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Rays Tales: It's all about the hoodie

Joe Maddon's favored hoodie sweatshirt was the center of a nationwide controversy last week, first banned by MLB then reinstated. Who'd have thought there'd be such a fuss over something so warm and fuzzy? "Thankfully," Maddon said, "covered heads prevailed."

True love

They say you always remember your first one, and Maddon's first experience came, simple and traditional, during his college days at Lafayette — white block letters and basic maroon.

"That's when I first fell in love with the hoodie," Maddon said. "Once it's got you within its warm cloth and head cover, you can't leave."

It's in the 'hood

The hoodie in question is, coincidentally, printed in Tampa. It's part of the MLB Authentic Collection line by Majestic Athletic, which is part of the VF Corp., which happens to have offices and a printing facility on Linebaugh Avenue.

As for the details: It's 95 percent polyester and 5 percent Spandex; has a drawstring hood and pouch; features Therma Base technology for "comfort, breathability, insulation and stretch"; is navy blue; and is manufactured in China.

Oh, and it sells, online ( and at team and other stores, for $59.99 ($49.99 for youths).

Hoodie history

The hoodie originated in the 1930s, first produced for workers in frozen warehouses in upstate New York, according to the New York Times, then for football players and track athletes "who would lend theirs to their girlfriends, and eventually the hoodie was everyday wear."

There was a dual-pronged surge in popularity in the '70s fueled by the Rocky movies and the growing hip-hop culture. Eventually the hoodie was covering the skateboarding, goth and high-fashion scenes.

Hoodie Nation

Maddon joins a list of other famous, and infamous, hoodie wearers. There was Rocky, with the classic gray. Run-DMC and LL Cool J were among the first of many in the music and entertainment world. There's also the Unabomber. And, of course, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, even with the cutoff sleeves.

"The way I look at it," said Rays reliever and Patriots fan Dan Wheeler, "all great coaches wear hoodies."

Peeking ahead

Maddon is more than willing if asked to serve as a spokesman for the hoodie industry: "When it comes to hoodies, I'll go to great lengths to show my support and love."

Majestic VP Michael Johnson said, having collaborated with Maddon on the 9=8 T-shirt ("our only managerially influenced T-shirt"), they'd have interest: "We'd like to invite him in to discuss product."

Who knows? Maybe there could be a Maddon line of hoodies coming. "I have ideas," Maddon said.

Here's ours: A new stand at the Trop, Maddon's wine bar and hoodie shop.

Trop staff to-do item of the week

Kansas City's Zack Greinke, the Orlando native and '09 Cy Young winner, is lined up to face the Rays on May 2. Here's what he said last year about pitching at the Trop (where he is 0-3, 5.55):

"Their PR department promotes the game like it's a club and not a baseball game. It almost doesn't feel like you're playing baseball when you're playing here. They do stupid music stuff. They have dancers everywhere, they have a DJ. They just do a bunch of stupid stuff that isn't baseball."

Rays rumblings

Are the TV folks keeping Brian Anderson busy on pregame shows to keep him around to replace Kevin Kennedy next season? … As Kennedy took action subduing a threatening passenger on a Delta flight last week, you do have to ask, Did he square him up? … The Phillies radio guys were ripping a bit on Joe Maddon and his hometown of Hazleton, Pa., (and even talking about his mom, Beanie) after the hoodie controversy. "Seriously, just put on a jacket like everybody else or wear your uniform top," Larry Andersen said. "Got to be different." … Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says with their quick start, "the Rays figure to be a player for a big bullpen arm — the Padres' Heath Bell would be the obvious choice." … On the stadium quest, ESPN's Jayson Stark writes: "We'd bet a grouper sandwich the Rays will ditch St. Petersburg and wind up in Tampa one of these decades."

Got a minute? Sean Rodriguez

Best meal you can make? I can make a real good scrambled egg.

Karaoke song if you had to? It would be a Spanish song so if I messed up nobody would really know.

Late-night TV? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, on Nick at Nite.

Time-killer at the mall? Movies. Big movie guy. Avatar was pretty darn good, and 2012 was good, too.

With your wife Giselle's permission, dream date? She'd tell you, too: Jessica Biel.

Rays Tales: It's all about the hoodie 04/24/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 1:54pm]
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