Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 5/14/13
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. A DJ and a magician, a cockatoo and penguins now a Latin band plus plantains. Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays keep surprising. Stop by Tropicana Fields home clubhouse on any given day, and you never know what youll find. The DJ, magician and feathered friends from the animal kingdom appeared during a six-game homestand in late April. Turns out those were just the start. On Tuesday, before the Rays began a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox, a four-member Latin dance band entertained players with merengue music, a genre with roots in the Dominican Republic. In addition, nine groups of three plantains each inspired by closer Fernando Rodney were strung together and hung above a number of Latin players stalls. You dont see it every day, Rodney said, but its nice. Rays manager Joe Maddon devised the idea after Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres on Sunday, a victory that extended the Rays winning streak to a season-high five games. Tampa Bay enjoyed an off day Monday, so Maddon wanted something to spice up the Rays return. At first, he sought a single Dominican trumpet player Nothing can be hotter than a Dominican trumpet player on the right evening, he said but the Rays ended up with four members from the Tampa-based Sol Caribe band. In this case, bigger was better. Aramis Gutierrez, the groups bassist and founder, said he was contacted at about 4 p.m. Monday about the gig. I thought (about) giving equal time to all the members of our clubhouse, Maddon said. It came to mind the other day, after the last game against San Diego. I thought, Lets do something to liven up Tuesday. Great vibe in the clubhouse today with music by Sol Caribe. Let's see if it carries over into tonight's game. twitter.comRaysJoeMaddon Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) May 14, 2013 It worked. Reliever Joel Peralta cut the carpet, dancing with a female member of the band. Outfielder Matt Joyce clapped and bobbed his head to the beats. The nights starter, left-hander Matt Moore, entered the clubhouse shaking his backside. Its just one of those things we do here in Tampa (Bay), Rays left-hander David Price said. You probably dont see it in a whole lot of other places, especially not at a time like right now, not during a season. Weve had this type of thing happen a couple times, so we all enjoy it. It lightens the mood, and we all appreciate it. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
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