ST. PETERSBURG -- Julianna Zobrist will perform the national anthem prior to Thursday night's Rays-Phillies contest at Tropicana Field, and her husband, Rays second baseman/utilityman Ben Zobrist, is eager to see his bride perform.
"It's very fun," Ben said. "The last couple of times when she's done it, one time I was on the field, one time I was injured at the time. So I've been able to see it from the fans' perspective and the on-the-field perspective. So I'm looking forward to it."
Rays fans should be familiar with Julianna, since she has sung the national anthem prior to home games on several occasions. She is a professional singer, and in January, she came out with her debut CD, which is entitled "The Tree."
Julianna's CD is best described as Christian alternative. Lyrically, the songs are expressions about Christianity, but as Julianna has said about her music in the past, she likes to add fun elements that are both creative and quirky, "yet still solid and uplifting lyrically."
Unlike a nervous parent concerned about his or her child performing in front of a crowd, Ben doesn't worry about Julianna.
"She's a performer," he said. "I don't have to worry about her being too nervous or anything like that, because she really enjoys doing it. It's fun for me to watch her enjoy something, regardless of what it is, and when I know she's enjoying being out there doing it, it makes it fun for me, too."
Ben said Julianna's CD is doing well.
"A lot of people have been asking about it and buying it online, on iTunes and cdbaby.com," he said. "It's been a really neat thing so far. She's just been getting more opportunities through that to sing and make personal appearances and share more of her heart with people."
Ben smiled when asked if Julianna would offer her own spin on the national anthem.
"I don't think she'll diva it up or anything like that," he said.
For a sneak preview of Julianna's CD, you can listen to a portion of it on her MySpace page. Fans can buy it soon for $10 from iTunes or cdbaby.com, or order it by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.