In his first year as Orioles closer, Chris Ray saved 33 games in 38 opportunities to go along with a 4-4 record and a 2.73 ERA. The Orioles drafted the 25-year-old Tampa, Fla., native out of William and Mary in the third round of the 2003 draft.
What did you learn from former Orioles closer B.J. Ryan? -- I think he did a lot as far as calming my nerves. He just preached to have confidence and to have the belief that you are going to get guys out. He told me just to have confidence at all times.
Who is the toughest hitter you've ever faced? -- I don't like facing Vladimir Guerrero. I just don't like it. He can hit any ball, even if it is not a strike, and he'll hit it hard somewhere. I really don't like that about him.
Your delivery was once described by one of your former William and Mary teammates as "all [butt] and elbows. How did that get started? -- I just always threw like that, and it used to be worse. When I went to college, it was even more out of control. I just kind of harnessed it a little bit. It feels kind of natural to me, but people say that it looks kind of odd and things are flying every way.
When you were a member of the Bowie Baysox, you planted a garden on the side of the field at Prince George's County Stadium. How did that come about? -- My father-in-law is a sheep farmer in Virginia. He grows a lot of vegetables and stuff. When we had that hill there, we decided to do something. He gave me some seeds and we decided to plant some stuff.
What do you do in your free time? -- I like woodworking. I like playing Halo video games. I fish sometimes. I made some Adirondack chairs. I am just starting to get into it, making different furniture. I just think it came out of boredom. I have a brand new house with a big garage, but my truck didn't fit into it. So my father-in-law came over and we built a workbench. We talked about buying Adirondack chairs, and they were like 300 bucks apiece. So I said, "I'll try to make them."
What's with the longer hair? -- I just didn't cut it for a while. At first, it was in the awkward stage where it looked like it was a helmet. Then, it grew out longer. I don't have any big plans with it.