Rays Alex Cobb, Ryan Hanigan Friendly With Other Animals

By Robbie Knopf

The team is called the Tampa Bay Rays, and a ray is an animal. Well, at least a devil ray was. Now the “Rays” may be referring to rays of sun, but the team still has the devil ray on their uniforms and it will always remain a part of their (extremely short) heritage. The “rays of sun” always worked better as a positive analogy for the team–all the players with unlimited potential just waiting to arrive–but the Rays are still the animals as well, and apparently that can have its advantages.

In the past few days, both Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan and Alex Cobb have had significant animal-related occurrences happen in their lives. Because people like dogs, we will start with Hanigan, whose Australian shepherd won “Best in Breed” at the Westminster Dog Show. My sister was actually there–totally unrelated to Hanigan (are there any Rays fans that dedicated?)–and apparently it’s a nice competition except for when the dress up the dogs and make them upset. The dogs can’t get too upset, though–one bark and they’re disqualified. Hanigan’s dog is named “Copperridge What’s Your Dream.” In an attempt to understand what in the world that means, I did a five-second Google search to find that Copperridge is either: a) an Alzheimer’s treatment clinic, b) a Texas community, or c) a golf club. Here’s hoping its the first one, and that would make a lot of sense because the Alzheimer’s treatment clinic is not far from where Hanigan grew right outside Washington D.C. In any event, the dog goes by the much less crazy name “Vivian” when not in competition, so that’s nice. We can’t have any idea how a Ray and an award-winning dog go together, but we can say that the Rays do have a strong train record with Australians, with the recently re-signed Grant Balfour immediately coming to mind. In any event, congrats to Hanigan and Vivian and hopefully Hanigan can be inspired by his dog to have a strong season.

Then there was Cobb, who proposed to his girlfriend Kelly Reynolds when they were swimming with dolphins at Discover’s Cove. A dolphin bought over a buoy that said “Kelly, will you marry me?” and she said yes–I hope it would not have gone viral if she said no. In any event, way to go Cobb using his underwater contacts to help propose. No doubt the dolphin was friends with one of the rays in the rays tank at Tropicana Field, and he was glad to do a favor for a friend. Cobb’s last 12 months have been absolutely nuts as he has gone from dominating to line drive to ear problem to dominating again and now to engaged. Congratulations to him and Reynolds and best of luck to both of them moving forward.

Is this where the story of the Rays and animals ends? Let’s hope not. Maybe sometime this season, Alex Cobb will be on the mound with Ryan Hanigan behind the plate and instead of putting down fingers for signs, they will switch to a series of barks and dolphin sounds. The batter won’t know what hit him.