Rays rookies, first-year players put on show

BY foxsports • September 27, 2012

It was a cross between a 1980s Jane Fonda jazzercise video and a sequence from Olivia Newton-John’s "Let’s Get Physical" — all gone terribly wrong. But give the rookies and first-year players on the Tampa Bay Rays an “A” for effort as they danced and cavorted in wigs, retro women’s workout suits and pantyhose in front of Fenway Park’s hallowed Green Monster on Wednesday night.

They might never live the moment down — thanks to a cell phone video shot by Rays ace David Price that’s been burning its way through cyberspace.

The Rays had just finished off the Boston Red Sox in a two-game sweep that gave them seven straight wins and kept their playoff hopes alive. So that set a particularly festive tone for the team that never needs a reason to celebrate after a victory (their post-game, clubhouse dance parties have become a Rays tradition this season).

But this took baseball’s long tradition of veterans embarrassing newcomers — often by making them sing in front of the team or perform a silly skit — to a new level.

Ten Rays changed into women’s workout garb after the team’s come-from-behind, 4-2 win over the Red Sox. The unfortunate roll call of young participants: Matt Moore, Stephen Vogt, Brandon Gomes, Chris Archer, Dane De La Rosa, Jose Lobaton, Rich Thompson, Alex Cobb, Desmond Jennings and Jake McGee.

And nobody was laughing harder than star pitcher James Shields, who organized the event and made the call to include not just rookies but players who didn’t yet have a full year of major league experience under their belts — or, in this case, their spandex. Shields obtained the outfits from a shop in St. Petersburg, Fla., near Tropicana Field and even enlisted choreography tips for the troupe from a dancer.

The scene unfolded in the exact spot that esteemed members of the Red Sox All-Time team had been introduced prior to the game. Fortunately for the Rays, Boston fans and players had cleared out of the stadium by the time the surreal show began.

The players didn’t hold back — dancing, jumping and waving to the tune of Carly Rae Jepson's pop hit "Call Me Maybe," all while their older teammates howled with laughter in a performance filmed for posterity by Price.

Now if the Rays can just keep the moves going in a critical four-game road series against the Chicago White Sox, they’ll really have something to smile about.