ST. PETERSBURG -- In what has become a team custom, the Rays will adopt a theme for their upcoming road trip, which they have done for different trips during Joe Maddon's tenure as manager.
The club is traveling to Toronto, so it made perfect sense for the Rays to don hockey jerseys. Over the past couple of days, players have been working to procure jerseys from their favorite hockey teams to wear on the trip.
When talking about the trip on Tuesday, Maddon noted that he was a St. Louis Blues fans, but he added that he liked the Chicago Blackhawks because -- while politically incorrect -- he liked their logo. This led to Wednesday's development.
Upon hearing of Tampa Bay's plan for the upcoming road trip, the Blackhawks graciously offered to outfit any Rays player needing a hockey jersey in a Blackhawks jersey. Maddon beamed at the news.
"How about that," Maddon said. "I walk in today and all of a sudden, the Blackhawks get in touch with us. I'm going to have John Madden's jersey, hopefully. I'm rooting for that now, No. 11 with an 'e.'"
Maddon maintained his smile when asked what he would say to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who might take the Rays' acceptance of the Blackhawks' gesture as a slap in the face and answered: "They're not in the Stanley Cup Finals this year and they didn't offer."
But if they did send a jersey his way ...
"I'll take it," Maddon said.