He was only with the Tampa Bay Rays for a year, but in that time he left an indelible mark, as this hometown hero quickly established himself as master of aim-fense, vanquisher of eye pus, lord of stretching, champion of good sportsmanship, and maestro of the cap tip. As such, it is only fitting that we dedicate this newly launched baseball history series to Tampa Bay legend, Casey Kotchman.
As always, our first stop in the wayback machine lands us with our beloved Rays. It's April 21, 2012, when Melvin Upton Jr. was still B.J., still and a Ray, and still capable of getting pumped for doing stuff like this:
The Rays would go on to win 4-1. Kotch approves of the effort, the execution, and the enthusiasm. Three cap tips.
Next up, we go back to April 21, 2002, when a young Braves shortshop would tie a major league record by hitting not one triple, not two triples but three triples in the same game:
Kotch is impressed, but still thinks fast people are kinda showing off just a little. Two cap tips.
Our next stop goes way back to April 21, 1982, and lil' Casey wasn't even a pus glint in Papa Tom's eye when Atlanta was walking it off against the Reds. It would stretch the Braves' season-opening win streak to 13 games, a wave they would ride all the way to playoffs for the first time since 1969.
That's quality high fives right there. You can tell these guys were properly stretched out. Four & 1/2 cap tips.
For our last stop, we go to April 21, 2007, where Matt Chico of the Nats goes juuuust a bit outside against Josh Willingham of the Marlins.
Yes, this is embarrassing. Yes, the Nats ended up losing, and Chico took the loss without getting through five. But you know what? He came back to strike out Willingham in this at bat. That's some guts. That's some grit. Kotch approves. Five cap tips.
Here's some stuff that happened before we got civilized and invented the internet:
- 1948: Dodger manager Leo Durocher returns from a one year suspension, and uses 24 players in 9-5 loss to the Giants. His suspension by commissioner Happy Chandler was for actions deemed "detrimental to baseball," also known as trying to pull one over on management and having a little too much fun.
- 1961:The Minnesota Twins (formerly the Washington Senators) play their first home game, losing to the 'new' expansion Washington Senators 5-3. And you thought the Expos deal was confusing.
- 1997: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sign Rolando Arrojo,, the former ace of the Cuban National Team. The 28 year-old right-hander defected from his homeland just before the start of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Arrojo is dominant for 15 minutes, then gets old and becomes a Red Sox.