CLEARWATER — Things are about to get hairy with the Rays.
As he does in staging a long-drive contest before practice, and inviting Bucs coach Raheem Morris to manage for a day, and plotting a skinny jeans road trip, manager Joe Maddon is growing another plan to keep things loose — and a bit long — around the clubhouse.
"I want us to be the hirsute club this year," Maddon said.
The Rays already have the player with the most unique hair in baseball, the dreadlocked Manny Ramirez. Bench coach Dave Martinez has the most memorable beard. Evan Longoria has his bushy mullet. Johnny Damon is rocking the fauxhawk.
And Maddon plans to grow his white hair long on top, or at least as long, at 57, as he can.
"I encourage the growth of follicles," Maddon said. "I want them all to go nuts with their hair this year."
This wasn't particularly well planned out, Maddon said, and not — at least by design — a Samson vs. Goliath thing. More of a gut feeling that just struck him around the start of camp — about the time he saw Martinez's flowing beard.
"Sometimes I just go with my instincts, and I just think it could turn into a lot of fun for the group," Maddon said. "So whatever keeps you focused on the field, and having fun off of it, I'm all for."
And that, more so than taking extra ground balls or throwing more curveballs, is his point.
"If we're going to go anywhere, we've gots to play hard every day and have a good time while we're doing it," Maddon said. "Otherwise, we cannot play in October."
TB DOES TB: In another sign the Rays are gaining national prominence, they are one of eight teams featured in Tommy Bahama's new collector's edition line. The shirt, which sells for $250, will be unveiled at a March 31 event (5-8 p.m.) at the International Plaza store. … And for the other closet, Victoria's Secret is now offering a Rays v-neck women's T-shirt as part of its Pink line, for $26.50.
C.C.'S VIEW: For what it's worth, Carl Crawford said he expects the Rays to remain competitive: "They're definitely going to be in it, they're going to play us hard, it's not going to be easy to beat those guys."
RAYS RUMBLINGS: Pitcher/author Dirk Hayhurst is soliciting title suggestions for his second book via his Twitter account, @thegarfoose; Cup of Coffee, Out of My League and Behind in the Count are among the good ones. … Sports psychologist/performance consultant Ken Ravizza, who worked with the Rays the past two seasons and extensively with Longoria during his college days, has been hired by the Angels. … Maddon's wife, Jaye Sousoures, recently took the Florida Bar exam. … Rays limited partner Randy Frankel was at Friday's game but wouldn't comment on reports that he's part of a group seeking to buy the Mets. … Look for the opening-day starter (cough, David Price) to be named Tuesday. … Longoria is hosting the release party for buddy Daniel B. Marshall's new CD on March 26 at Jackson's in Tampa. … Julianna Zobrist, wife of Ben, will be finishing her second CD in the next couple of weeks. … Additional acts for the summer concert series are expected this week. … Jonah Keri's The Extra 2% ranked 138th among all book sales on Amazon.com as of Saturday and third among sports books.