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

Carl Crawford: Young Rays had Party Atmosphere, Red Sox More Conservative

Carl Crawford was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 1999 and played nine seasons for them. He signed a seven-year $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox in the offseason and has struggled with his new club, posting his poorest numbers since his first season in 2002. When he returned to play his former team at Tropicana Field for the first time Tuesday night, he heard plenty of boos and heckles. He also explained a difference between the two organizations when asked to give one.

“It’s all baseball. But it’s a little different,’’ he said. “It’s more a younger team [in Tampa], so it was more like party central all the time. [In Boston] it’s a little more calmer, a little more conservative. That’s probably the biggest difference.’’

The natural reaction is to say that maybe Crawford needs to party a bit more to loosen up so he can perform the way he used to, and that could be the case. But what he said is to be expected for two reasons. First, in a city where the media and fans care about the team as much as they do in Boston, it’s difficult for players to fool around frequently; that attitude wouldn’t sit well in the community. Secondly, like he said, younger players tend to party more than older ones. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard a player say a former team partied too much, and it’s implied that these athletes like the business atmosphere more. For Crawford, it would be interesting to know what suits him more.

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk

Rays Rock Pajamas for Latest Road Trip (Picture)

That Joe Maddon must be quite the character to have come up with the idea of dressing up for road trips.  While it’s nothing new for the Tampa Bay Rays, they still manage to come up with some funny themes for playing dress-up before they hit the road.  To this point, some of our personal favorites have been the funky golf outfits, the hockey jerseys, and of course the infamous BRayser.  Because of the wonder of the onesie, we may have found a new winner.  Check out the Rays pajama picture, courtesy of Mark Topkin’s Tampa Tribune blog:

The fact that the team was able to get its hands on multiple adult onesies is fantastic, but it also exposes the players who went with sweatpants and a t-shirt. You call those pajamas?  I call that something I sit around in and watch football on Sundays, not something I wear to bed.  A onesie, on the other hand, falls under the pajama category.  If the Rays had some sort of onesie source, there’s no excuse for anyone on the team to not be wearing one.

Rays Make Fan Take Off His ‘Yankees Suck’ Shirt

Truth be told, I have kind of forgotten that “Yankees Suck” is a somewhat inappropriate phrase. Seeing “Yankees Suck” written on a t-shirt or hearing 30,000-plus people chant it at a ballgame, parade, or even football game barely even captures my attention. What probably would cause me to do a double take is if I didn’t see half a dozen vendors outside Fenway Park selling “Yankees Suck” apparel and memorabilia. The Tampa Bay Rays, on the other hand, take the phrase a bit more seriously.

According to the Tampa Tribune, via Hardball Talk, a stadium official made a Rays season ticket holder remove his “Yankees Suck” t-shirt last week because they felt it constituted profanity.  I guess the phrase is profane depending on your standards, but really?  The fan, who happened to be a lawyer, objected and asked to talk to a team official but had no success. What’s scary is that this is not the first stadium where a fan was forced to remove a Yankees Suck shirt.

First of all, the shirt isn’t a big deal.  They tried banning them at Fenway once and realized it would be impossible so they have since let it go.  Secondly, this is Tampa Bay we’re talking about.  They don’t exactly have an easy time selling tickets down in St. Pete, so if a fan walked in with a shirt that said “F*** you” on it I’d probably turn my cheek if I worked there.  Do you want to have a G-rated environment or do you want butts in the seats?  Most often in professional sports, you can’t have both.

Rays Support Navy SEAL Team 6 with Shirts on Road Trip to Baltimore

Since Osama bin Laden was killed on Sunday, several baseball teams have taken steps to honor the military. The San Diego Padres wore their camouflage uniforms and gave free tickets to service men and women, the Dodgers offered tickets to the military for the month of May, and the Mets donated 4,000 tickets to military personnel. Those were all awesome actions, but the coolest show of support may have come from the Tampa Bay Rays, no surprise.

The Rays, who have themed road trips thanks to manager Joe Maddon, got specially made shirts that support Navy SEAL Team 6 — the same group that carried out the bin Laden mission. Check em out:

Those were pretty awesome, but I still say nothing compares to their sweet BRayzers plaid blazers. Here are pictures of their other themed road trips and custom made shirts for comparison:

Thanks to JB Long and Dawn Klemish for the pics and NESN for the story