From player to fan, Creek supports Rays
Reliever turned pro fisherman enjoying days on the water
ST. PETERSBURG -- Doug Creek may have bounced around the Major Leagues -- playing for seven teams in nine seasons -- but the pitching pro turned pro fisherman makes it clear where his anchor lies.
"I'm a big, local hometown team guy," Creek said. "And the hometown team for me are the Rays."
The former reliever spent three years in the Rays organization, but fell in love with the St. Petersburg area back in 1991, during Spring Training with the St. Louis Cardinals.
It was in the bay area that Creek found some of the "best fishing in the world," and when he hung up his spikes in 2006, the lefty specialist wasn't content to just spend idle days on the water. Instead, Creek became a licensed captain and competes in fishing tournaments in the region, including the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup series, and the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series, in which he was previously a Top 15 finisher.
"I'm busier now than I was when I played ball," Creek said, laughing. "Supposed to be retired -- I'm working more now."
But for this Creek, life off the field continues to move upstream.
Keeping a hand in baseball -- he serves as a private pitching instructor -- Creek has also become a face for fishing. The 39-year-old is part of the reality cast for the show Tarpon of Boca, which runs on The Outdoor Channel.
"It's been pretty well received," Creek said of the show, which will air a new series in January. While last year's segment concentrated on his business as a fishing boat tour guide, the channel opted to take a different approach during this summer's filming.
"This year it was more about me as a guy, me as a person," Creek said. "What I'm made of and what I do besides fish."
A husband and proud father of two, Aubrie Jane and six-year-old Colton (who will be ready for T-ball soon), Creek also remains active in several charities from his Major League days.
And in the rare moments he's not critiquing young arms or fishing on Charlotte Harbor, Creek spends time watching his former team perform.
"They got some ballplayers playing some great baseball," Creek said of the Rays. "It's nice to see what they've done with that team. The acquisitions the front office made and how [manager Joe Maddon] has made everything kind of come together."
ARI: Travis Lee | ATL: Mark Lemke
BAL: Chris Hoiles | BOS: Bill Lee
CHC: Randy Hundley | CIN: Eric Davis
CWS: Dan Pasqua | CLE: Dave Burba
COL: Curtis Leskanic | DET: Steve Sparks
FLA: Charlie Hough | HOU: Doug Drabek
KC: Mike Macfarlane | LAA: Rick Reichardt
LAD: Jim Gott | MIL: Don Sutton
MIN: Kevin Tapani | NYM: Ed Kranepool
NYY: Jim Abbott | OAK: Ben Grieve
PHI: Tommy Greene | PIT: Barry Jones
STL: B. Tewksbury | SD: C. Hernandez
SF: Brian Johnson | SEA: Henry Cotto
TB: Doug Creek | TEX: Dave Hostetler
TOR: Alex Gonzalez | WAS: W. Fryman
Creek was teammates with current Rays reliever Dan Wheeler, and remembers when Carl Crawford and Josh Hamilton were with the team in Spring Training and being dubbed "the outfield of the future."
And although times and plans have changed for the Rays, Creek -- who is also an avid Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan -- doesn't see the club reverting back to their 60-win days.
"You are not going to fool people for that long," said Creek, a two-time Team USA member and Georgia Tech Hall of Fame inductee. "We are here in the middle of August. You are not fooling Major League Baseball for that long if you are some kind of a fluke."
Spoken by a man who knows a great catch when he sees one.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.