The boos began as 1B Carlos Peña's foul pop settled into the glove of A's 3B Josh Donaldson to end the fifth inning of the Rays' 4-2 loss on Saturday at Tropicana Field.
Peña's is batting .190 after going 0-for-3 Saturday. He is 21-for-127 (.165 average) since the All-Star break and was hitless during the homestand.
Peña, whose batting average is the second lowest in the American League to Seattle's Justin Smoak (.188), said he was disappointed to be booed by the hometown crowd.
"I do hear that, but as grateful as I am for all the cheers, as grateful as I am for all the pats on the back and all the love that this area has given me, I think I've been smart enough not to make it my lifeline, not to make it my source of identity, a source of worth," he said.
"So even though I really have appreciated all the cheers and all the clapping and all the standing ovations and all the praise, I've been very careful over the years to not allow that to define me. So if you really haven't embraced or become addicted to the cheers than the boos shouldn't bug you either."
Peña went on to say he wouldn't boo anyone.
"I understand they are fans and they are entitled to do what they want. They can boo or cheer, but I try not to let whether it's the whole stadium cheering for me or a whole stadium booing for me define me as a man," he said. "So I'll just let it brush off my shoulder whether it's good or bad. Kind of thank you so much for the cheers and thank you so much for the boos, try to keep it on the same balance. That's easier said than done, but that's ideally what I want to do at all times."
Bracing for protests
A member of the Secret Service met with the Rays before last Monday's game and explained what might happen if fans tried to disrupt Saturday's game in response to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Security at the Trop was increased and law enforcement agencies were on the lookout for flash mobs that might enter the field or protesters who might chain themselves to stadium seats to disrupt the preparations for today's RNC welcome party at the Trop.
The game was played without disruption.
"I know everybody talked about it a lot, but I had faith in the fact they had done all the proper things to ensure that nothing would happen. Proper precautions are being taken," manager Joe Maddon said. "We served as a training ground, I'm sure. That's the positive for (Saturday). We helped out the Secret Service."
Betting on the guys
Executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said days before the trade deadline that he was willing to bet on the track records of his Rays players. It looks like most of them are rewarding him for his faith.
"A baseball season, in general, is always a very interesting roller coaster ride in that you can freeze it at any kind of two-week segment and easily get too high about something or too low about something," he said. "Over 162 games, things tend to work themselves out. Guys with established watermarks tend to get back close to that. We went through a period where we had some injuries and we also had some guys underperforming their true talent level, and as those guys are starting to hit and as we're getting healthy, we are at least in a position to have a chance to do special things."
The Rays were 14-5 during the 19-game stretch that did not include an off-day. … DH Luke Scott extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games with his second-inning bunt. He is batting .424 during the streak that began five games before he was placed on the DL. … LHP J.P. Howell extended his scoreless streak to 262/3 innings. … 3B Evan Longoria made his ninth error of the season but first since returning to third base. Rays third basemen have committed a major league-high 26 errors this season.