Ahead of Wednesday night’s Game 2 of the World Series between the Rays and Dodgers, Stanley Cup champion Steven Stamkos joined centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier and MLB Network’s Robert Flores before the first pitch.
“Whatever’s been in the water this year in Tampa, it’s been really good," the Lightning captain joked from his home in Tampa.
Stamkos gave shoutouts to the area’s professional sports teams, saying the Bucs and Rowdies “have been great” and the Rays are just “a couple wins away" from a championship of their own.
“It’s the ultimate team trophy in sports when you can win a championship, and we’ve got such an amazing group of guys this year,” Stamkos said.
The Lightning won the Stanley Cup against the Dallas Stars last month, the Rays are in the World Series for the first time since 2008, the Bucs are 4-2 with Tom Brady at the helm, and the Rowdies are playing in the conference final against Louisville City FC on Saturday.
Kiermaier said at this point in the season, players may be banged up, but no one is complaining.
“You just got to grind through it,” said Kiermaier, who was hit in the left wrist by a pitch during the American League Championship Series. “We all have our bumps and bruises throughout the course of this season, especially this late into the year. No one feels 100 percent, but you got to go out there take the field and try to let the adrenaline take over and forget about those little things.”
Of course, Kiermaier couldn’t sign off the broadcast until he paid his compliments to Stamkos, who scored one goal (on his first shot) in Game 3 against Dallas, his only game of the postseason.
“I just gotta say, Stammer, you scoring on that shift right there, your only shift, that is what legends do,” Kiermaier said. “I have so much respect for you. I get chills watching that. That’s what gamers do and like I said, that guy is a Tampa legend and I’m just trying to follow your footsteps, big fella."
Stamkos has shown his support for the Rays throughout the postseason. He tuned into Tuesday’s 8-3 loss and made note Wednesday night on Twitter of just how much “Game 1′s are overrated.
In the Stanley Cup final, the Lightning dropped the opening contest to the Dallas Stars in Edmonton 3-2 in overtime. The team came back and won the next four of five games for the franchise’s second Stanley Cup.
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