The Tampa Bay Rays needed something -- anything -- to end a recent skid. Since getting off to a 3-2 start to the season, Joe Maddon's club lost eight of its next 10 games.
And Maddon, being the unconventional manager that he is, knew exactly what to do.
Before Tampa Bay's weekend series with the surging Oakland A's, Maddon planned a few locker room surprises for his team.
On Saturday, Maddon brought in a DJ to play in the team's clubhouse in an effort to keep his guys loose.
"Whatever it takes these guys to relax and permit their natural abilities to come out, I will happily do," Maddon said. "I want to see 25 cowboys out there. I just want to see 25 guys out there never worried about making a mistake, period. Never worried about making a mistake. I still think guys that are getting used to being here don't quite believe that yet, because I'm sure they have not heard that refrain in the past."
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 20, 2013
Sure enough Maddon's motivation worked, and the Rays topped the A's, 1-0.
Then, on Sunday, Maddon hired some more clubhouse entertainment. This time it was a magician.
Less than an hour before first pitch, a magician has captive audience in Rays clubhouse. Nearly entire team watching. twitter.com/RaysBaseball/s…
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 21, 2013
Once again, Maddon's efforts paid off, as Tampa crushed Oakland, 8-1.
On Tuesday, for the Rays' big game against the New York Yankees, Maddon went a step further, bringing an umbrella cockatoo named Mindy into the clubhouse.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 23, 2013
Unfortunately for Rays fans Tampa Bay's luck ran out on Tursday, as the Rays fell to the Yankees, 4-3.