows Your Dead."
6. Phil Collins: Solo artist and former Genesis frontman is a steady hit producer who's demonstrated big-play ability with such classics as "In the Air Tonight" and "Against All Odds."
7. Philip Rivers: San Diego Chargers quarterback has the arm to be a steady presence in right field.
8. Phil Ivey: Coolest professional poker player never tips his hand to the pitcher.
9. Philosophy: Though Philosophy might think too much in the batter's box, his versatility (realism, objectivism, skepticism) keep him in the lineup.
1. Phil Connors: "Groundhog Day" legend has unique ability to know what bad pitches hitters will swing at.
2. Phil Donohue: Entertainment ironman holds the U.S. TV record for longest continuous run as host of a syndicated talk show.
3. Filibuster: Political maneuver designed to obstruct legislative decisions would serve as the rotation's stopper.
Mark Philippoussis: Tennis/reality TV star would be ultimate fireballing fireman in light of 140 mph-plus serve.
Phil Cavarretta: Four-time Major League All-Star managed the Washington Nationals from 1951-53.
Phil Niekro: Hall of Fame knuckleballer and five-time All-Star racked up 318 wins over 24 big league seasons.
Phil Garner: Has World Series experience managing 2005 Astros.
Phyllis Lindstrom: Displayed fiery personality well suited for coaching on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Phil Rizzuto: Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop and 1950 American League Most Valuable Player was legendary on the airwaves.
Phyllis George: Hosted CBS' "NFL Today" in the late 1970s.
1. Ray Kroc: McDonald's founder has rare ability to super-size singles into doubles and doubles into triples -- assuming Morgan Spurlock isn't pitching.
2. Ray Allen: Eight-time NBA All-Star and newly minted NBA champion is a classic two-guard -- perfect for the two-hole.
3. Ray Charles: Legendary musician was a total hit machine with "I Got a Woman," "The Night Time (Is the Right Time)," "Georgia on My Mind" and "Hit the Road Jack," among others.
4. Ray Liotta: Actor loses some points for ratting out everyone in "Goodfellas," but if he can play Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams," maybe he can hit like him in real life out of the cleanup spot, too.
5. The Sugar Rays: Boxers Robinson and Leonard would outlast the opposition and hammer them hard in the clutch.
6. Ray Romano: Sitcom star's lovable nature would lull opposing pitchers into offering up batting-practice fastballs, which he would naturally hit out of the park.
7. Ray Lewis: Baltimore Ravens linebacker, nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XXXV MVP, resident intimidator, born motivator and swanky break-dancer would absolutely own any bench-clearing incident.
8. Famous Ray's Pizza: Pizzeria located on every other block in New York City delivers when you need it.
9. Sugar Ray: Pop band's last big hits came nine years ago in 1999.
1. X-ray: Form of electromagnetic radiation would be able to see right through opposing hitters.
2. Stevie Ray Vaughn: Legendary guitarist would undoubtedly know the perfect way to grip all pitches known to man.
3. Billy Ray Cyrus: Country music star and father of teen idol Miley might allow young talent to deliver big hits, though he can always play the sympathy card and plead with opposing hitters not to shatter his achy breaky heart.
4. Rachel Ray: Culinary guru knows how to pitch a meal -- and a show idea -- in 30 minutes or less.
Ray Bradbury: Author has the fireman job all locked up after writing "Fahrenheit 451."
Raymond Babbitt: Master of statistics uses his unique numerical prowess to break down batter-pitcher matchups.
Ray Boone: Two-time All-Star, father of Bob and grandfather of Bret and Aaron has baseball running through his bloodlines.
Ray Kinsella: Kevin Costner's character in "Field of Dreams" could easily coach this team if he can construct a field on which all-time greats play together postmortem.
Ray Knight: Two-time All-Star and 1986 World Series MVP brings much-needed intensity to the staff.
Charlotte Rae: Has experience running the show and making sure "The Facts" are in order.
"You can call me Ray" from Natty Light commercials: Has on-air experience in the late 1970s and early '80s.
So there we have it, and frankly, it's hard to say who would win this World Series of Anthroponomy.
Just like their Major League counterparts, the Phils have the star power, whereas the Rays have the depth and chemistry.
May the best man -- or men -- win.
And be honest, if your name is Ray or Phil, does this series have any greater significance to you? Share your thoughts below.
Dave Feldman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.