Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays to end shenanigans aimed at producing looseness

SEATTLE — There aren't going to be any more bands in the Rays clubhouse this season.

No additional team excursions. No more animals running or slithering around their feet and, much to their dismay after Jeremy Hellickson suggested it, no monkey shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice.

After declaring Thursday night that his players were too tight and trying too hard, Rays manager Joe Maddon said Friday that he would not use any more novelty acts or gimmicks to get them to relax and loosen up.

"We've been kind of enacting those things," he said. "There's nothing left. The bag is empty."

Instead, he hopes they do it the old-fashioned way.

"It's just going to take a couple of good offensive nights," Maddon said. "Once you get that conga line moving with some line drives all over the place I think you'll see everybody pretty much re-hit their stride, no pun intended, at that point.

"I think it's going to take that. I don't think there is much else we can do to create a more relaxed atmosphere to just go play. I don't know what else we can do. It's definitely a bunch of guys that care a lot. And they're playing well; we're just not hitting well with runners on base. We're doing a great job of getting runners on base. So more than anything just loosen up and go hit. That's it. I still prefer at this time of the year less scouting, less video … less everything. Just go play."

There is definitely a cause-and-effect issue to Maddon's observation.

Third baseman Evan Longoria said he wasn't sure what "trying too hard" really meant and "I'd rather be trying hard than not trying at all."

Outfielder Sam Fuld said he thinks playing well can trump all the other variables.

For example, Fuld said the Rays couldn't have been looser than Aug. 30 in Oakland when closer Fernando Rodney got locked in the dugout bathroom during the game — "That was like we won 30 in a row," Fuld said — but they still got swept.

"I think you always kind of try and figure out the chicken and the egg," he said. "Like do you become loose when you play well, or does being loose make you play well? It's both. But I think if we went off and we happened to score a bunch of runs the next couple days we're going to be really loose. It's hard to determine which is more influential."

Maddon said his preference is the players are similarly relaxed every day no matter what the situation, and he tries to present it that way from his office.

"You just show up every day and from my perspective, this desk and this season, you've got to be consistent," he said. "And hopefully they will rally around that."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.

Late result

Friday's Rays-Mariners game was not over at press time. Visit tampa

bay.com/rays for the result.

Rays to end shenanigans aimed at producing looseness 09/06/13 [Last modified: Saturday, September 7, 2013 12:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. Scotty Bowman says 'it's about time' Andreychuk got HOF call

    Blogs

    For Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, Dave Andreychuk finally being part of a Hall of Fame class is especially gratifying.

    Scotty Bowman drafted Dave Andreychuk in the first round (16th overall) in 1982 and coached him the first five seasons of his career.
  4. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)

    Blogs

    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk battles Calgary's Andrew Ference during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
  5. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to …

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.