The Tampa Bay Rays had another special guest Friday as Dave Stevens, who was born without legs and has worked out with several baseball teams as well as the Dallas Cowboys, joined them for batting practice.
Stevens wrestled and played football and baseball in high school, and continued with wrestling and football in college. He has also played briefly with the St. Paul Saints independent league team and had a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys. He currently works as an assigment editor for ESPN, which documented Friday's activities.
Now 45, Stevens said Friday's workout was the highlight, as he fielded ground balls with the Rays during infield practice and went into the cage to take swings - and hit a few hard - hit off Triple-A pitching coach Neil Allen. "This topped them all,'' Stevens said. "This was amazing. I'm on such a high. It's hard for me to describe. I'm almost speechless. ... This is beyond fantasy camp, beyond a dream come true.''
Stevens, who is participating in a celebrity amputee golf tournament, will also take part in the major-league alumni baseball game on Sunday in Clearwater.
Stevens said he doesn't like when people single him out as a hero or an inspiration, but if he does provide hope for others, that's okay too. "I'm just me,'' he said. "But if people see me on the field as something good, then that's great.''