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438303 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2008-04-01 02:26:22.0 UTC 2008-03-31T22:26:22.000-04:00 hinske-makes-quick-impact-in-rays-season-opener Published 2008-04-01 18:59:42.0 UTC 2008-04-01T14:59:42.000-04:00 sports/baseball/rays DTI 37335970 BALTIMORE — Eric Hinske didn't know where he'd be on opening day. The six-year major-league veteran came to Rays camp on a minor-league contract just hoping he'd get the chance to compete for a job. He made the team, he made the starting lineup and he made the most of the opportunity, hitting a fourth-inning home run Monday in the 6-2 win over the Orioles. "If you're not ready for opening day, there's something wrong with you," he said. "I was a little nervous when it started, a new team and opening day, all the jitters were there. But after the first at-bat (a double-play grounder), I just said, 'Calm down, get a pitch to hit,' and I ended up getting a pretty good pitch out over the plate, fastball, and put a good swing on it. It's nice to hit a home run and help the team win on the first day." • • • For eight Rays, it was their first major-league opening day: Willy Aybar, Matt Garza, Nathan Haynes, Jason Hammel, J.P. Howell, Elliot Johnson, Shawn Riggans and Andy Sonnanstine. For Johnson, it was also his first major-league game. And first major-league road trip, what with the chartered jet and plush hotel, where the bellmen deliver the luggage to the rooms. "I figured that one out," Johnson said. "Everyone's been nice, a lot of guys are helping me out, making sure I know all that stuff. And they're making sure I got them beers on the plane and on the bus. But everyone's been taking care of me. There's a lot of stuff to take in." • • • There are only three members of the organization who have been at all 11 openers (including the 2004 series in Japan): communications vice president Rick Vaughn, team travel director Jeff Ziegler and video coordinator Chris Fernandez. • • • It was veteran Troy Percival's first opening day since 2005 — having been hurt in 2006 and retired in 2007 — and he was the first one to the ballpark, walking in around 9:30 Monday morning, just 5½ hours before first pitch. Was he that excited? Actually, he was sick, hit hard Sunday by a cold. "I woke up in a pool of sweat," he said. Plus, Percival said, he wasn't that early. "C.C. (Carl Crawford) was right behind me, 10-15 minutes, and some other guys came in quick," Percival said. "It's good, we've got some early birds." Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer Baseball,Rays,Sports Hinske makes quick impact in Rays' season opener Marc Topkin Eric Hinske didn't know where he'd be on opening day. 4STC Sports External input 5 sp_rayssider040108 2008-04-01 04:00:00.0 UTC 2008-04-01T00:00:00.000-04:00 false templatedata/tampabaytimes/StaffArticle/data/2008/03/31/37335970-hinske-makes-quick-impact-in-rays-season-opener StaffArticle sports,baseballBaseballsports,baseball,raysTampa Bay RaysBALTIMORE — Eric Hinske didn't know where he'd be on opening day.Baseball,Rays,SportsBaseball,Rays,SportsMarc Topkin 380332 2038-01-18 05:00:00.0 UTC 2038-01-18T00:00:00.000-05:00 2012-10-25 12:36:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:36:06.000-04:00 marc-topkin published 2013-02-18 17:30:43.0 UTC 2013-02-18T12:30:43.000-05:00 Marc Topkin <p>Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the <i>Times</i> since 1987 &mdash; from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.</p> Times Staff Writer writers DTI 33745506 Marc Topkin has covered baseball for the Times since 1987 — from the lengthy effort to secure a team, to the awarding of the Tampa Bay franchise in 1995, and through each of the Rays seasons starting in 1998. He has traveled throughout the United States with the team, as well as to Canada, Venezuela, Mexico and Japan, and has covered All-Star Games and the World Series, as well as Super Bowls and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. <p>Phone: (727) 893-8801</p> <p>Email: <a href="mailto:topkin@tampabay.com">topkin@tampabay.com</a></p> <p>Blog: <a href="http://blogs.tampabay.com/rays/">The Heater</a></p> <p>Twitter: @TBTimes_Rays</p> <div style="position: absolute; left: -40px; top: -25px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;" data-mce-bogus="1" class="mcePaste" id="_mcePaste"></div> 1 /resources/images/bio-photo/2012/topkin.jpg true templatedata/tampabaytimes/AuthorProfile/data/33745506-marc-topkin AuthorProfile 2012-10-25 12:36:06.0 UTC 2012-10-25T08:36:06.000-04:00 <span style="display:none;" class="author vcard"><span class="fn">MARC TOPKIN</span></span><span style="display:none;" class="source-org vcard"><span class="org fn">Tampa Bay Times</span></span><a rel="item-license" href="/universal/user_agreement.shtml">&#169; 2016 Tampa Bay Times</a><br /><br />Times Staff Writer 2281218 2016-06-11 01:34:09.0 UTC 2 Months Ago forsythe-has-impactful-return-for-rays sports/baseball/rays Forsythe has impactful return for Rays (w/ video) StaffArticle 2281243 2016-06-11 02:30:55.0 UTC 2 Months Ago with-their-season-on-the-brink-rays-save-things-for-now sports/baseball/rays Jones: With season on brink, Rays save things ... for now StaffArticle 2289947 2016-08-18 02:12:58.0 UTC 2 Weeks Ago rays-offer-special-deal-to-season-ticket-holders sports/baseball/rays Rays offer special deal to season-ticket holders StaffArticle <p> BALTIMORE — Eric Hinske didn't know where he'd be on opening day. </p> <p> The six-year major-league veteran came to Rays camp on a minor-league contract just hoping he'd get the chance to compete for a job. He made the team, he made the starting lineup and he made the most of the opportunity, hitting a fourth-inning home run Monday in the 6-2 win over the Orioles. </p> <p> &quot;If you're not ready for opening day, there's something wrong with you,&quot; he said. </p> <p> &quot;I was a little nervous when it started, a new team and opening day, all the jitters were there. But after the first at-bat (a double-play grounder), I just said, 'Calm down, get a pitch to hit,' and I ended up getting a pretty good pitch out over the plate, fastball, and put a good swing on it. It's nice to hit a home run and help the team win on the first day.&quot; </p> <p> • • • </p> <p> For eight Rays, it was their first major-league opening day: Willy Aybar, Matt Garza, Nathan Haynes, Jason Hammel, J.P. Howell, Elliot Johnson, Shawn Riggans and Andy Sonnanstine. </p> <p> For Johnson, it was also his first major-league game. And first major-league road trip, what with the chartered jet and plush hotel, where the bellmen deliver the luggage to the rooms. </p> <p> &quot;I figured that one out,&quot; Johnson said. &quot;Everyone's been nice, a lot of guys are helping me out, making sure I know all that stuff. And they're making sure I got them beers on the plane and on the bus. But everyone's been taking care of me. There's a lot of stuff to take in.&quot; </p> <p> • • • </p> <p> There are only three members of the organization who have been at all 11 openers (including the 2004 series in Japan): communications vice president Rick Vaughn, team travel director Jeff Ziegler and video coordinator Chris Fernandez. </p> <p> • • • </p> <p> It was veteran Troy Percival's first opening day since 2005 — having been hurt in 2006 and retired in 2007 — and he was the first one to the ballpark, walking in around 9:30 Monday morning, just 5&frac12; hours before first pitch. </p> <p> Was he <i>that </i>excited? </p> <p> Actually, he was sick, hit hard Sunday by a cold. &quot;I woke up in a pool of sweat,&quot; he said. </p> <p> Plus, Percival said, he wasn't <i>that </i>early. &quot;C.C. (Carl Crawford) was right behind me, 10-15 minutes, and some other guys came in quick,&quot; Percival said. &quot;It's good, we've got some early birds.&quot; </p>trueruntime2016-08-30 05:32:47