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)

Rays Tales: Joyce, Kotchman are home boys

OF Matt Joyce and 1B Casey Kotchman didn't know each other growing up on opposite sides of the bridges, but they now share a rare bond. Of the 296 men who played for the Rays, they are two of only 11 who were born and raised in the Tampa Bay area.

Both Joyce, who grew up on the Tampa side, and Kotchman, from St. Pete, say playing at home is a lot different than playing anywhere else.

"It's a blessing and a curse," Joyce explained. "You get all the positives and the negatives that other players don't get to experience. You get your friends and family and more of a crowd that cheers for you and roots you on, but that same crowd that roots you on also expects more and asks for more out of you in performance, and more so the tickets and the gear — hats, shirts and jerseys and stuff."

Kotchman, in his 11th pro season, said "it's been a privilege" to play at home, citing such benefits as seeing his parents on a regular basis and getting to live in his same place year-round and noting how comfortable an arrangement it is.

"There's no adjustment that you're in a season," he said. "In some respects it doesn't even feel like I'm playing baseball right now outside of (being at the field). I've tried not to let it hit me. I'll see the dome as I approach it and it's still kinda strange."

Joyce said it took some getting used to — and may take some further adjustment. "You never really get away, it's weird," he said. "I didn't know what to expect going into the offseason last year, and I was surprised at how much I got recognized. It was really weird."

Rays rumblings

ESPN The Magazine named OF Matt Joyce the "Best Surprise in Baseball," which could be considered a compliment or an insult. … LHP David Price is tempting fate, moving to a large locker in the back of the clubhouse used this season by Manny Ramirez, Dan Johnson and Felipe Lopez and previously by Rocco Baldelli and Rafael Soriano. … Don't expect LHP Matt Moore, even after Thursday's no-hitter, a 4-3, 2.43 record and 103 Ks in 772/3 innings at Double-A Montgomery, to be promoted anytime soon. … Among tidbits about RHP Kyle Farnsworth in Sun Sports' Inside the Rays show that debuts after today's game: He competes with the Tampa Bay Damage professional paintball team. … Farm director Mitch Lukevics was included in the Boston Globe's list of 25 "very passionate baseball people." … 3B Evan Longoria and Joyce are among the Rays interested in skating with the Lightning. … Baseball operations director Dan Feinstein was with the A's during the Moneyball era but doesn't have a role in the soon-to-be-released movie. … LHP David Newmann, a 2007 fourth-round pick (with a $250,000 bonus), left Double-A Montgomery with plans to retire.

Got a minute? Joel Peralta

Must-see TV? Baseball Tonight, and I really like Everybody Loves Raymond.

Big-night-out meal? I like to go to a Japanese steakhouse.

Singer you'd most like to be on stage with? It's got to be Hector Acosta, a Dominican merengue and bachata star.

Worst job? I used to load blocks for construction on a truck and then drive around and deliver them.

With your wife's permission, dream date? I really like Kim Kardashian, or Eva Longoria.

11 home-grown Rays:

• Fred McGriff, 1B, Tampa/Jefferson HS

Rays seasons: 1998-2001

Stats: .291-99-359 in 577 games

• Lance Carter, RHP, Bradenton/Manatee HS

Rays seasons: 2002-05

Stats: 13-10, 3.92, 29 saves in 165 games

• Matt Joyce, OF, Tampa/Armwood HS

Rays seasons: 2009-11

Stats: .273-23-81 in 153 games

• Tino Martinez, 1B, Tampa/Jefferson HS

Rays season: 2004

Stats: .262-23-76 in 138 games

• Doug Waechter, RHP, St. Petersburg/Northeast HS

Rays seasons: 2003-06

Stats: 14-25, 5.62 in 60 games

• Casey Kotchman, 1B, St. Petersburg/Seminole HS

Rays season: 2011

Stats: .333-3-16 in 55 games

• Ozzie Timmons, OF, Tampa/Brandon HS

Rays season: 2000

Stats: .341-4-13 in 12 games

• Kevin Cash, C, Tampa/Gaither HS

Rays season: 2005

Stats: .161-2-2 in 13 games

• Jason Romano, INF, Tampa/Hillsborough

Rays season: 2004

Stats: .125-0-1 in four games

• Kenny Kelly, OF, Plant City/Tampa Catholic Rays season: 2000 Stats: .000-0-0 in two games

• Dwight Gooden, RHP, Tampa/ Hillsborough HS Rays season: 2000 Stats: 2-3, 6.63 in eight games

Hot stuff

In what has been a streaky season, the Rays have had some hot ones:

Player G Avg. HR RBI Otherwise

Matt Joyce 26 .443 8 23 .230-2-11, 29 G

Casey Kotchman 29 .380 2 10 .276-1-6, 26 G

Sam Fuld 14 .397 1 8 .172-2-14 43 G

Ben Zobrist 16 .417 3 12 .216-6-24 53 G

(All stats through Friday)

Rays Tales: Joyce, Kotchman are home boys 06/18/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 19, 2011 1:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494