For starters, Rays vs Reds, and the return of Gomes
Update 4:20 p.m. Reds OF Jonny Gomes was his usual colorful self coming back to Tropicana Field for the first time since leaving the Rays in 2008. He said he was excited to be back, and proud of what the team accomplished in his tenure from the Devil Rays to AL champs.
“It’s exciting, it really was," Gomes said of coming back. "Obviously there's alto of guys who came thorugh this organization and left and are other places like pretty much every other organization. But the memories I have from leaving here, going out as close as we could on top, in 2008, we always joked around to where it took a special person to wear green, the old uniforms. I battled through those times and got to the new unis, and new everything. If I did have to go, im definitely very pleased how I was able to finish my time with the Rays.”
Gomes said there will never be another team like the 2008 squad, in terms of all the "homegrown" talent. And he said his biggest memory was when David Price closed out the 2008 ALCS Game 7 against the Red Sox, and jumping on the pile. Gomes was thankful to the Rays fans, who he felt appreciated his style of play.
"I played with some guys, I watched some guys play that seemed like they weren't really excited to be here, in the early days," Gomes said. "They did their best to play their way out of here. It was such a great opportunity for me to be here, and I definitely didn't want to take that style of play. And there's only one real way I know how to play the game and that's playing the game right, hustling and everything and I think the fans appreciated that. For a while we didn't have many fans, but towards the end, they started to come check us out. The fans were always good to me and my whole time here and my whole career is going to be ups and downs, slides and streakiness. But they were always patient me and defintely applauded me when I was able to put some smiles on their faces."
Update 4:16 p.m. Here's the Rays lineup
Developing: The Rays return home after a very successful road trip to open an interleague series with the Reds, and welcome the return of ex-Ray Jonny Gomes.
Gomes, who was very popular in the stands and the clubhouse, will be playing his first game at the Trop since leaving the Rays following the 2008 championship season. He's starting tonight for the Reds as DH.
Reds veteran INF Miguel Cairo, the last remaining active member of the original 1998 Devil Rays, will also return, having made quite a career out of being a super utility player.
Should be a pretty good pitching matchup tonight with Rays rookie RHP Jeremy Hellickson and the Reds' Mike Leake.