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Rays tales

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002

STYLIN': It was a big deal when Hal McRae made the Reds opening-day roster for the first time in 1970, and it meant big changes to his wardrobe. "I remember being told, and I went shopping when I got home," McRae said. "I had to buy some suits."

Styles were a little on the odd side then, and McRae thought he was doing a good job just fitting in. At least until Pete Rose stepped in. "He didn't like what I was wearing, so I said, "Give me some suits to wear,' and he did," McRae said.

But while today's veterans occasionally will take out a rookie and buy him a suit, as Greg Vaughn did last year for Joe Kennedy, Rose wasn't nearly as generous. "Pete didn't take me shopping," McRae said. "He gave me the stuff he no longer was going to wear."

FOUR OUT OF 10: David Letterman had the Rays on his Late Show hit list again last week, picking on them in his Top 10 list for at least the fourth time in the past couple of years.

Of the Top 10 Signs Your Baseball Team Isn't Ready For The Regular Season, No. 2 was "Team name contains the words "Devil" and "Rays."

Of the Top 10 Questions Most often Asked At A 99-Cent Store, No. 8 was "Do these Tampa Bay Devil Rays sweatshirts come in medium?"

Of the Top 10 Signs You're Talking To A Bad Phone Psychic, No. 7 was "Insists you put all of your money on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays."

And of the Top 10 Good Things About Being the Mother of Someone Famous, No. 5 came from Derek Jeter's mom, Dot: "Sometimes when they're playing the Devil Rays, Derek lets me come in for a few innings."

SISKEL AND NAIMOLI: Managing general partner Vince Naimoli attended the New York premiere of The Rookie, the new movie about Jim Morris' journey to join the Rays. "I think Disney's got a real hit on their hands," Naimoli said. "It was uplifting, it was emotional, it had something for every family. I'd give it two thumbs up."


A quick look back at the Rays 2001 leaders:


From ESPN analyst Tom Candiotti's preseason analysis: "The Devil Rays are finally on their way to getting it right. They found out the hard way that a lineup of power hitters with low on-base percentages will not get the job done. Now the focus is back on building with youth and catcher Toby Hall is a great start."


A mesh 1998 Rays "prototype" jersey, featuring the rainbow colored logo, a multicolored band on the right sleeve and NAIMOLI 98 on the back, sold on eBay Friday night for $58.


"The time has come, ready or not."

-- McRAE, on starting the season


Rays games included on national TV schedule

1: Rays players on MLB list of potential 2002 milestones

12: Rays on an opening-day roster for the first time

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