Rays giving away creepy Don Zimmer bear this June (Picture)

Is this the most frightening giveaway sports has ever seen? What ever happened to the traditional bobbblehead? Is that too boring now? According to Rays Index, the Rays will be giving away this creepy Don Zimmer bear on June 29. They are giving away Joe Maddon, Flash Jennings, and Matt Moore bobbleheads at other points throughout the season, so maybe the Rays marketing department didn’t want to overdo it.

They should have overdone it. What are people supposed to do with these things? I can’t imagine a parent in America that would give this to their child. I certainly wouldn’t want my kid looking at this thing before he or she went to bed at night. If they’re looking for creativity, the Rays should take some pointers from the Memphis Grizzlies. They had the funniest giveaway of the year on Valentine’s Day.

H/T Big League Stew

Rays Fan Shares Updates of Red Sox-Orioles Score on White Board at the Trop

The Rays are not in the business of scoreboard watching as the season winds down. The fans are suffering as a result, and they’ve resorted to writing the score on a dry erase white board to help spread the word as Jimmy Traina pointed out:

That sign was held up in the 7th inning of the Rays-Yankees game after Baltimore went up on Boston following Robert Andino’s 3-run inside-the-park home run. The sign produced a lot of cheers among the nearby fans:

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Rays Wear Letterman Sweaters on Road Trip (Picture)

The Tampa Bay Rays aren’t the hottest team in baseball, but they’ve taken six of their last seven with the Red Sox and are now just two games back in the wild card race. They only have nine games left to make up the ground and they traveled to New York for their final road trip of the season. You know manager Joe Maddon wouldn’t miss a chance to keep with the team’s tradition of dressing up for road trips. For this one, they went with Letterman sweaters:

The Rays went with derby hats as they road the train for their last themed road trip and they’ve performed well since then. It seems like the themed trips along with Maddon’s unconventional ways help keep the team loose down the stretch. They’re playing pressure-free while the Red Sox might be worried about blowing things. The mental advantage goes to Tampa Bay in that regard.

Here are all the themed road trips the Rays have had:

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Joe Maddon Wants Rays to Practice Less, Arrive Later as Part of New Approach

Rays manager Joe Maddon has always been an outside-the-box thinker. He’s not confined by typical baseball conventions, and that mindset has helped the Rays do well under his watch. Now we’re seeing Maddon do the opposite of what most teams preach; he’s encouraging his players to arrive at the park later and practice less. Maddon is hoping the new concept will help keep his players fresher later in the season. The logic makes sense.

“We’ve done better on the road than at home this year. Part of that is we go to the ballpark later on the road than we do at home,” Maddon reasoned. “When you’re on the road you normally don’t do as much work and guys show up a little bit later. That’s part of it.

“I want guys to show up later,” Maddon explained before Saturday’s game. “I don’t want them to sit around all day getting lazy. I think sometimes it’s such a misconception the whole ‘first one at the ballpark.’ That means he drinks the most coffee, eats the most snacks, watches the most TV — that’s what that name means most of the time. So that’s always been a misconception in baseball.

“So I want them to come later, have a life, go out take their wives or girlfriends out to lunch, mess with the kids and then come here at a decent hour and play baseball. That’s part of it.

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Tampa Bay Rays Wear 1950s Style Hats for Train Road Trip

The Tampa Bay Rays have developed a reputation for their clothing themed road trips. Manager Joe Maddon decided to have players wear 1950s style hats on a trip from New York to Boston Sunday. The reason? They were taking their first train trip in franchise history. Maddon felt like a tribute to the old days when teams traveled mostly by train would be in order.

Pictured above is B.J. Upton who seemed to enjoy dressing up with a classic look. To see many of their other clothing items or funky road trip themes, check out the list below:

Sean Rodriguez Pop-Up Shatters Light Bulb at Tropicana Field (Video)

Anyone who has watched baseball since 1998 will tell you Tropicana Field is an awful venue.  When umpires have to go over ground rules before a game that involve baseballs hitting a catwalk, something is terribly wrong.  Fly balls have hit the catwalk in Tampa on numerous occasions and umpires have had to make decisions about many a mysterious play.  At least last night’s bizarre Tropicana Field moment happened in what appeared to be foul territory.  Check out the video of Sean Rodriguez’s pop-up shattering a light at Tropicana field:

Clearly Jerry Jones learned nothing from the failed design of this horrendous dome.  The grounds crew had to stop the game for about five minutes to pick up the broken pieces of glass down the third base line.  I think it’s safe to say at least 50% of the architecture meetings for the designing of the Trop included the words, “Eh, a ball isn’t gonna go that high.”

Tampa Bay Lightning Players Take Batting Practice with Rays (Video)

The Tampa Bay Rays and extremely friendly to fellow members of the sports community. During spring training, manager Joe Maddon let Buccaneers football coach Raheem Morris manage a game. On Thursday, he let some Tampa Bay Lightning players take batting practice with the team. While nobody embarrassed themselves like Larry Fitzgerald, they also didn’t exactly show the power of Tim Tebow.

Check out this video of Teddy Purcell, Steven Stamkos, and goalie Mike Smith taking BP at the Trop:

Stamkos’ swing wasn’t that bad, so it’s no surprise to learn he played ball growing up. The video didn’t show it, but Smith bombed one out on his last shot and took a jog around the bases. The shock is that Smith hit a home run despite never playing baseball (he had only played softball).

Video courtesy of The St. Petersburg Times