1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Time for a long look at the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier?

The Rays center fielder might be recognized as the Face of Tampa Bay Sports, if only he could stay on the field and reach the playoffs.
DIRK SHADD   |   Times
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) celebrates in the dugout after he hit a three run homer in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, on Monday, July 1, 2019.
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) celebrates in the dugout after he hit a three run homer in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, on Monday, July 1, 2019.
Published Jul. 8, 2019
Updated Jul. 8, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier is more than just a pretty face among Tampa Bay sports personalities, though his handsome looks and green eyes are often a topic of conversation.

Kiermaier has the personality, athleticism, presence and talent to be the face of all Tampa Bay sports.

And the panache.

Kiermaier has the ability to amazing things on the field, the flair to celebrate what he does and the self-confidence to detail how good he is to do so.

But it may take the Rays returning to the platform of the playoffs for him to be so recognized in a market where they aren’t the top choice.

And for him to stay on the field all season.

Related: RELATED: Who is the face of Tampa Bay sports?

Kiermaier has been one of the most dynamic players in baseball, though injuries have sidelined him for parts of the last three seasons.

When healthy, Kiermaier, 29, is the rare player who can impact a game, and enthrall a crowd, in multiple ways.

His speed, jumping ability and strong arm make him one of the preeminent centerfielders in the majors, with two Gold Gloves (plus a platinum one for overall defensive dominance) and two Wilson Defensive Player of the Awards.

That same speed gives him the aggressiveness and derring-do to turn hits that would be singles for just about anyone else into two bases, (prompting the Rays PR staff to label, and track, “hustle doubles”), doubles into exciting triples and scoring from any base on an ensuing hit a possibility.

He has also emerged, since the December 2017 trade of Evan Longoria, as a leader in the clubhouse, from addressing his teammates when needed, to heading up the post-game dance-party celebrations for each win, to being readily available to the media in good times and bad.

The Rays made clear how they felt in spring 2017, signing him to a massive-for-them long-term deal, guaranteeing $53.5 million over six years, with a $13 million option for 2023.

But there’s more to the story.

Kiermaier and his wife, Marisa, plus 7 ½ month old son Karter James, have made their year-round home in the Tampa Bay and are immersed in the community.

He’s a popular draw at team and charity events. He is a regular during the off-season at the University of Tampa fields offering workout tips and instruction to the Spartans. And, with Marisa, this season launched their first dedicated cause, the Kiermaier’s Kids programs, where they partnered with the Children’s Dream Fund to donate $25,000 to fund the dreams of five children dealing with life-threatening illnesses and hosting them at the Trop.

Related: The face of Tampa Bay sports? Steven Stamkos fulfilled his destiny

Kiermaier is also putting that pretty face to work through current endorsement deals with Fitlife Foods, Pro Balance Protein Water and the Morgan Auto Group, plus another in the works with the Yogurtology chain and his reps at Reynolds Sports Management regularly exploring others that are presented. He also has a featured role in a promo spot for Fox Sports Sun, and done past photo shoots for Majestic and Eastbay sports apparel/equipment companies.

Not sold? Take a look into those oft described as dreamy eyes. But be warned …

Contact Marc Topkin at Follow @TBTimes_Rays.


  1. Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow, shown at last year's event with since traded Ryne Stanek, likes the fun and games at Fan Fest.
    Registering on the MLB Ballpark app is necessary for all attendees 18 and older; team says no paper tickets can be used.
  2. For a while, Nick Anderson was nearly unhittable after the Rays acquired him from the Marlins in July. He ended up with 41 strikeouts in 21.1 innings for the Rays in 2019. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
    No one on Tampa Bay’s roster has more than 20 career saves to his name. But the Rays have at least four relievers who could be in line to protect the majority of ninth-inning leads.
  3. The Seattle Mariners' Chris Prieto now is part of the Tampa Bay Rays' staff. [LESLIE PLAZA JOHNSON  |]
    The extensive makeover includes six new hires (including a female athletic trainer) and 16 internal changes in assignment.
  4. Longtime Tampa-based player agent B.B. Abbott plans next month to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer. Here he walks around his South Tampa neighborhood at night with an altitude mask. [B.B. ABBOTT  |  Special to the Times]
    B.B. Abbott will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer groups.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash and new Japanese slugger Yoshi Tsutsugo, shown during December press conference, will have a lot to talk about during spring training. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
    Rays Tales | Learning where Yoshi Tsutsugo and other newcomers best fit will be a priority in Port Charlotte.
  6. With pitching coach Kyle Snyder keeping a close eye on him at Tropicana Field on Friday, Rays prospect Brent Honeywell continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2018 and a fractured arm in 2019. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    John Romano | Once Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospect, Brent Honeywell has had elbow surgeries in successive seasons. Healthy again, he hopes to be in the majors this summer.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow prepares to warm up on the field during a player workout at Tropicana Field on Friday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Discipline for sign-stealing scheme was lax, Rays pitchers say, as participating hitters should have been disciplined as well.
  8. Members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, who inspired the movie "A League of Their Own," will be honored at the Feb. 1 Ted Williams dinner at Tropicana Field. [GLOBE PHOTOS  |]
    Players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, like Englewood’s Sue Parsons Zipay, will be honored at Ted Williams Museum event at the Trop.
  9. Diego Castillo (63) kicks a ball around during spring training at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte last February. [TAILYR IRVINE  | TIMES  ]
    Games will be available on TV and streamed; 21 of the exhibitions will be carried on radio.
  10. Derek Jeter speaks during the Baseball Hall of Fame news conference on Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020, a day after joining Larry Walker as members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class. [BEBETO MATTHEWS  |  AP]
    The New York Yankees great and the Baseball Hall of Fame say they are both OK not knowing who the lone voter is that kept Jeter from being a unanimous selection.