Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Tales: Called to The Show

Sometime in the next few weeks or months —though likely not in the next few days — top prospect, OF Wil Myers, will get the call. Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo will either give him a late night/early morning ring on his cell phone or call him into his office after a game, and tell him that he's going to the big leagues for the first time. It's the news every player longs to hear and, no matter how many years later, few ever forget. • Here are a few good first callup stories among the current Rays:

Sam Fuld, OF

Sept. 2007, from Double-A Tennessee (Cubs)

We were in Zebulon, N.C., home of the Carolina Mudcats. It was our last regular-season game, we were getting ready to bus back to Tennessee to start the playoffs. I was in the shower and somebody was like, "Hey, Matt Johnson (the trainer) needs to talk to you." I'm like, "Okay, I'm in the shower. …" And he's like, "No, now." So I put a towel on, but we're in this little shed clubhouse and he doesn't get cell service in the actual shed, so he walks outside and he's like, "You need to get on the phone." So I stepped outside, literally, with shampoo in my hair and a towel on, and we're like 100 feet away from some fans waiting to get autographs. Our manager, Pat Listach, had gone back a day early for some reason, so he was on the phone and he told me. And right after he told me, one of our teammates came out and took the towel. For about five seconds, I was like, 'Uh, I don't know what to do right now.' It's like my childhood dream, and I'm also being completely embarrassed. I finished the shower, got dressed and it was pretty cool because the team bus dropped me off at the Raleigh airport. So it was actually a nice send-off.

Ben Zobrist, INF

July 2006, from Triple-A Durham (Rays)

I was in Durham July 31, 2006, and pregame we were all watching to see if anyone got traded from the Devil Rays (by that day's deadline). We didn't hear anything, so we went out to stretch at 4 o'clock as a group, and (then-Bulls manager John) Tamargo comes out and he's like, "Zo, come on, you gotta go." I'm like, "Where am I going?" He says, "We just traded somebody (Julio Lugo), you're going to the big leagues." Face just like that (no emotion). So I'm like, "This is awesome." And he says, "You gotta go now. The flight's like in two hours — get your stuff and get out." I hustled inside, packed up all my stuff, called (wife) Julianna, she picked me up, I went and threw some stuff in the car at the apartment and she took me to the airport. Definitely packed in world record pace.

Joel Peralta, RHP

May 2005, from Triple-A Salt Lake (Angels)

I was taking a nap in my hotel room in Oklahoma City. We'd played an early game when the phone rang and woke me up. It was my manager, Dino Ebel, and he told me he had to meet me in the lobby. … So I went downstairs and he told me. He was really emotional, and I was crying. I had tears in my eyes. I'd spent almost seven years in the minor leagues, hadn't been on the 40-man roster, was never a prospect. I got on my cell phone and called my brother (in Pennsylvania), and he helped me get a calling card so I could call my mom and dad (in the Dominican Republic). … The call woke me up and that was the last time I slept until the next day, after the game in Anaheim. I got everything ready, I went to bed and I couldn't close my eyes. Not at all. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I didn't sleep even 20 seconds.

Jamey Wright, RHP

July 1996, from Triple-A Colorado Springs (Rockies)

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were in Las Vegas on a four-day road trip, they told us just to bring shorts and T-shirts because it was like 190 degrees. I got called into the manager's office and he told me I was going to the big leagues. Most guys are like, "Oh, yeah!" But I was like, "You think I'm ready?" I was 21 years old. But it was Colorado — I'd rolled through Double A, then I went to Triple A and I was pitching well and they were scuffling, so that was it. I went to find a pay phone so I could call my dad. … I flew out that night to San Francisco, and (manager) Don Baylor had a dress code on the road, so the next morning my mom (who flew in from Oklahoma) and I went to Nordstrom's and I had to get pants and a sports coat and a tie, and she's picking out all this designer stuff like it was a shopping spree. It was like $1,500, and I was like, "Oh, my God."

Desmond Jennings, OF

Sept. 2010, from Triple-A Durham (Rays)

I was in a hotel room and Charlie (Montoyo, manager) called and told me. I remember calling my mom — and her not answering. You smile from the time you get the phone call until you get here. You have no worries. On the plane, you're like, just let me get there — I'll sit all the way in the back, in the middle, in the bathroom, I don't care. It don't matter.

Wil watch

A look at top prospect OF Wil Myers' stats at Triple-A Durham

Avg: .283 HR: 14 RBI: 57

OPS: .868 AB: 251 K/BB: 71/29

Rumblings: Myers told reporters in Durham that while he'd "love to play the Royals" this weekend, he's ignoring speculation about a possible callup: "You have to put it aside or you are not going to do well. So I just try to work on each at-bat, day by day." … The projected deadline for Super 2 arbitration eligibility has passed, so any decisions are all baseball-related. … Exec VP Andrew Friedman said on ESPN's podcast that Myers had "definitely put himself in consideration" for a callup with his recent hot streak and that one of his issues earlier was "overall decision-making" at the plate when pitched with unexpected sequencing. … Myers has played only rightfield (and DH) at Durham, which would make you think he'd play right when called up, with Ben Zobrist primarily at second. … One way to defuse the hype if Myers is called up? Make it the same day David Price returns from the DL, potentially June 28.

Rays rumblings

Joe Maddon was named "Best Manager" in Athlon Sports anonymous survey of about 150 major-leaguers with 14.3 percent of the votes. Cleveland's Terry Francona was second at 10.2, and Detroit's Jim Leyland next at 8.8. … In the same survey, Tampa Bay was a close second to Oakland (27-31) in response to what MLB city should be replaced? … Standing on the Trop turf watching son Riley talk about signing as the Rays' second-round pick was "a surreal moment" for Tim Unroe since he played here in 1999 with the Angels, and with Maddon as his bench coach. … ESPN's Keith Law said he liked the Rays' top two draft picks — C Nick Ciuffo and RHP Ryne Stanek – but "after that, however, they went too conservative, especially for a team that will never acquire stars through free agency." … Baseball America called Stanek "one of the biggest steals in the first round" and said the Rays got "good value" in Ciuffo.

Got a minute? | Chris Archer

Best meal you can make? Nothing I make is very appetizing, but probably grilled chicken and vegetables, though it's very bland.

Must-see TV? North America, on the Discovery Channel

Band/singer you'd like to be on stage with? Usher

Favorite movie? Any Given Sunday

Celebrity crush? Mariah Carey — in her 20s

     
   
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