There is a lot of excitement under the Teflon skies at Tropicana Field as the Rays and Orioles prepare to kick off the season.
Rays players greeted fans as they entered the building, Rays owner Stu Sternberg met Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and the crowd is waiting for the Rays to unfurl the banner for winning the American League East title in 2010.
But that will be just the window dressing for seeing David Price start for the Rays.
LOS ANGELES — That looked like Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti inhabiting the dressing stall next to the manager’s office in the Dodger Stadium visitors’ clubhouse. Heck, it WAS Dave Righetti.
Except the rectangular slab of cardboard bearing the occupant’s name read: “THOMPSON 6” — Robby Thompson, obviously enough. And it was even autographed by the former Giants second baseman.
How did that happen? Simple: Thompson, now a Seattle Mariners coach, had the same locker in the same clubhouse for an exhibition game the night before. “He said to leave it there for me,” Righetti said, obviously appreciating the mildly smart-alecky gesture.
A partial chronology of life with the Giants in the hours before they took the field for batting practice:
1:58 p.m. — The door to manager Bruce Bochy’s office opens. Out comes the ESPN broadcasting crew, including Bobby Valentine and Orel Hershiser, having completed their pregame briefing. Simultaneously, in came the great Vin Scully to greet Bochy. Quite an intersection.
2:05 p.m. — Aubrey Huff, squeezing his way through the undersized, overcrowded visitors’ clubhouse, said to nobody in particular while referring to
the presence of two dozen or so extra reporters, “Is there any media here?”
3 p.m. — Huff again, as he concluded delivering some advice to rookie Brandon Belt: “If you need anything else, let me know — coffee, steak, rack of lamb.”
— Chris Haft