Crist: I knew Rays would be in playoffs
Among those in the stands this afternoon for the Tampa Bay Rays playoffs debut? Gov. Charlie Crist and his fiancee, Carole Rome, who have tickets for both today’s and Friday’s games.
Crist will be sitting in the stands (with his security detail close by). “That’s the plan,” he said. “I prefer to be with the people.”
Crist, who once worked for the governing body of minor league baseball, has spent all week talking up the team in Tallahassee. The governor, who rents a condominium at Bayfront Towers in downtown St. Petersburg, was among the first supporters of the team’s now-shelved proposal to build a waterfront stadium downtown.
“I’m so proud of them I can’t even tell you,” Crist told reporters this week. “For them to have been a team that wallowed for 10 years straight, and all of a sudden they’re in the playoffs.
“I had the incredible honor to throw out the first pitch of the first game this year. And I was asked by a member of the press before the game, ‘Do you think the Rays are going to have a winning season?’ and I said ‘No.’ And he said, ‘What do you mean?’ And I said, ‘They’re not going to just have a winning season. They’re going to go to the playoffs.’ People thought I had lost my mind. The Rays proved me right, God bless them.
“The Rays represent what’s right about Florida. No enormous stars, but they exercise teamwork, they work hard, they go to work every day, they’ve got a great manager, and they’re getting it done. It’s a lot to celebrate.”
To hear more of what Crist was saying in Tallahassee this week on the Rays, click here.
Jennifer Liberto and Steve Bousquet, Times Tallahassee bureau
[Opening day 2008, JAMES BORCHUCK, Times]