Rays new manager a Tampa native, can’t wait to get started
(BTLS Staff) ST. PETERSBURG – Kevin Cash completed his homecoming on Monday.
The Tampa Bay Rays introduced the 37-year-old Bay area native as their fifth manager in team history. The team came to their decision on December 5th but because MLB’s Winter Meetings kicked off a few days later Monday’s afternoon press conference was the first chance for the media to meet the new skipper.
“You know it’s an incredible honor to be named a major league manager,”Cash said. “It’s incredibly special to get to do that in your hometown, it’s a joy to get back home with that said, I can’t wait to get started.”
A graduate of Gaither High School Cash honed his baseball skills in and around Tampa. He also listened to Bubba the Love Sponge on the radio.
“I listened to him plenty,” he explained.
Cash has some pretty big shoes to fill and he knows it.
His predecessor Joe Maddon led the club to the post season in four of his nine seasons. In 2008 the Rays made their only World Series appearance under Maddon, they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.
Expectations are high and Cash says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Over the past week or so I’ve gotten to get with [Rays President] Matt [Silverman] and the rest of the coaches and I am extremely excited about the energy and optimism,” Cash said. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.”
After leaving Gaither Cash played college ball at Florida State University. He also played in the 1989 Little League World Series with Northside Little League in Hillsborough County.
Cash was also a member of the 2007 Boston Red Sox, a team that captured a World Series crown.
“I’ve been fortunate to have played for a lot of winning organizations but take a look at my stats, my career peaked in little league,” Cash added with a laugh. “Again, I can’t wait to get started. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
He had plenty of family members in attendance at Monday’s press conference. His father Mike and mother Patsy were seen chasing Cash’s young son J.D. (20 months) around the facility.
His wife Emily and daughters Camden (8) and Emily (6) were also on hand. Former Rays catcher Toby Hall and current starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi were also in attendance.
Cash played professional baseball for nine seasons in five different organizations – mostly in the American League East. He’s played for the Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays and Houston Astros.
He played for Tampa Bay in 2005 and belted a homer in his first at-bat in a Rays uniform. Cash is hoping his tenure as manager will be just as successful as that first AB.
“It’s go time,” he says.
Cash is the sixth MLB manager born in Tampa, a list that also includes Tony La Russa and Lou Piniella – both of those men won the World Series.