Rays’ OF Kevin Kiermaier gets an assist with pregame wedding proposal

BALTIMORE — Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier has recorded 50 assists during his 10-year major league career. His first assist of the 2022 season might be his most memorable.

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The three-time Gold Glove winner helped a Baltimore man propose to his girlfriend before Friday night’s game between the Rays and the host Orioles at Camden Yards.

After Tampa Bay took batting practice in Baltimore, Kiermaier walked over to Tailyn Kite and began to sign a baseball for the 22-year-old, who was wearing a Rays jersey and considers the outfielder her favorite player, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

When Kiermaier asked Kite to turn around to see the name on the back of the jersey, she saw her boyfriend, Brandon Merson, on one knee and proposing, the newspaper reported.

She said yes.

“It was mind-blowing,” Kite told the Times. “I mean, now I’m engaged and I got to meet Kevin Kiermaier -- dream come true. And I got to hug him? Whooo.”

“I was gonna say, ‘You probably can’t read my autograph, but you can probably read this,’ -- where it said, ‘Will you marry me?’” Kiermaier told the newspaper. “But the dude got down quick. It didn’t go quite as planned, but it still worked out.

“It’s always good to surprise people,” Kiermaier added. “I’m thankful, I’m grateful that people who you don’t even know, who might watch you on TV or be a fan, to let me be a part of that. Little things like that go a long way for me.”