ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — This series is about showing and going. Late arrival. No batting practice. Like the good ol’ days.
On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Rays began their “American Legion Week” at Tropicana Field. The rules for a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels will be a bit more lax: Players can arrive later (the clubhouse opened 35 minutes after the usual time), no batting practice will take place and a large banner provided by the Tampa-based Town & Country Memorial Post No. 152 will hang in the clubhouse as a reminder of simpler years.
“I just saw (outfielder) Matty Joyce and (first baseman) James Loney walking in,” Maddon said less than three hours to first pitch. “I absolutely love it. That’s exactly the spirit of American Legion Week.”
The Rays have held such a week before. Last year, a banner from Post 238 in Safety Harbor, Fla., hung in the Rays clubhouse, and Maddon treated Post members to beers, sausages and pickled eggs after a game one day.
“I think with not too many off days coming up, it’s going to be nice to have a couple days where we come in late,” Rays right-hander Chris Archer said. “Pretty much show and go, making sure that the pitchers get their work in-between. But it will be nice to have a couple days where we just relax.”
Said infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez: “You get to stay home a little more, sleep in longer. Guys who have families, they get to hang out with them. Guys are able to get more rest. That’s always something that’s appreciated, especially at this point in the season.”
Welcome to American Legion Week. No BP this series. I want to get the guys off their feet. Show up & go just like we did in Legion ball.