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(Photo by Skip Milos, Tampa Bay Rays)
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon likes to make things fun for his players, and one of the ways he has done so is by organizing theme-related dress codes for road trips.
For instance, when the team left Detroit recently, Maddon had the traveling party wear T-shirts and caps representing their favorite domestic automakers. When the Rays leave Seattle on Sunday and head for Anaheim to play the Angels, it will be Beach Boys-wear. For a red-eye to Baltimore from Anaheim, the Rays will have a “sleepover” with pajamas and loungewear.
Which brings us to the picture above, taken as the Rays were about to board a bus to the airport for their flight to Seattle after Wednesday’s 3-0 loss to Texas at Tropicana Field.
Maddon’s theme for the trip to Seattle for a four-game series which begins with tonight’s pitching duel between Felix Hernandez and James Shields, was the obvious: Grunge. And he solicited the Rays’ Grunge-meister, Johnny Damon, to customize the players’ shirts for the occasion. Damon, who likes to wear his T-shirts with the sleeves cut off, warmed up to the task.
You can see his handiwork in the photo above, sent out by the Rays. Damon is in the front row, second from the left. Maddon is front and center. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times was particularly taken with third-base coach Tom Foley, who is to Maddon’s right (fifth from the left in the front row).