Robbie Ray shares the story of his tight pants, why he joined Mariners

Dec 1, 2021, 12:57 PM

Mariners LHP Robbie Ray...

Robbie Ray looks at Tampa Bay's Yandy Díaz after Díaz broke up his no-hitter bid in the seventh inning. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

(Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

The Mariners made a massive move this week, adding reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray to the top of the rotation.

Robbie Ray: Mitch Haniger helped sell me on joining Mariners

Ray, a left-handed pitcher who led the American League in innings, strikeouts and ERA during his 2021 campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays, joined Mike Salk on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk Show on Wednesday for his first interview as a member of the Mariners.

Something Ray was asked about was why the Mariners were such an attractive landing spot for him, especially considering the lucrative deal he signed could keep him in Seattle for up to five years.

“I think it was just the culture, the winning culture,” Ray said. “Seeing the guys last year and what they were able to put on the field, seeing the young guys come into their own and kind of realizing who they are as baseball players and as men. And just seeing it from across the field and hearing postgame press conferences about the way that things were going in that clubhouse, man, it was just something that you look at and you’re like, ‘Man, that sounds like a lot of fun.'”

Ray will be joining a fun clubhouse, but he had some fun of his own in 2021 by dominating opposing hitters. That came after a pretty rough 2020 season in which Ray walked 31 batters in 31 innings while posting a 7.84 ERA with the Arizona Diamondbacks before a trade to the Blue Jays, where he had a 4.79 ERA in five starts.

Ray said his work last offseason put him in a great position to have a dominant 2021 season, and he’s looking forward to building off of that.

“I feel like in the offseason, putting on the good weight, getting in the gym, getting after it and then really focusing on a delivery that was repeatable and that was consistent, that was going to allow me to consistently get to the same spot every single time,” he said. “That’s what made the difference for me.”

One area where it was evident Ray put on weight was in his lower half.

In 2021, Ray caught the attention of baseball fans for wearing extremely tight pants on the field, with pictures regularly circulating online during his starts. He explained why that came about.

“My pant size didn’t change, so I just kept the same pant size and during spring training last year, guys were just giving me a hard time about it,” the 6-foot-2, 215-pound southpaw said. “And I said, ‘You know what? I’m just gonna do it because you guys hate it.’ And then it became my thing going into the season. It kind of became a part of me and a part of my game and, you know, it ended up working out.”

Ray said the pants may have played a part in instilling fear in opposing hitters, which makes sense considering he led the American League in strikeouts.

“I think it’s a little bit of intimidation factor,” Ray said. “You see a guy come out onto the field and his jersey is a little snug and he’s a little bit bigger of a guy and I don’t know, maybe there’s a little bit of an intimidation factor.”

Listen to the full interview at this link or in the player below.

More on new Mariners ace Robbie Ray

• Ryan Rowland-Smith explains Robbie Ray’s breakout ’21 season
• Gustafson’s Breakdown: What to know about Robbie Ray
• Drayer: Where M’s offseason stands after adding Robbie Ray

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