ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- Fans across the state of Florida and across the country are getting set for this weekend's much anticipated series between the Marlins and the Devil Rays. Undoubtedly the most heated rivalry in all of sports, this annual meeting has become known as the "I-75 Series" and has been the center of attention in the sports world for the past decade. Family members across the state become bitter enemies this time of year as the two teams square off for the right to claim the title of the best baseball team in the state of Florida.
St. Petersburg police are stepping up security this year after last year's riots broke out in Miami. "We're not expecting it to get out of hand again this year," said police chief, Larry Zonka, "but we're prepared to take the proper measures just to be sure." Down in Miami, where the slogan is, "Come cheer for the uniforms that won two World Series," the police were ill-prepared for the violence that broke out in the opening game of the series. 57 people were killed and over 300 people were seriously injured as the rest of the series had to be cancelled. This year, to prevent such an incident from occuring, Tropicana Park will be cutting off alcohol sales after the fifth inning, stationing undercover officers and snipers throughout the stadium, and showing highlights of the weekend's NBA playoff games on the jumbotron between innings.
"I never imagined it would reach such monumental proportions," said Bud Selig about interleague play. "I thought it would create some nice interleague rivalries, but I never thought it would come to this. Let's hope the loyal Florida fans can refrain from violence this year and just enjoy this great rivalry for what it is."
Marla Marino, a Marlins fan from south Florida has never missed a game in the history of this storied rivalry and doesn't plan to miss one this year, even though two of her children were killed in last year's tragedy. When asked if she is worried about a repeat of last year's riots she replied, "We love our baseball in Florida and if you can't handle it then move to New York." Marino then proceeded to spit on a 7-year old child who was wearing a Devil Rays hat.