Then there was the time he saw the magician. And the merengue band. Oh, and the live penguins, too. At times during Wright's first two months as a pitcher for the Rays, his newest clubhouse looked like Barnum and Bailey or Siegfried and Roy had taken it over.
"Little things like that, I've never seen in a clubhouse," said Wright, an 18-year major league veteran who arrived in
earlier this year. Tampa Bay
Welcome to Joe Maddon's madhouse. Or, perhaps more appropriately, welcome to a baseball player's paradise.
As eccentric as Maddon's free-spirited, fun-loving approach to managing players and personalities may appear to be, it is the primary reason why Tampa Bay boasts the type of environment many big leaguers are desperate to see first-hand.
The approach also is the bedrock of a cash-strapped franchise that in recent seasons has bucked expectations and made winning its surprising calling card.