Wild Hogs Invade Rays Complex

 


 
 
Rays 2009 Commercials and Print Ads.

 
I really love the job the Tampa Bay Rays have done this year bringing their commercials for the 2009 season down to a level where you feel you know the players. And in the original spots, Rays Manager Joe Maddon also put a great spin on the commercials by relating to the guys with his nicknames for them like “Los” for Carlos Pena, and also adding some of his Maddon-isms to the entire commercial. It gives it a more down-to-earth feel that makes you want to root for the Rays this year. If you have not seen any of them, I posted all five of them on my other site, or you can just go to http://www.youtube.com and you will find these instant bits of Rays karma.

 
Above is the print ad  that was in the March 2, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated  showing Carl Crawford doing a agility training exercise in the outfield of Progress Energy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida.  the ads bring to me a great sense of the open mindedness and honesty that Maddon had instilled in his clubhouse between himself and his players. If you ever have a chance to chat with the man, or hear him talk, you will have a different outlook to the Rays Manager. He doesn’t just walk the walk, he can talk it with the best of them. By the end of his tenure here in Tampa Bay, he will have left a legacy of quotes, very cerebral sayings and mantras that will stand the test of time.

 

 

Wild Hogs Trash Rays complex
 

It was a bit entertaining to me last night to pop on the blog, The Heater and see a short blurp on the wild boar population in Charlotte county maybe not being happy that the Tampa Bay Rays are training in their fertile munching grounds. It was reported that last night a small band of wayward hogs decided to root and destroy a little bit of the follage around the complex, plus they left some big reminders that they were there. That is one of the minuses of building in a completely rural area. Sometimes the wild life that is accustomed to roaming that area get a bit upset that they have fences and paved parking lot where their best insects and plants used to grow.

 
This is one of the things that happens when man treads upon years of grazing and breeding sites for wild animals. This is not to say that either is to blame in this aspect, but sometimes the two have to gain some level of medium where they can co-exist without problems. With most of the Charlotte Stonecrabs game scheduled for the night time, it might be wise that the team conduct some parking lot security patrols to keep a unsuspecting visitor to the ball park from meeting our wild friends by their cars side after a game. I am not a expert, but a frightened animal is not always the most stable thing in the world.  This doesn’t mean that the Florida Fish and Wildlife commission will even trap or move the animals to another location. But you can be sure it will be done in a manner that is befitting the wildlife nature of the region, and to consider the welfare of the animals in the near future.
 

But  with the Rays, being the ecological friends they are to nature, might just have to adapt a bit to their new found fans, and hope they do not send messages to their relatives of the abundance of great grazing fields and concession stands. Who knows at this time what steps will be made to stop the nightly raids into the outer fields and leaving deposits for field personnel in the morning. Considering the locale, I am surprised that the buzzards and vulture population has not set up shop around the complex. That has happened at other rural ballparks, and still might in the future. But I am also looking forward to the first hawk/osprey or eagles nest to be positioned up into the light towers. That is a sign that you truly have arrived and bonded with nature.

 
 

 
 

A Bit about the Florida Wild Hog

 

Florida’s wild hogs are often referred to as feral hogs, of which three types can be found in the wilds of South Florida.. These include free-ranging pigs or hogs that come from domesticated stock, Eurasian wild boar, and hybrids of the two. Although technically, feral refers to free-ranging animals from domesticated stock, all wild hogs are typically referred to as feral in Florida. Wild hogs are in the family Suidae (true wild pigs), none of which are native to the Americas. It is believed that hogs were first brought to Florida, in 1539, when Hernando De Soto brought swine to provision a settlement he established at Charlotte Harbor in Lee County.
 

However, it is possible that hogs had been brought to the same site in 1521 by Ponce De Leon during a brief visit. During the next 4 centuries, explorers and settlers brought pigs with them throughout Florida. Many of these animals were given to or stolen by Native Americans who expanded pig numbers and distribution in the State. Europeans and Native Americans alike often raised their swine in semi-wild conditions where the hogs were allowed to roam freely and only rounded up when needed. Many of these animals,and those escaping from captivity established feral populations throughout the area. These feral populations have been further supplemented through deliberate releases of hogs in many areas by private individuals and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to improve hunting opportunities (although the State no longer does this).

 
Eurasian wild boar were first released in the U.S. in New Hampshire in 1886. Boar were then released in
New York (1900), North Carolina/Tennessee (1912), Texas (1919), Washington State (1981), and possibly other locations to provide a new big game species, and increase the sporting and trophy value of feral hogs through hybridization. A few Eurasian wild boar and many hybrids naturally dispersed to areas around release sites, including neighboring states. Hybrids have been trapped and moved to many parts of Florida by private individuals. In addition, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has trapped and released feral hogs and hybrids in many areas to control hog-related problems in some areas and improve hunting opportunities in others. There are not believed to be any free-ranging, pure Eurasian wild boar in Florida, only feral hogs and hybrids.

 
 
 
Wild hogs are now found in every county in Florida, including most of the Southeast. Florida, second only to Texas, is estimated to have 500,000+ wild hogs in a relatively stable population, with 1 to 2 million in the Southeastern U.S. Some of the highest densities of hogs in Florida can be found north and west of Lake Okeechobee in areas with large forested tracts, dense understory vegetation, and limited public access. Hog numbers tend to be lower in areas with intensive agriculture and urbanization, and little water. So next time you leave the Charlotte Sports Park near dark and you see two beady eyes from the brush remember that the “Wild Hogs” are watching you and could leave a reminder of their presence near the doors of your cars during the night games.

 
 

Kevin Barr is on the left
 

Kudos to Kevin Barr

 

Just wanted to give a shout out to Kevin Barr, who is the head honcho in charge of the strength and conditioning of the Tampa Bay Rays. I have had the pleasure to chat with him over the past few seasons, and you know this guy loves his job. He is always smiling and helping the guys warm-up before games even willing to add some personal stretching on the foul lines to be sure they are  in tip top shape for that night’s game.  He does a fantastic job getting them ready daily, plus helping them rehab when the injury bug hits them.  From his rubber tubing exercises to the pitcher’s runs during the Rays Batting Practice, you know this guy take a huge amount of pride in his job and in his team.

 
During this past off season he was picked by the staffs of all the Major League Baseball staffs as the best Strength and Conditioning coach in the baseball. I can think of no one else who should have gotten this honor in 2008. The Rays only had a handful of hamstring and muscle related injuries during the 2008 campaign. That is a testament to his high standards and the height of the bar he set for these guys. Congratulations again Kevin for being one of the best of the best. And here is to hoping you can regain that title again in 2009 with another severe injury free season.

 
Photo credits:   1) www.sportsillustrated.com
                          2) www.raysbaseball.com
                          3) Andsheewas@Flickr.com
                          4) www.bradenton.com
 

16 Comments

Wow. They say ‘you learn something new every day’ and today is no exception. No idea about the wild hogs… now I consider myself learned. Thanks, RR! Hey, hey, super excited about Longoria donning the stars and stripes. Let’s get ‘em!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Man has a funny way of building in just the places that the animals like to go. I hope something can be worked out and thanks for all the info on the wild hogs! Watch were you step when you go to the games! lol!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Hey Florida is not just the towns of the nearly dead and newly weds anymore…………We have animal stories too.

Yeah, Sunday will be a exciting day to watch WW III.5 or the crushing of the Japanese resistance on our soil. Should truly be a classic moment in baseball. And hopefully it will spark the Olympic Committee to bring back Baseball as an Olympic sport.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

If one of those pigs were to venture to close to my car, my 9 mm might just bag me a years worth of bacon and pork sausage.
I am not worried about it, their big teeth do not scare me, but ther breathe is a killer.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Why did the Olympic Committee scratch baseball and softball? Did they ever give a reason?
So, I take it you WANT the pigs near your car? LOL!
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

I had heard that wild hogs were a problem in places like South Carolina, but I didn’t know you guys had them in Florida. I guess those things can be really nasty, too, especially during mating season. Be careful out there :) And I’m glad Longoria is playing for Team USA in the WBC, now. I can’t think of a better replacement for Chipper Jones. Let’s hope he doesn’t hurt himself too!-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

I think the Olympic committee actually brought those sports in on a temporary basis, and the dominance of only a handful of nations might have been its downfall.
But I believe there is a petition before them to re-estblish both sports in the summer Olympics.

Rays Renegade

http;//raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Yeah the Spanish explorers that discovered Florida loved their pork. So it is no wonder that they brought a few with them from Spain. And since Florida was a huge Spainish settlement before the English even ventured down this way, the pork connection was set in Florida.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mblogs.com

Hi Renegade – Away from baseball for a minute…I am beginning to realize how hard blogging is. Especially when I am trying to write with a heavy heart. How were you able to write about the boat crash so well? I have, honestly, rewritten my entry for tomorrow about 10 times in the past few hours.
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

Wild hogs, oh my! I never know what I’ll learn when I come and visit your blog, Renegade. Btw, I really like your new profile photo. It IS new, right? Or have I just not been paying attention?

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I really do not know why sometimes horror and suffering doesn’t bother me as much as some people. I am soory to hear that you have situation that makes you heart grow heavy, but just remember one basic rule. Anything you write about them is a testament to the way they lived or should have lived.
As long as you do it with respect and honor, it will be fine. I do not what else I could say but that.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jane that picture is from 2007 when the Rays let us all have a personal baseball card of ourselves with our Season Ticket.
I know you can’t see it, but I am wearing Jonny Gomes number “31” batting gloves on my hands.

I try to make people think. You can always read on ESPN, or any other site that the Rays lost today, but you might not read about the Hogs or Idol Rays-style. I try and fill a need for information.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Definitely some great background color that we would not normally hear or read about. A great read. I also echo Erin’s sentiments. I was very pleased that they had selected Evan Longoria to replace Chipper Jones on Team USA. With Roy Oswalt on the mound and Evan at third, the team is well positioned for the next game.

Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

Roy Oswalt got the call. Longo is playing.
The game is on Sunday, right? I don’t want to miss this one.
Canuck
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

I am a little concerning with Oswalt, but he on paper has had a great WBC and might just have another great game in him.
Evan Longoria and that entire team will have one more huge game in front of them so they can play another day for the WBC championship.
No matter what happens, it is a sign that Team USA is ready to take back our national past time again.

Rays Renegade

http:///raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Tonight is Venezeula versus Korea. Sunday night at 8 pm EST is Japan versus Team USA. Winners to play again on Monday for the championship.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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