Maddon, Rays prepare for a close shave

BY foxsports • March 13, 2012

SARASOTA, Fla. – Those wavy, auburn-tinged locks beneath the cap of Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon will soon be a thing of the past — and joining them will be the coifs of a growing number of players and coaches.

Maddon and Co. will shave their heads at 11:30 a.m. Thursday before a home spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies as a tribute to children battling cancer. Some 25 players and staff have already signed up for the charity haircut, which will take place on the Charlotte Sports Park boardwalk.

The event will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Center and the Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Centers at All Children’s Hospital. In fact, it was Lecavalier, the veteran Tampa Bay Lighting star, who gave Maddon the idea of having the Rays go bald for the cause. Many Lightning players did that last spring, with Lecavalier leading the way.

“He contacted us through my agent, and we talked to the boys upstairs and we just started putting it together and the idea began to grow,” Maddon said Tuesday. “We wanted to make it more than me just sitting down and doing it by myself.”

The Rays are working on plans to have some fan involvement during the event. The public is encouraged to show support for a player or participant by texting "CUT" to 50555 to make a $10 donation or visit to donate online.

Search for the Team Rays link, which provides a list of Tampa Bay players, coaches and staff who will go participate.

“I think there are some (players) who are going to do it but just haven’t written their names down,” Maddon said. “I think we’re going to have a really good turnout; we already have a good turnout. I think it’s going to continue to grow. It’s great getting everybody on board.

“It’s a win-win for everybody — the kids and their families and with us as a group. I like the fact that our guys not only just do it, but understand why they’re doing it — the importance of doing it and what it means. The eventual residual effect is it can be a galvanizing effect with us as a group. It's just wins all over the place.”