The Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse keeps churning out surprises this homestand. Already, there were tunes and tricks. Now, add an exotic bird into the mix.
First, a DJ rocked beats. Then a musician put on a show. Tuesday, manager Joe Maddon welcomed an umbrella cockatoo.
Yes, the manager has been eccentric in finding ways to keep the Rays loose during a six-game homestand that began last Friday. A DJ spun hits outside Maddon’s office last Saturday, and the musician appeared Sunday. Then on Tuesday, before the Rays’ game against the New York Yankees, a white-feathered cockatoo was paraded before players and media.
“The DJ threw me off guard totally,” Rays right-hander Alex Cobb said. “I didn’t even know it was his idea. Then the magician came in the other day. I was thinking that the other day when the magician was here — I didn’t know what other things he would have in store the rest of the homestand, let alone the whole season. It will be interesting to see.”
The cockatoo, a type of parrot, was on loan from its home at Sunken Gardens, a four-acre botanical park in St. Petersburg, Fla. The 22-year-old bird, named Mindy, could live 80 to 90 years. Its “mother” and owner, P.J. Murray, a St. Petersburg resident, was present to watch the bird make its major-league debut.
“I donated her (to Sunken Gardens), but I see her all the time,” Murray said. “I have the best of both worlds.”
Why not? Before Tuesday, with help from their guests, the Rays had won four consecutive games at home. Just another day at Tropicana Field.
“You get so wrapped up in playing baseball when you show up to the field every day that anything you can do to take your mind off the game and all the failure that surrounds the game, it’s definitely a welcomed change of the mindset,” Rays outfielder Matt Joyce said.