Close shaves for the kids
Rays players and staff, from principal owner Stuart Sternberg and manager Joe Maddon on down, had their heads shaved Sunday to raise funds and awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
This the third year the Rays have participated in the project, and Maddon said it is a rewarding experience, especially poignant when he had Ava, a 5-year-old patient, help with the honors.
"When you have little Ava doing your hair it becomes, it really hits home at that point,'' Maddon said. "You're a dad, you have kids, and you're a grandparent, so it really smacks you. And then you get to meet the parents and the grandparents and you get to understand these moments impact a lot of people, man. And then on top of that the people that are there to care for them.
"All this stuff, we don't think about. You never really take time to think about, but under these circumstances it really comes to the forefront. And when people say thank you to you - which I'm really not looking for at all because truly they're the ones having to overcome these moments, it does mean something to them. So any little thing we can do as an organization to help, we're very happy to be able to do so.''
Sternberg, joking that he'd get a Mohawk if the Rays won the World Series, said he welcomed the chance to help.
"It's only three years into it and it feels like a long time already,'' Sternberg said. "And the cause is pristine.''
Rays OF Wil Myers - who has made his shaggy hair part of his look - didn't participate, but instead walked around the stadium seeking five fans to volunteer for a cut and making a $100 donation for each one.
Maddon said that was good - - great and wonderful, even - but not good enough as he wants to get Myers, and others who declined, to step out of their comfort zone do it.
"The thing I'm really looking for is all the guys, if they would just take the leap and just jump in there and do it, that little bit of risk, that little bit of discomfort, all of those things that are uncomfortable, I think benefits you when you're on the field and the moment gets hot, you're used to handling uncomfortable moments. And beyond that the for the purpose itself,'' Maddon said.
"I really (want to), at some point, almost try to get 100 percent participation, and at that point really understand you're doing this for the kids and for the cancer situation, and beyond that the ancilliary benefits that it does something for you.''
"So, yes, I love that he did that but I still want to see him get his hair cut, I still want to see the locks falling to the floor.''
Fans wanting to donate can do so at pcfcutforacure.org. The Rays are selling Fortune Favors the Bald t-shirts at team stores for $15.99 with proceeds to the Foundation as well.