Next week the Rays will host the first playoff game at Tropicana Field. Typically, teams haul out one of the legendary stars from their past to toss out the ceremonial first pitch. You know, someone like Yogi Berra (Yankees), Carl Yastrzemski (Red Sox) or Ernie Banks (Cubs). But the Rays are a tad short on legends. With all due respect, Kevin Stocker or Ben Grieve isn't going to cut it. The Rays have tossed around a few names, but we thought we would lend a hand and whip up a list of people for them to consider.
He was not a great owner, but if it wasn't for Vince, we might not have a baseball team. And look at it this way: If the Rays had not been so bad under his guidance, then the feel-good story of the 2008 Rays would not feel as good. But do you think he would get booed?
Local guy. The Tampa resident not only played with the Rays, but he did provide the most memorable moment in franchise history before this season when he homered for his 3,000th hit during the 1999 season. If he did throw out the first pitch, think he would still eat chicken before the game?
Another local, a Tampa native. The Crime Dog played all or part of five seasons with the Rays and hit 99 homers with them. Nice guy, too.
Zim has lived in Pinellas County for, like, 97 years, so he's practically from here. In fact, he's more one of us than most of us. Plus, he works for the organization.
If C.C. isn't on the postseason roster because of his hand injury, then he deserves to be a part of the celebration of making the playoffs. He was here through the bad times, so he should be honored in the good times.
The governor is a St. Pete guy, and since Sarah Palin stole his spot as John McCain's running mate, he has some spare time to toss out a pitch.
That's right, babeeeee. He has had season tickets since the first game, and he's a PTPer. He would be awesome, babeeeee.
Gen. David Petraeus
The guy who was in charge of the troops in Iraq is on his way here to head up CentCom at MacDill Air Force Base, and Petraeus would be our pick. Maybe the most intelligent political and military mind alive. And if you're looking to fire up the crowd, can you think of anyone better?
A Kids and Kubs player
Before the Rays arrived, when you thought baseball and St. Pete, you couldn't help but think of Kids and Kubs, the city's famous Three-Quarter-Century Softball Club.
Hey, who is most responsible for the Rays' success?
The Bucs quarterback isn't throwing anything these days for Jon Gruden, so we might as well put him to use by throwing for the Rays.
John McCain or Barack Obama
Make it a debate. Ask them their stances on the designated hitter and interleague play. Winner gets to throw out the first pitch.
The Rays should ask the Yankees' head honcho just to remind him that the Rays are in the playoffs and the Yankees are not. Haaa!!!
The Rays gave this guy $12-million over two years and he pitched 1-2/3 innings. He owes us a pitch. Or two. Or 3,000.
Of course, if he throws the first pitch, there's a chance it could end up in the leftfield stands.
Has anyone called more bad baseball than the Rays' play-by-play guy? He deserves something for having to sit through 100-loss seasons.
Crash Davis, right, kicked off this new name-new uniform deal. We'll let him throw out the first pitch if he promises not to sing.
Bring back "The Rookie." And if he can't make it, we'd settle for Dennis Quaid.
Trading him helped pave the way for this season, so when you think about it, he had a lot to do with the Rays' turnaround.
Oh, sorry, we jumped ahead and started to think about the last pitch. But now that we mention it, wouldn't the single-season saves leader look good in Rays threads next season?
As the opening day starter on March 31, 1998, the big lefty threw the first official pitch in Rays history. That pitch was a ball to Detroit's Brian Hunter, so he could make up for it by throwing a strike.
The former Rays manager can throw out the first pitch … or the first phone.
As the opening day starter on March 31, 1998, the big lefty threw the first pitch in Rays history. That pitch was a ball to Detroit's Brian Hunter, so he could make up for it by throwing a strike.