"You always aspire to become a bobblehead, but to become a gnome is even beyond expectations," says a deeply honored Rays manager Joe Maddon. "That part of it truly is hard to wrap your mind around."
Indeed it is, Joe.
The first 10,000 fans through the gates at tonight's Rays-Yankees game will receive a "Joe Maddon Gnome," a life-size rendition of Tampa Bay's favorite baseball manager complete with pointed gnome hat and hoodie.
(Editor's note: By "life-size" we mean the size of an actual gnome. The promotional statuettes are not — repeat not — the size of an actual Joe Maddon.)
But if you want to take part in what's sure to be an emotional, deeply heartfelt and creepy tribute, you'll have to give up a pretty significant chunk of your day.
Employees at Tropicana Field box office windows were advising fans buying tickets for tonight's game to show up around 4:30 p.m. That's more than an hour before gates open at 5:40; the game is scheduled to start at 7:10.