Blissfully mundane offseason awaits Rays
Players share disappointment but look ahead to family time
ST. PETERSBURG -- A bevy of activity swirled inside the Rays' clubhouse prior to Sunday's season finale against the Yankees.
Players wrote checks to clubhouse staff members, cleaned out their lockers and basically did what needed to be done before they check out and head home for the offseason after the game.
Though disappointment at not making the playoffs laced the scene, the thought of heading home and kicking back for a few months seemed to be an appeasing one.
Initially, Carl Crawford doesn't have too much planned for his offseason other than sleeping a lot. But he did say that if the Tigers win the American League Central and advance deep into October, it's likely he'll go to see a game or two if former Rays right-hander Edwin Jackson, an old friend, is pitching.
Left-hander J.P. Howell plans to head for home in Sacramento, Calif.
"I hope to get there in time to be ready for Monday Night Football," Howell said. "Do some barbecuing, perhaps have a beer or two."
Grant Balfour looks forward to being in his new house and spending some time on the water, while Gabe Kapler is eager to be a father, spending more time in California with his family.
Jason Bartlett will head to Lodi, Calif., where he, his wife and his son will root down in their new house.
"It will be nice to unpack everything," said Bartlett, noting how much he's looking forward to having his family in its own place.
Bartlett said he'll spend most of his time "chilling," but he's expecting a guest on Oct. 17 as Howell, a University of Texas alumnus, will visit to watch the Texas-Oklahoma college football game. Bartlett attended Oklahoma.
Chris Westmoreland will likely be the busiest of the bunch. As the Rays' equipment and home clubhouse manager, he will oversee the cleanup of the 2009 season, taking inventory and performing a thorough cleaning of the facility. "Westy" said everything should be wrapped up by the end of the week, which will afford him time to head to Baton Rouge, La., for next Saturday's college football tilt between the University of Florida and LSU.
While the Rays were ready to go home, all agreed that they would sack all of their plans for a chance to continue playing baseball.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.