Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Tales: Players cringe at idea of running Boston Marathon

There's a lot of athletes in Boston this weekend, with the Red Sox playing the Rays in baseball, the Bruins hosting the Capitals in hockey, the Revolution facing D.C. United in soccer and those 26,071 official entrants for Monday's little stroll known as the Boston Marathon.

Baseball players spew confidence, and in the Rays clubhouse, like any other, there's always someone who is absolutely, positively sure they could handle any challenge thrown at them from any sport.

But, how about this: Running 26.2 miles over the treacherous Marathon course?

Carlos Peña, who spent time growing up in the Boston, spoke for most of the position players in quickly dismissing the idea of running much more than the 360 feet around the bases.

"No chance," the first baseman said. "No. Can't do it. I tried cross country and track when I was in high school, and as soon as I reached a certain distance, I felt like I was going to die. It's not my thing. … It would have to be a pitcher."

"It's got to be a pitcher," OF Desmond Jennings said, "because all they do is run."

Of the moundsmen, the most common suggestions were relievers Burke Badenhop and Wade Davis, who have the right bodies and both acknowledged they like to run a few miles but have limits to how far they'd go — and the equivalent of Tropicana Field to the east side of Ybor City was well in excess.

"Twenty-six miles — that's a whole 'nother ball game," said Badenhop, whose wife, Sara, runs half-marathons. "You see those people get done and they just look horrible. They look like they want to die. It just doesn't look like fun."

"That's a hike," said Davis, who grew up running around Lake Wales for fun. "Just running across the Howard Frankland Bridge is a long way. You won't see me in a 26-mile race. That's not for me right there."

Could any of the Rays make it? Of course, there's a few who think they could.

Like David Price, kind of: "I could do it. I could probably do it. What is it — 26.2 miles? I probably couldn't do that right now, but I could do a half-marathon."

Like Sean Rodriguez, who figures running 5 miles in the offseason with his wife, Giselle, is enough of a springboard: "If I had time to train for it, I definitely think I could do it. Definitely. … It doesn't mean I'm going to finish first, and it doesn't mean I'm going to finish last, but I'm going to try. I might actually finish last. But, I would finish."

Like Elliot Johnson, who truly believes he can do anything: "It's a long way to run. It's too far. I guess I could push my way through it, I suppose. But I wouldn't really want to."

Costume parties

After getting more than 300 suggestions on his @RaysJoeMaddon Twitter account, manager Joe Maddon is locking in on a few ideas for themed road trips: heroes, letterman's jackets, Mad Men and Thurston B. Howell III/Gilligan's Island. Among other submissions: Gigolos, lumberjacks, togas, kilts, prohibition-era gangsters, favorite musicians, nerds, and salutes to the Summer Olympics, Joe Namath, Saturday Night Live and the Beatles.

Rays rumblings

Manager Joe Maddon is profiled in Tuesday's new episode of HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (10 p.m.) … So if Pat Burrell, right, signs a one-day contract to retire as a Phillie, does that mean his 1¼ seasons, and $16-million contract, with the Rays never happened? … After a last-minute title change, Julianna Zobrist, Christian pop-singing wife of Ben, has her new six-song CD, now called Say It Now, on iTunes ($5.94). Ben is using one of the cuts, Behind Me, as his walkup song and may mix in a second, Crazy Fearless. … Asked about new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, left, having a radio show in New York in addition to regular Boston spots, Maddon pointed out he doesn't even have a gig (or even been asked) in the Tampa Bay market. But there's always his hometown of Hazleton, Pa.: "I could have one on WAZL, the Mighty 1490, that's a place I would do it." … Tyler Tumminia, senior VP of the group that owns the Rays' short-season Hudson Valley farm team (and three others in the minors), just married new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington.

Got a minute? Stephen Vogt

Something you're scared of? Spiders. Any spider, doesn't matter how big or small.

Go-to karaoke song? Probably Creed's My Sacrifice.

Favorite TV show? Saved By the Bell.

Band you'd want to be on stage with? Bullet for My Valentine (heavy metal).

Celebrity crush? Jessica Biel.

     
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