On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay Rays had a few members of the Tampa Bay Lightning visit Tropicana Field to try their hand at batting practice. (This was unfortunate timing for their visit, what with the Bruins having won the Stanley Cup the night before and the stands filled with obnoxious Boston fans who couldn't name more than four players on the team and probably think Joe Thornton still plays for the Bruins but still ran to the nearest sporting-goods store earlier in the day so they could buy a size-3XL Bruins jersey and wear it to the Trop with the tags still hanging off of them and yell "YOOO SAWWWWWK!" at everyone in earshot and threaten to start fistfights around their kids while double-fisting beers... but I digress.)â†µ
Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson, and Mike Smith traded in their sticks for bats and took some swings in the cage while Evan Longoria, Don Zimmer, Joe Maddon, and a few other Rays personnel looked on. Stamkos played shortstop as a kid and had some nice swings, driving one deep into the gap in left-center and one-hopping the fence. But no one hit a home run... until the very last pitch of the day.â†µ
Mike Smith at the plate... and there's a shot! High and deep and gone! And Smitty knew it, too, with the bat flip and everything. He rounded the bases, tossed his hat in the air, jumped around at home plate, and even got the shaving cream towel from Purcell while he talked to reporters.â†µ
It kind of makes sense that Smith would have home run power after seeing his strength as a puck-handling goalie (and a couple of near-goals scored with the opposing net empty). And he's pretty good with the glove -- maybe he can play some outfield in the offseason. Personally I'm waiting for Longoria and some of the Rays to come out and try shooting some pucks. As long as they don't do worse than Mac trying to score a goal in a radio contest before a Flyers game, it would be fun to watch.