They're proud and paid (rather well) to be Tampa Bay Rays, but for one day, Matt Joyce, David Price and James Shields are going to be pirates.
That's Gasparilla pirates, with a lowercase p.
The Rays' three 2011 All-Stars will share duties as grand marshals for Saturday's parade through Tampa. While they're cool, calm and collected performing in front of tens of thousands (or sometimes at the Trop, 10,000), the Rays mates aren't quite sure what to expect for this outing, but are excited by the prospects.
"This is pretty cool,'' Shields said. "It's really a nice gesture by the community to get us in there. We feel pretty honored.''
Joyce, who grew up in Tampa, has been along the parade route a few times. His mates, Price and Shields, are first-timers. "I'm not sure I've ever even been to a parade,'' Price said.
So in the spirit of Blackbeard, Jack Sparrow and Capt. Hook, we asked the three Rays to channel their inner pirate and answer a few Gasparilla-themed questions.
Favorite pirate movie?
Joyce: I always liked Capt. Hook growing up. Peter Pan, going to Neverland, staying young forever. That's every little kid's dream.
Price and Shields: Pirates of the Caribbean, the first one.
Finer pirate wench, Keira Knightley or Penelope Cruz?
Joyce: Keira. I liked her attitude and sassiness in that movie.
Price: I'll go with Penelope.
Shields: Keira. She's the one who looks like my wife, that's why. (Awww …. )
Price: Jack Sparrow.
Shields: I don't know too many real pirates. How about Capt. Morgan?
Of the typical pirate regalia, would you rather have an eye patch, peg leg or hook arm?
Price: The eye patch. You could wear that to kind of trick people.
Shields: You've got to go with the hook arm. I definitely wouldn't mind using that in a fight, that's for sure.
Joyce: That's tough. I guess the eye patch, so that if you fell overboard, you could swim back.
Teammate (current or former) who'd make the best pirate?
Joyce: Casey Kotchman, though I have no idea why.
Price: Johnny Damon. He's good at whatever he does.
Shields: J.P. Howell (right), just because he has that gnarly beard.
And what about Joe Maddon?
Shields: He's definitely Capt. Hook. Are you kidding me?
Can you use the word "booty" in a baseball sense?
Joyce: Prince Fielder just signed for a lot of booty.
Shields: These sunflower seeds are booty, and that's bad.
Price: The Rays want to win so they can get the booty.
What would you name your own pirate ship?
Shields: The Spinning Cambio (Spanish for change-up)
Price: Astro's Ship.
Joyce: The Queen D. That was my sister's nickname growing up.
If you're burying a treasure, what goes in the chest first?
Joyce: The gold chain my grandpa gave me before he passed away.
Shields: A brick of gold, or a gold rosary.
Price: Probably my Xbox. And some stuff for Astro (his French bulldog).
What's the best tactic for someone to get you to throw them beads?
Joyce: As much movement as possible. Jump up and down as much as you can. It's all about being noticed.
Price: Yell at Astro. He's going to be with me on the float.
Shields: If they call me Big Game or Juego G, I'm good to go. That'll get my attention.
What type of delivery you planning to use?
Price: I've been working on a knuckleball all off-season, so I'll use that.
Shields: I might go with the overhand fishing cast. I don't really feel like tearing my rotator cuff.
What opposing hitter or pitcher would you like to see walk the plank?
Price: I'd say Victor Martinez but he's hurt, so let's say Robinson Cano. I like him as a person, but he's a tough out.
Joyce: I'd throw Justin Verlander or Josh Beckett off there.
Shields: Probably Miguel Cabrera.
Joe Maddon likes dress-up themes during the season. You think puffy white shirts and pantaloons are coming for a pirate trip?
Joyce: I wouldn't put it past him. I don't know if we're giving him ideas now, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see that this year.
Shields: He's usually more of an originator than a copycatter, but you never know with him.
Matt, as the local guy, how would you explain the whole Gasparilla thing to teammates not from around here?
Joyce: Oh, geez, I'd just have to say it's a huge celebration. I'm still trying to figure out why we have the beads. I'm guessing it's kinda like the treasure, and goes along with the pirate theme?
David, what kind of pirate pooch would Astro be?
Price: One with a whole bunch of superpowers to do whatever he wants. And he can swim, so he'd be fine if he got thrown overboard.