Sports Illustrated profiles Carlos Pena
There's a fairly lengthy piece on Carlos Pena's rise to become one of the game's top powerhitters in the new Sports Illustrated due out Wednesday. Rays fans are familiar with much of Pena's story - such as how he came to camp on a minor-league contract in 2007 and only made the team after Greg Norton was injured at the end of the spring, how he considers the Tampa Bay area " the best place to play baseball in the world" - but there are some interesting passages from writer Ben Reiter.
A few that stood out:
* On the potential of Pena and Carl Crawford leaving after the season: "This core group is going to still be together, me and Carlos are the only two guys that are going to be leaving,” notes Crawford, perhaps giving away more than he should. “We definitely feel like this is a special year for us, and we would like to do something good.”
* On Pena's upbeat personality: Peña’s teammates suggest he ought to pursue a second career as the host of a children’s
television show or as a mayor. "At the beginning, I was a little bit skeptical of whether he was genuine,” says (executive VP Andrew) Friedman, a former Bear Stearns banker who knows of others’ artificial bonhomie. “He was one of those people that’s so nice that he makes you feel like a bad person in conversation with him. But it’s absolutely real. He’s a genuinely good person who cares deeply for his teammates and this organization and his community.''
* On Pena's future with the team: Compounding matters is that Peña—in something of a disconnect from his smiley personality— is represented by Scott Boras, an agent who cares little about good times and gray-blue waters and yellow full moons and a lot about green cash.