Miguel Cabrera sends long home run into rays tank

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Miguel Cabrera is no stranger to uncommon displays of strength. The reigning Triple Crown winner and American League MVP is baseball’s most dangerous player, and long home runs are nothing new to him.

But the Detroit Tigers star accomplished a wet career-first Sunday. He hit a 424-foot solo home run into the Rays Touch Tank behind the right-center wall at Tropicana Field in the Tampa Bay Rays’ 3-1 victory. The home run was just the second to splash down in the 35-foot, 10,000-gallon tank, which opened in 2006.

“The rays were in danger,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He could have gotten a phone call or a letter from some activist group, I’m sure. It was a helium ball. An absolute helium ball.”

The first home run to hit the tank came from Tampa native Luis Gonzalez, then of the Los Angeles Dodgers, on June 24, 2007. The fiberglass structure can hold up to 30 cownose rays tended by staff from the Florida Aquarium. Fans can purchase food — rays are known to eat items such as shrimp, squid, clams and fish heads — to feed the creatures during games.

Cabrera will add more home runs to his total before the season ends. (He has 25 after Sunday.) But few will be as waterlogged.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford

or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.