Catwalk is going to be a four-letter word for a while around the Rays. After living through Thursday's latest episode of what goes up doesn't come straight down, Rays nation — well, neighborhood — was appalled and aghast at what suddenly had become a homefield disadvantage. But the catwalks are getting a bad name. First of all, the steel circles — starting with the 320-feet around A-ring — are kind of important, part of the structure that holds the stadium roof up.
Plus, they're not truly catwalks, not in the World English Dictionary definition of "a narrow ramp extending from the stage into the audience in a theatre, nightclub, etc., (especially) as used by models in a fashion show." And though they're a popular topic of conversation, and condemnation, around Tampa Bay these days, they're not the most common connection with the word.
Among the others:
• A national recreation trail along the canyon of Whitewater Creek in southwestern New Mexico called the Catwalk.
• A song by Simple Minds called Up on the Catwalk, and the key phrase in one-hit wonder Right Said Fred's I'm Too Sexy is "on the catwalk."
• A 1996 documentary film called Catwalk that follows model Christy Turlington through spring fashion shows in Milan, New York and Paris.
• A garage/pop band based in Oxnard, Calif., called Catwalk, with a song library that includes, fittingly, Anywhere (But Here).
• A 1992-94 TV series filmed in Canada called Catwalk about young adults seeking to put together a pop band in search of fame and fortune, as well as a 1972 dramatic series out of Australia.
• A popular club in Barcelona is called Catwalk, while there are Catwalk Clubs in Guangzhou, China, and in Rotterdam.
• A series of young adult books written by Deborah Gregory called Catwalk about four teen girls stepping into the fashion industry.
Joe Maddon has a new inspiration. A framed photo now sits on his office desk of Clarence Henry "Pants" Rowland, the mercurial manager of the 1915-18 White Sox. Their "relationship" started accidentally, when Maddon wondered aloud after Edwin Jackson's June 25 no-hitter if any team had been blanked twice in a season and made it to the World Series. When told the 1917 Sox had, Maddon's curiosity led him to his computer and, after some research, a kinship with Rowland, who died in 1969 at age 90. Among the connections: both managed in Peoria, Ill.; had ties to Dubuque, Iowa; were born in February (four days apart); were catchers who didn't play in the majors; worked as scouts; spent most of their careers in the minor leagues; and opposed conventional thinking. "I like Pants," Maddon said. "He's my man." Rowland's nickname supposedly stems from childhood appearances on the field in his father's overalls. Maddon is open to adopting a similar apparel-themed nickname, suggesting "Socks" — in honor of the old-school stirrups he now wears — then acknowledging that more fitting would be "Hoodie."
The 600 club
No matter what you think of Alex Rodriguez, 600 is a big number. "Even if you include all the video games I've played in my life, I don't think I've hit 600," said the Rays' Dan Johnson (who has 45 in the majors, 183 in the minors and Japan).
What current Rays have the most big-league homers?
George Hendrick* 267
Carlos Peña 225
Carl Crawford 97
Dave Martinez* 91
Don Zimmer* 91
Gabe Kapler 82
Evan Longoria 75
B.J. Upton 59
The Reds, Cardinals and Marlins visit for interleague games next season, and the Rays go to Houston, Milwaukee and Florida. They open at home vs. the Orioles and finish at home vs. the Yankees. … The Rays remain cautiously optimistic about signing top pick Josh Sale before the Aug. 16 deadline, but talks have gone slower than expected, and they showed last year with Levon Washington they're willing to take the compensation pick. … Aside from the compliments Jeremy Hellickson got here for his dazzling debut, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver issued an official statement of congratulations. … Talk-show host Jim Rome had fun with the Jim Hickey-Grant Balfour "wrasslin' " match, suggesting Joe Maddon told Hickey "do me a favor, don't try any of your new moves out on Evan Longoria." … Peter Gammons told WEEI radio the Angels' "first priority" is signing LF Carl Crawford.
Got a minute? Chad Qualls
Best meal you can make? I'm more of a breakfast guy, so probably some hash browns, fried eggs, toast.
Late-night TV? I used to watch the Leno show a lot.
Karaoke song if you had to? I'd prefer not to, but maybe Friends in Low Places so everybody in the crowd could sing along and you don't have to hear my voice.
Time-killer at the mall? Some type of surf shop, looking for T-shirts or shorts. Very laid-back.
Late-night snack? I'm a big cereal guy — try not to get too guilty.
Dream date? My wife (Tara) — or Jessica Biel.