Riley Greene is young enough to honestly say he was a Tampa Bay Rays fan by birth. The Tigers outfield prospect was born in Orlando in September 2000, near the end of the Rays’ third season. He was eight years old when the Rays made their Cinderella run to the
Riley Greene is young enough to honestly say he was a Tampa Bay Rays fan by birth. The Tigers outfield prospect was born in Orlando in September 2000, near the end of the Rays’ third season. He was eight years old when the Rays made their Cinderella run to the World Series in ’08.
Still, while his friends and neighbors are glued to their televisions watching the Rays back in the Fall Classic this week against the Dodgers, don’t expect Greene to join them.
It’s not simply out of loyalty to the team he plays for, though he’s the No. 4 prospect on the Tigers Top 30 Prospects list, per MLB Pipeline. It’s more out of superstition.
“I was a Rays fan growing up, and I want the Rays to win,” Greene admitted last week on a video conference with reporters from the Tigers’ Florida instructional league camp in Lakeland, Fla. “And the past couple times I’ve watched the Rays, they’ve lost, so I don’t watch them anymore. I just look at the score.”
The question actually came out of the Rays’ two-way outfield play this postseason, helped by highlight catches from Kevin Kiermaier and Hunter Renfroe. If that offense-defense combination can help propel Tampa Bay to the World Series, it also inspires Greene, whose home-run robbery in a Tigers Summer Camp intrasquad game made national highlights.
“It’s pretty cool for those guys to make those catches in such big games,” Greene said, “and that just makes me want to work harder, so I can be there in those games making those catches.”
Unless he challenges superstition, he’ll only be watching any Rays catches on highlights.
“My good friend always calls me and says, ‘You’re not watching the game, right?’” Greene said. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m not watching it.’ And he’s like, ‘Good.’”
Still, he might be tempted.
“So,” Greene hesitated, “I mean, I might watch it, might not. We’ll see.”