Rays' Kiermaier on ice with the Lightning
Not many people can chase a baseball like Kevin Kiermaier. A hockey puck? That's a different story.
The Rays center fielder and pitcher Jake Odorizzi skated with several of the Lightning after Friday’s practice at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Odorizzi skated with the team last season.
Kiermaier said he hadn’t been on ice skates since he was 8.
“Oh my gosh. It is not easy,” Kiermaier said after the session.
The Gold Glove center fielder, who glides across the outfield, struggled on the unfamiliar surface, taking choppy steps across the ice.
“Needs some work,” Lightning center Steven Stamlos said. “He’s great on the field with the shoes on, but with skates, not so much.”
Kiermaier, a native of Fort Wayne, IN, attended his first Lightning game two years ago and fell in love with the sport.
Stamkos and some of his teammates have taken batting practice at the Trop before Rays games. The Lightning have extended the invite to the Rays, with Odorizzi and former Rays pitcher Matt Moore skating last season.
Kiermaier finally gave it a try Friday. He left with an even greater respect for hockey players.
“It’s amazing what these guys do out there and being out on the ice today trying to skate, which was not very graceful, it’s amazing how these guys move out there and do the things they do, because it’s not easy by any means and way harder than baseball, if you ask me,” Kiermaier said. “Hitting a baseball is not easy, but skating and trying to stop when you’re going full-speed on the ice, I can’t do it at all. It’s pretty amazing how easy they make it look. Today was an absolute struggle. I just skated and did the most basic things, and I failed miserably.”