No snow, no problem for Rays skipper Cash

New manager grew up with Florida Christmases, continues tradition with family

No snow, no problem for Rays skipper Cash

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Cash became the fifth manager in Rays history on Dec. 5. New to the job, he is hardly a stranger to Rays fans, or to baseball fans in the area.

Cash played in the 1989 Little League World Series for Tampa Northside, graduated from Gaither High School in 1997 and played three seasons as an infielder for Florida State University, including a trip to the 1999 College World Series.

His professional baseball career got on track when the Blue Jays signed him after seeing him play catcher in the Cape Cod League.

At age 37, Cash will be the youngest manager in the Major Leagues. And he'll be the sixth Tampa-born manager in Major League history, and the second for the Rays, joining Lou Piniella (whom Cash played for in 2005), Hall of Famers Al Lopez and Tony La Russa, Dave Miley and John Hart.

Cash has a lot of energy, and he needs that energy on a daily basis for more than baseball since he and his wife, Emily, have three children: daughters Camden (8) and Ella (6) and son J.D. (1).

With the holidays upon us, Cash shared some of what makes Christmas special for his family in a Q&A with Growing up in Tampa, snow obviously wasn't a part of your holiday season. Any Christmas traditions in the Cash family?

Cash: It was always family, obviously on Christmas Eve. We drove as kids on [Interstate] 275 checking for Santa Claus where the red lights were, looking for Rudolph. We did the luminaries in the yard and stuff. But no real major traditions. Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?

Cash: "A Christmas Story." I married into that one. My wife and her dad love the movie. It's their highlight of the holiday. Are there any special foods your family cooks or ones that you're especially fond of?

Cash: We do the usual. Almost like a post Thanksgiving meal. Very similar stuff. We like to fry turkeys a lot. Deep fried. My favorite dish is probably sweet potato casserole. Did you have a favorite gift from a Christmas while growing up?

Cash: I was very fortunate as a kid. My parents treated my brother and I really well. We basically got a lot of the cool gifts. I was spoiled, I got a lot. Probably a new bike or something. As a father of three, how much fun is it to see your kids on Christmas?

Cash: Oh my gosh, it's unbelievable. The anticipation leading up to it. The shopping. I want to keep going out and getting more for them. You have to divvy it up with two girls the same age. And then the little boy, he'll like anything. Your wife's family is in Gainesville and your family, obviously, is in Tampa. Having all the grandparents within the general vicinity, how do you break that up for celebrating Christmas?

Cash: Generally everybody comes to our house. We say, "Come on, we're doing it here. This is where Santa Claus stops." And we go from there.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.