Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is known for his themed road trips. In the past, Maddon and his players had Miami Vice, Western attire and even a Johnny Cash themed trip. But this time Maddon thought it would be appropriate to do an NHL theme because the team was headed to Toronto to play the Blue Jays while the Stanley Cup Finals were also going on.
Originally, the Rays players were just going to sport whatever hockey jersey they could find. (I can’t imagine that would be an easy task in Florida.) But luckily Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, a Chicago native, has a nephew who works in the Chicago Blackhawks ticketing department. He was able to pull a few strings and the Blackhawks offered to send jerseys to anyone who wanted one.
The Blackhawks and Rays have more than matching jerseys in common though. Let’s go back to the 2008 World Series, when the Tampa Bay Rays were defeated by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Rays haven’t forgotten the loss and that made wearing Blackhawks jerseys all the more sweet. Because if you didn’t know, the Chicago Blackhawks are battling the Philadelphia Flyers for the Stanley Cup. Maddon is all for anything that’s anti-Philly:
“Nothing like a little pro-Chicago, anti-Philadelphia sentiment. I thought we could share our mutual dislike for Philadelphia sports teams.”
I think the Rays support definitely worked it’s magic Monday night. The Hawks were victorious over the Flyers 2-1 and now lead the series 2-0. So I have this to say to the Chicago Blackhawks: it’s only fair that you guys wear Rays jerseys if you win the Cup. It’s not like the Chicago baseball teams are anything to write home about anyways, so show a little support for a team that’s supporting you.
Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Blackhawks share anti-Philadelphia feelings [USA Today]
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Steve Nesius