Ever wonder what David Price, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, would have looked like had he traded K’s for X’s and O’s? On Wednesday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays left-hander offered a glimpse of another life when he played catch and threw a bullpen session in full Vanderbilt football gear at Tropicana Field.
Price pitched for Vanderbilt for three seasons, from 2005 to 2007, before the Devil Rays selected him as the first overall pick in the 2007 draft. He remains an avid Commodores fan — “When we beat UT (Tennessee), that’s always fun,” he said – and he had the equipment shipped overnight to him with help from Vanderbilt manager Tim Corbin and football coach James Franklin.
Price’s look was a preview of the Rays’ “NCAA Football” themed road trip to come. On Thursday evening, they will leave for a 10-game West Coast swing wearing the jersey of their favorite college football team.
“I walked here yesterday and saw the NCAA football trip was on Thursday, so I just called coach Corbin right then and asked if he could get coach Franklin to send me a full uni,” Price said. “He texted me back 10 minutes later and said, ‘I’ll have it overnighted tonight.’ … I got here today at 12 looking for my package, and I found it. I just put it on.”
There is no sentimental tie to No. 21, though Price was pleased to receive any number at all. He said he played football for two years growing up before quitting to concentrate on other sports and avoid injury. The career choice proved to be wise.
What position would he have played had he stayed between the hashes?
“Between waterboy and long-snapper,” cracked Price, who added that there’s a “100-percent” chance he will wear the Vandy helmet on the plane bound for Oakland on Thursday.
Pitching and pigskin. Just another day with the Rays.
“I loved it,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Price’s look. “It might be the best yet.”