Despite being one of the first half's hottest hitters, Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist(notes) wasn't having much of a week coming into Thursday's game against the Phillies. In his seven previous games, he was hitting .111/.200/.222 with one homer and three RBIs. Nothing to get too worried about, of course, but enough to get fragile Rays fans panicking just a little bit.
Enter Ben's wife Julianna — gosh, she's purdy, isn't she? — to sing the National Anthem for the Rays. And after she belts out the tune, her hubby blasts a two-run homer off Antonio Bastardo(notes) in the bottom of the first, narrowing the Phils' lead to one-run and getting the Rays on their way to a 10-4 victory.
After notching just three hits in the previous week, Zobrist went 2-for-4 with his wife watching and here's what he said of the Zobrist daily double in St. Pete:
"It was a good little combo right there. It was fun watching her perform. She's so good, just so much talent that I don't mind being upstaged."
As most Rays fans know, Julianna just isn't some American Idol wannabee taking advantage of her husband's position to reach a spot she shouldn't be in. She's actually a well-known Christian singer and has sung for the Rays twice before. She released a CD in the offseason and her voice has been compared to Sarah McLachlan, Regina Spektor and Bjork.
That last comparison probably isn't a good one, but given Zobrist's performance on Thursday night, perhaps the Rays should line up Julianna for a few more appearances this season.
Maybe she'd help with attendance, too?