The Tampa Bay Rays are no stranger to the playoffs in recent years, but the opener of their wild-card series against the Texas Rangers at Tropicana Field on Tuesday marked a first for them in a number of areas.
Mainly, it was the first time All-Star outfielder and past postseason hero Randy Arozarena was able to have his mother in attendance for one of his MLB games. Sandra González had been living in Mexico — where Arozarena lived after fleeing Cuba, and before he immigrated to the United States — while waiting for her visa to be approved.
González had not seen her son play in the big leagues in person until after her visa was approved last week. She then got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Rays’ game Tuesday.
It looks like we now know where Arozarena got the ability to throw runners out on the basepaths, as González fired a perfect strike over the plate to her son.
Arozarena then gave his mother something extra to cheer about with a first-inning single for the Rays’ first hit of the 2023 MLB playoffs.
The 28-year-old outfielder is looking to continue being one of the best playoff performers of his generation. He enters this postseason with a .333 average, 1.121 OPS, 11 home runs and 17 RBIs in 120 career plate appearances in October.
The Rays also wore a version of their original “Devil Rays” uniforms in the playoffs for the first time in their franchise history, in honor of their 25th year of existence. Tampa Bay made the postseason for the first time in 2008, the same year they shortened their name from “Devil Rays” to “Rays.”
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