Rays manager Joe Maddon has been building all spring toward revealing his motivational catchphrase for the season, and Saturday he shared:
It's a bit of a visual, in that it needs punctuation to show it's a long 'O,' and maybe the 'R' from the Rays logo or even the sunburst.
But Maddon's meaning is clear: They need all the momentum they can gather.
"The whole point is to build moRmentum as we go into the season,'' he said. "You want to gain moRmentum. We've been talking about it from the end of last season, the offseason, spring training, I want moRmentum by the end of this camp. You can always use moRmentum. … So for me, the biggest thing we need to be bearing down on is moRmentum.''
The Rays have made a good start to the season a priority. Injuries and scheduling have kept them from getting their team on the field together thus far, but Maddon plans to have them playing together for about 10 days during the final weeks of spring.
And Maddon plans to talk a lot about building momentum. Or, moRmentum.
KARMA COMMANDER: With all the freak incidents and minor injuries the Rays have had this spring, J.P. Howell, the left-hander who (of course) serves as the clubhouse karma commander, figures they are due for some better luck.
"It's been swinging toward the negative side, so it's gonna turn, because it always has to level off,'' Howell theorized. "We're paying our dues early, making us think about it, so we appreciate what we actually have here. So we should have some good karma coming.''
And if it doesn't happen? "I don't know,'' he said. "Maybe we need to drink some different water, bottled water, or something.''
RAYS RUMBLINGS: After her impressive run on American Idol, wouldn't Shannon Magrane, daughter of former Rays TV analyst Joe, be the obvious choice to sing the national anthem at the April 6 opener? … At 18-1, the Rays are the eighth choice to win the World Series per the Bovada online betting site, behind the Phillies (11-2), Yankees (13-2), Angels (7-1), Tigers (8-1), Rangers (10-1), Red Sox (10-1) and Giants (15-1). More interesting is the over-under wins total of only 86½. The Yanks and Phillies are at 93½. … CF B.J. Upton filled out an NCAA bracket for mlb.com and picked North Carolina to win it all. … Per Baseball America, the Rays spent $1.79 million on international amateur free agents, 20th most. … Free agent Johnny Damon is still looking for a new team, telling MLB Network Radio he is holding off on signing for a backup role in case a better opportunity opens. Also that after hitting .261 for the Rays in '11, he had a better year stat-wise "than more than half the players out there." … Tough stretch for the Charlotte Sports Park staff, hosting Phillies, Red Sox and Yankees fans in consecutive home games.