When you’re with the same group of people for seven or eight months straight and frequently traveling to new destinations, you almost have to come up with new and creative activities just to keep yourself from going insane.
No professional sports team understands that line of thinking or has embraced it more than the Tampa Bay Rays ever since Joe Maddon took over the reigns in 2006. The end result has been a number of highly entertaining ventures.
From D.J.’s, mariachi bands and penguins in the clubhouse, to their many awesome themed road trips that have seen players donning various costumes and even lettermen jackets on a trip from Texas to Boston earlier this season, the Rays aren't afraid to stand out or do something silly just to keep the clubhouse atmosphere from stagnating.
It's with that established that we now tell you about Tampa Bay's latest themed road trip. It's their 25th different theme since Maddon started the tradition in 2008, and it's among our favorites so far as the team was decked out in army fatigues, hunting disguises and other various camo patterns for their flight up the coast to take on the Baltimore Orioles this weekend.
Pretty much every player took the assignment seriously, though most were subdued compared to Matt Moore, who you see pictured on the far left in the picture above, and Fernando Rodney, who you'll see below.
Yes, those are plantains hanging from Rodney's locker, because of course. And given his out-going personality, it should come as no surprise that he's one of the players who went all out.
I also have to applaud Jamey Wright, who went with the full green military suit.
Good stuff, and a nice little tradition you have going there, Mr. Maddon.
"We have so much of that in our clubhouse," Rays manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com. "They're all into this stuff. We have so many hunters. Plus, camo's in right now. Camo actually is in in a fashion sense. It's coming from all different directions. The only part that's uncool in a sense is it's a night trip, so nobody gets to see it. But then again, if you're wearing camo, they wouldn't see anyway."
Hey, all that matters is that we can see them now. Thanks again, Joe.
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
Not counting Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS against the Yankees (which counts but ... you know), Jim Johnson had logged a Baltimore Orioles record 35 straight saves going back to July. No more, the San Diego Padres said Tuesday night. With two outs in the ninth, Chris Denorfia hit a tying single and Everth Cabrera followed with a go-ahead knock to lift the Padres to a 3-2 victory at Camden Yards. Afterward, it was business as usual for Johnson, who said he never thought much of the streak. Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun of Johnson's postgame activity:
“He's grinding out on a bicycle,” he said, “Getting ready for [Wednesday].”
Never turn your back on Felix: This is why Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez can never, ever leave a ballgame under any circumstances. Hernandez took a three-run lead into the sixth inning against CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees Music Factory, but he tweaked his back on a comebacker by Curtis Granderson. The Grandy Man, in his first game back after breaking his arm during spring training, must have transferred his injury curse mojo to King Felix, who finished the inning with discomfort and didn't come out for the seventh. Hernandez said it's "nothing serious" and that he would be fine for his next start, but the M's couldn't hold on against the Yankees, who rallied for three runs in the seventh and won 4-3.
Rangers 6, Athletics 5 (10 inn.): The save took all of the gumption Joe Nathan had, but he nailed it down with 31 pitches. Sluggers Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland each hit a home run in the 10th to put Texas ahead. A's manager Bob Melvin was ejected by umpire D.J. Reyburn earlier, so he watched the end of the game in an office with Billy Beane (who was played by Brad Pitt). Here's video of what preceded the argument, if you're into that.
Pirates 4, Brewers 3 (12 inn.): Raise the Jolly Roger! Andrew McCutchen has been struggling, certainly in relation to his MVP-contender 2012 season, but he hopes a walk-off homer in the 12th will be the start of a hot streak.
Reds 6, Marlins 2: It's a six-hitter for Homer Bailey, who threw 125 pitches. (**Gives side-eye to Dusty Baker.**)
Rockies 9, Cubs 4: Carlos Gonzalez goes 5 for 5 with two home runs in a fantastic performance. He only had three RBIs and didn't steal a base, however, so it wasn't fantasy-tastic.
Cardinals 10, Mets 4: Who is John Gast? He's the beneficiary of major run support in his first major league start, that's who. Gast began with five shutout innings before fraying in the sixth, but came was after Team Fredbird had built a nine-run lead.
Diamondbacks 2, Braves 0: Patrick Corbin and bullpen friends make it all quiet on the Justin Upton-Chris Johnson front.
Dodgers 2, Nationals 0: Vintage Clayton Kershaw fans 11 over 8 2/3, giving the Dodgers pen a rest, mostly. Kenley Jansen got the last out for his second save.
Blue Jays 10, Giants 6: 10 strikeouts over six innings for R.A. Dickey, and a World Series ring for former Gigante Melky Cabrera (but keep it quiet).
Tigers 6, Astros 2: You're not going to believe this: Home run, Miguel Cabrera:
Rays 5, Red Sox 3: Matt Moore was not worried after falling behind three runs in the first inning because he had confidence in the Rays' offense. So he's the one!
White Sox 4, Twins 2: Jake Peavy and Chris Sale can't pitch every day.
Felix Hernandez said "ouch" "ouch," and now trainer is out.
— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) May 15, 2013
Curtis Granderson, seated next to actor Patrick Warburton in the Yankees dugout, uses his right arm to point, as if to say, "See? It works now."
• Jeremy Guthrie had not received an "L" in 18 starts, a Royals record.
• Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman lowered his ERA to 3.40.
• The D-backs have scored three runs or fewer in seven straight games.
The Dan Duquette roster wheel spun yet again as Jair Jurrjens had his contract purchased, Jake Arrieta was recalled, Brian Roberts was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, Alex Burnett was optioned, and Nolan Reimold was put on the 15-day DL.
Kevin Gausman and Brandon Kline combined to strike out 23 as the O's affiliates went 2-2.
He's 76 years old today.
Orioles news and notes around the internet.
What could've been the biggest comeback win of the year didn't quite get there, as Jason Hammel kicked off a seventeen-game stretch by continuing his early-season struggles.
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