1. Rays

Rays' Joe Maddon welcomes Longoria's input

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Published Feb. 23, 2014

Evan Longoria said something last week, his mention of "fewer snakes" in voicing his preference for less clubhouse distractions a seemingly clear reference to manager Joe Maddon's methods of lightening the mood by bringing in animals and entertainers

And Maddon said he had no problem with it, welcoming the input from the team's unofficial captain, but not necessarily planning to change his ways.

"I'm sure we'll talk about it, but not everything we do every time is readily embraced," Maddon said. "So you have to understand your entire audience you're trying to make an impact on.

"I only did it because I thought it was necessary at the time. I would prefer not having to do any of that stuff and just making it roll, but if you can remember last year, I thought there wasn't enough 'crazy,' and we needed a little more 'crazy.' That's why we did it.

"I respect his opinion, but as manager of the team it's about motivating everybody, not just one person."

But Maddon, who talks often about open communication and individual freedom, said he was glad his star third baseman spoke up.

"Here's the beauty of it: I just love the fact that he says what he thinks," Maddon said. "That plays into everything else we talk about. And I love that."

Asked about Longoria in regards to the first year of his $100 million extension, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said "he's everything as advertised … is embracing his leadership quality" and "is a face of this organization."

UNION MEN: Sternberg several times has passed along that he hears from MLB officials and other owners about their concern over the team's lagging attendance.

The players union, new executive director Tony Clark said, is watching closely as well.

"In a situation where you have a club doing a lot of the right things and finds themselves in a challenging spot in trying to get people through the turnstiles, you start to think aloud, you start to wonder, okay, what considerations can be made," Clark said, without offering specifics.

"It's one of those situations we're keeping an eye on, we will continue to keep an eye on, and are hopeful that as we move forward whatever considerations can be made to support what they're doing and how they're doing it, and put everybody in a better position as a result of those things, happen."

RAYS RUMBLINGS: RHP Jake Odorizzi, at No. 67, was the only Ray among Baseball America's Top 100 prospects. … Worth a hmmm: The Mariners are reportedly still looking to trade one of their intriguing young infielders — Brad Miller or Nick Franklin — who were rumored to be under consideration in potential David Price trade talks. … Sternberg said sales of the ticket flex packs, offered in an effort to get fans to attend additional games, have "really been great." … No word yet on when Sternberg will meet again with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, or if there will be advance word. … Former Ray Eduardo Perez, who left the Astros coaching staff, has rejoined ESPN as a studio analyst. … Longoria, who had been with Nike, has officially signed on to wear New Balance gear. … Congrats to longtime big-leaguer Bob Tewksbury, whose No. 27 is being retired by Saint Leo College on Tuesday.