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Rays’ gladiator helmets: Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta do as Romans do (VIDEO)

(via Rays Index)

Usually one of the more forward-thinking organizations in Major League Baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays broke out some next-generation headgear Monday night. Not satisfied with the "Great Gazoo" helmets Rawlings recently developed that greatly increase player safety (along with yuk factor), Rays slugger Carlos Peña put in an order for these sleek, hip and fearsome domes for his team. Very 21st-centurian.

OK, they're just gladiator helmets, worn for fun (or whatever). But Peña did order them, the Tampa Bay Times reports. That's closer Fernando "Maximus" Rodney on the left and Joel "Juba" Peralta chilling/unleashing hell in the home dugout.

And there's video:

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Note coach George Hendrick marveling at the material (and perhaps the sharpness) of the top of the helmet. Imagine the cutters one could throw... Anyway, Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez is right when he calls the Rays "a very loose ball club." It's almost like manager Joe Maddon has instituted a perpetual "When in Rome..." attitude. I can probably wait for the Rays to dress like Fox's Ken Rosenthal for their next road trip, however. That's Tim Lincecum's domain, anyway.

Question: Where is Rodney's lid integrity? As everyone knows, he always wears his cap a tad askew so as to throw off the timing of the hitters he faces. But the gladiator helmet looks pretty straight to me. What a sell-out!

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