Joe Maddon is resourceful in many ways. Loose clubhouse rules, themed dress-up road trips and other laissez-faire approaches have made the Tampa Bay Rays one of the majors; most interesting franchises since he became manager before the 2006 season.
Add a DJ-in-the-clubhouse idea as the latest example of his uncommon, but cool perspective. Things had become a little tense around Tropicana Field. The Rays finished an 11-day road trip 2-7, which dropped them to 5-10 before an 8-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics at home Friday night.
There was a players-only meeting after the early skid. Maddon wanted to loosen the atmosphere, and as players entered the clubhouse Saturday before the second game of a three-game set against Oakland, they saw a DJ playing classic rock and hip-hop beats outside Maddon's office.
"I'm not a manager who is into an extra 100 swings before every game," Maddon told reporters. "I think that could be counterproductive. I want our guys to chill out a little bit, ...