ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The talk excited Jesse Crain, and when a trade to the Tampa Bay Rays occurred, he was prepared to live the other side. Since 2004, he had observed the Rays' culture as a member of the Minnesota Twins (seven seasons) and Chicago White Sox (three). He had some idea what to expect.
He had formed perceptions over time: That Tampa Bay's clubhouse was fun, it was loose, that players there could be both committed and carefree.
"They find ways to win," Crain said. "Obviously, they have the best pitching in the league all the way through. They pick up guys who are doing really well and might struggle for a year or two and the next thing you know, they're awesome."
Crain, most recently a White Sox reliever, was traded to the Rays on Monday. He stood near his stall Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field, before Tampa Bay's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, as a member of his new team in his new home stadium for the first time....