Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Just a taste of the majors would make hard work worth it for Tampa Bay Rays' Weber

PORT CHARLOTTE — Among the standard story lines of spring training — players coming back from injury, looking to do better, trying to win a job, changing positions — it can be easy to lose sight of the human side of things.

And then you have the story of OF Jon Weber.

Ten years in the minors, including parts of four in the independent leagues. Thirty-one years old and still playing like a kid trying to impress. Seven of the past eight winters in places such as Mexico, Columbia and Venezuela, which actually beats working construction like he had been to supplement his income. A wife (who teaches special ed) and two cute children at home in California he barely gets to see.

And all for the hope that at some point he gets to spend one day in the major leagues.

"You'd see a grown man cry," Weber said. "You would. All the dreams, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the traveling. All the agony I put my wife and my kids through being gone 10½ months a year.

"It would all pay off with one game. It really would. I could walk away from this game saying, 'All right, I did it.' "

Weber is having a solid spring, but his chances don't look good to make the roster. Even if B.J. Upton isn't ready to start the season and with Fernando Perez sidelined, the Rays are more likely to turn to Justin Ruggiano rather than add Weber to the 40-man roster. Mostly likely he's headed back to Triple-A Durham, where he'll fill in wherever needed around the prospects and just hope that with hard work and the right attitude, one day he gets the call.

"That would be the ending of all endings," Weber said. "That would be the final chapter."

RAYS RUMBLINGS: In an interview with, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said the Rays can be "viable" with a $60 million payroll but not "consistently successful." … If the Rays are going to trade pitching, this is the week talks usually start to get heated. … Evan Longoria shares a pretty rigorous-looking eight-week workout plan with Men's Fitness magazine/ … The Rays dropped from first to third in Baseball Prospectus' organizational rankings. … Ex-Ray Delmon Young's Wednesday for the Twins? He homered and grounded into four double plays, which would have tied the major-league record. … The Rays will have to decide soon whether to put Perez and/or RHP Chad Bradford on the 60-day DL, which sidelines them until early June but creates 40-man roster space. … The Reds have been using ex-Ray Jonny Gomes at first base, and liking it.

WILD BOAR RUMBLINGS: Charlotte County Sheriffs were called to the complex Monday by security, and here are excerpts from the report: "9:41 — Wild pig is inside fenced area … 9:45 — Very large hog … 10:01 — (Animal Control) will not respond advised they should leave the fence open and the pig will leave on his own … 10:11 — Hog is out of the gated area now." … Clubhouse staffer Brandon "Tank" Richesin had his own encounter when taking out the trash but managed to avoid the boar. His estimate of the size? "Big enough." … Just saying, but rather than Stone Crabs maybe they should have named the new Class A affiliate the Wild Boars.


Roster report

The fourth of our weekly guesses on the makeup of the 25-man opening day roster:

Pitchers (12): Grant Balfour, Matt Garza, Jason Hammel, J.P. Howell, Scott Kazmir, Jeff Niemann, Joe Nelson, Troy Percival, James Shields, Brian Shouse, Andy Sonnanstine, Dan Wheeler

Catchers (2): Dioner Navarro, Shawn Riggans

Infielders (6): Willy Aybar, Jason Bartlett, Akinori Iwamura, Evan Longoria, Carlos Peña, Ben Zobrist

Outfielders (5): Pat Burrell, Carl Crawford, Gabe Gross, Gabe Kapler, Justin Ruggiano

Disabled list (3): RHP Chad Bradford, OF Fernando Perez, CF B.J. Upton

Just a taste of the majors would make hard work worth it for Tampa Bay Rays' Weber 03/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 21, 2009 5:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …