Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays: Maddon ponders perks of key to Montgomery

A Montgomery man

Amid heaps of southern hospitality and VIP treatment, Rays manager Joe Maddon received a key to the city from Montgomery, Ala., Mayor Todd Strange. Maddon just about needs a key ring, having been similarly honored by his hometown of Hazleton, Pa., along with St. Petersburg and Tampa. So what does that actually get him? "Hopefully I get out of a speeding ticket at least," he said. "I'm looking for some form of judiciary entitlement based on the fact that I've got the key."

Hey, he looks familiar …

Third baseman Evan Longoria had good memories of his time in Montgomery during the 2006-07 minor-league seasons, reminded again Saturday when he posed by the large photo of him as a Biscuit in the tunnel leading to the field. "This was a great place to play," Longoria said. "Of all the places that I saw and went, we were taken care of the best here."

Comforts of home

Playing in Montgomery in 2009 was extra special for Rays OF Desmond Jennings, an Alabama native who grew up in suburban Birmingham, about 90 minutes away. "I had fun," he said. "That was probably my best season playing was here. I remember getting to be at home, my friends and family could come down and watch me play anytime." On Saturday he had about 40 in the stands to see him again.

A good time was had by all

Though it made for something of a long day with up-and-back flights, manager Joe Maddon said the exhibition was a great experience. "These people treated us fabulously," he said. "And I'll tell you one thing — being stuck in Double A in this place isn't such a bad assignment. This is a pretty cool setup."

Montgomery moments

. Rays OF Matt Joyce had a good feeling walking back into Riverwalk Stadium, having played his last college game here when Florida Southern beat North Florida for the 2005 Division II national championship. "I was like 0-for-6 that game, but it's still a good memory," he said. "It was cool."

. Though OF Desmond Jennings played in Montgomery as a pro, his high school career ended here in 2005, when his Pinson Valley team lost in the 2005 Class 5A state final to a Russell County team that included Blue Jays OF Colby Rasmus.

Spring flings

Rays annual spring records (* playoff seasons):

Year W-L-T

2014 16-7-4

2013* 15-17-2

2012 10-16-6

2011* 15-14-2

2010* 20-8-2

2009 15-16-1

2008* 18-8-2

Year W-L-T

2007 10-19-2

2006 13-16-1

2005 13-16-0

2004 11-8-0

2003 8-19-3

2002 10-16-1

2001 12-15-1

On deck

Today: Off

Monday: Regular-season opener, vs. Blue Jays, 4:10. Rays — LH David Price (10-8, 3.33 in 2013); Jays — RH R.A. Dickey (14-13, 4.21)

Tuesday: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10. Rays — RH Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76); Jays — RH Drew Hutchison (0-4, 4.84 in minors)

Wednesday: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10. Rays — LH Matt Moore (17-4, 3.29); Jays — LH Mark Buehrle (12-10, 4.15)

Thursday: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10. Rays — RH Chris Archer (9-7, 3.22); Jays — RH Brandon Morrow (2-3, 5.63)

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

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