Jul 16, 2012

Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman's hearts remain in St. Pete

by Aaron Giddens

Damon and Kotch
Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman
Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
Despite with the Indians this offseason and early April, Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon miss their Tampa Bay home.

"I miss not being here everyday," Damon said. "I'm not going to sugar coat it at all." And why should he? We all know most players love playing here. But for Damon, it's extra special being a Orlando native in the twilight of his career.

Damon again told reporters that he hoped to return to Tampa Bay. "Everyone expected me back." Obviously it didn't work out that way.

Johnny was an crucial part of the 2011 team which capitalized on the epic collapse of the 2011 Red Sox. Walking in to the Trop this afternoon, Johnny sees "162 Landing" which floods back memories. "Maybe the best day in baseball history," said the 38 year old Indians outfielder.

Casey Kotchman, another returning ex-Ray, is a Tampa Bay native and a graduate of Seminole High School in Seminole, Florida. Just up the road from the Trop. He called it "exciting" and a "tremendous blessing" to play for his hometown team. Kotch said he was fully open to returning to Tampa Bay should the Rays ever call him.

In my opinion, they are both missed. Especially Damon, who despite his trouble is an excellent clubhouse leader who the Rays are lacking with Longo out since May 1st.

I hope they both return one day.


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