ST. PETERSBURG — The trip to the All-Star Game is special for all four Rays who headed west Sunday night. It was just closer Rafael Soriano who showed it the most, having a star shaved into the right side of his head.
For pitcher David Price, the big news was expected to be waiting for him upon arrival, word that he'll be the American League starter (with the official announcement coming at today's 12:45 news conference).
For Carl Crawford, the key moment will be when he's introduced as a starter in the outfield for the first time in his four All-Star appearances. The same for third-timer 3B Evan Longoria, though with the additional excitement of returning home to Southern California.
For first-timers Soriano and Price, the whole experience will be something new.
"I can't wait to go there and see what happens," Soriano said. "Everything is new for me because I've never gone. So I want to go there and see what happens and how the thing works."
Price, 24, has been telling everyone who asks he's most excited about getting to take in tonight's home run derby from the field with a video camera in hand.
"That's what I remember watching as a kid," he said.
But getting to pitch in the game would be all right, too, he said: "Let's not get this twisted."
Crawford said he enjoys the "whole vibe" of being around the other All-Stars and having a good time but is eager for the pregame introductions.
"That's a definite moment I'm looking forward to, and I'm just going to try to absorb all that stuff that's going on at the time," he said.
Rays manager Joe Maddon is spending the break in the Florida Keys, but he'll be in front of a TV on Tuesday night.
"I'm really eager to watch the game now because they're all going to be there. It's going to be kind of fun," he said. "There's still a chance David could start that game, and that'd be great. Longo's going to start. Carl's going to start. Rafael has a chance to close it. Good stuff. A lot of Ray involvement. I like to see it."