Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Tales: Picking Olympic sports for the Tampa Bay Rays

Just like in other workplaces, the Rays are talking a lot in their clubhouse about the Olympics. But we pushed the conversation a bit by asking about putting some of the Rays in the Games and soliciting suggestions on what sports they'd play. Here are a few ideas:

Fernando Rodney Archery

Seems kind of obvious given his post-save celebration of shooting an imaginary arrow, hitting various stadium structures, taking down two Rally Monkeys in Anaheim and spawning RodneyHood T-shirts and a Rodney's Archery Club Twitter account (@RACRays). Rodney, right, said he's ready to compete, though there is one problem: He has never actually tried the real thing.

Kyle Farnsworth Tae kwon do

Farnsworth was good enough as a teenager, earning a black belt, that he actually considered heading to the U.S. Olympics center in Colorado for training to compete for a spot on the team. "When I was 16-17 my instructor wanted me to go out there, but my dad said baseball had more money in it," Farnsworth said. "I was like, 'True, okay,' but it would have been a lot of fun. I love doing that stuff and competing in tournaments."

Jose Molina Field events/Diving/Wrestling

Several Rays suggested the shot put and discus for the veteran with the catcher's body. Manager Joe Maddon brought up diving — well, kind of: "I think J-Mo could do a good cannonball." And then there was this from J.P. Howell: "Sumo's not in the Olympics, is it?"

Ben Zobrist Decathlon

It's only fitting that the guy who played eight positions (including DH) in one season would want to try the 10-event challenge. "There probably is a connection there somewhere because I want to do everything," Zobrist said. "I've always wanted to do the decathlon. When I'd watch as a kid I was like, 'Man, that's awesome. They get to do everything — pole vaulting, sprinting, long distance running, high jumping, long jumping, that's the fun stuff.' "

Luke Scott Shooting/Javelin

Scott is somewhat of an expert with guns, and his proficiency with spears when hunting makes the javelin a natural extension.

Sam Fuld, Elliot Johnson, B.J. Upton, Desmond Jennings | 4x100 relay

We asked Jennings, the fastest Ray, to put together a relay squad, and this is what he and Upton came up with, building speed in order. Also, they'd make room if Triple-A P Chris Archer were available.

Burke Badenhop Rowing/Rhythmic Gymnastics

Badenhop's quirkiness led to several interesting ideas, though Sam Fuld was pretty committed to his: "Badenhop would definitely be crew because he's tall, he's nerdy and he's weird — not to stereotype rowers, but you've got to be a little different to do that." Badenhop said he is intrigued by team handball but preferred the gymnastics route: "I could dominate with the ball and the ribbon."

And a few other suggestions

Will Rhymes, Ryan Roberts and Sam Fuld, gymnastics. … Joel Peralta, table tennis or badminton. "He's crafty," Fuld said. … David Price, javelin. … Elliot Johnson, triple jump (because despite a 42-inch vertical leap, he doesn't high jump well). … Matt Joyce ("Kind of like Michael Phelps," Joe Maddon said) and Jake McGee, swimming. … Maddon, cycling. … J.P. Howell, synchronized diving.

Rays rumblings

Sounds like hard-throwing RHP Alex Colome, promoted last week from Double to Triple A, could be on the David Price-Matt Moore track for a late-season call­up. … Maybe Evan Longoria is in a hurry to get back; he tweeted last week he got two speeding tickets in Virginia (and wasn't going faster than 80). … The online gambling site Bovada raised the Rays' odds of winning the World Series from 18-1 to 25-1 after the trade deadline. … MLB Network's Peter Gammons noted Friday's welcome-home crowd of 18,410 after the successful road trip and tweeted: "they can't draw 19,000? Can baseball work in Florida?" … Yes, that was J.P. Howell caught on camera in Oakland acting out the Call Me Maybe song.

Got a minute? Kyle Farnsworth

Something that scares you? Poisonous snakes. That's one of the scariest sounds, hearing a rattlesnake go off and you don't know where it is.

Karaoke song if you had to? The Humpty Dance by Digital Underground.

Favorite TV show? Back in the day, I watched Saved By the Bell a lot.

Late-night snack? Definitely ice cream — vanilla with Oreos and chocolate syrup.

Celebrity crush? Kate Beckinsale.

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