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More Rays catch Mohawk fever

More Rays catch Mohawk fever

ST. PETERSBURG -- Need proof that the Rays aren't letting Thursday's ugly 11-8 loss linger?

All the talk circulating around Tampa Bay's clubhouse Friday afternoon was the latest -- and greatest -- in the increasingly popular Mohawk trend.

And what a trend it's becoming.

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Started by several Rays -- namely B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria -- the look has caught like wildfire at Tropicana Field over the past few days.

On Friday, Jonny Gomes had a fresh 'Hawk done upon arrival by teammate Grant Balfour, joining Dioner Navarro and Willy Aybar as the latest to jump on board.

On the verge of clinching a playoff spot for the first time, the pressure on the Rays is undeniable.

Pressure to get the Mohawk, of course.

Ace Scott Kazmir -- Saturday's starter -- plans on getting a Mohawk before he takes the hill.

"I got no choice now, everyone's got one," he said.

Added Jason Hammel from a few lockers down: "I'm getting some peer pressure."

Moments later, rookie David Price walked by with the back of his head freshly shaven.

"It's about unity, man," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who has been sporting a "Joe Hawk" of his own since after Monday's game. "I want our group to stay together, support one another, and that's just a better indication of that. And I love it."

The Rays skipper is obviously on board, and several still-to-be-Hawked players sounded as if they had turned a corner on Friday.

Pitcher James Shields -- initially an opponent -- is warming to the idea, and outfielder Rocco Baldelli said he plans on sporting the 'Hawk, although there's a chance his hair won't grow back.

"It's a risk I'm willing to take," he said.

And the Rays players aren't the only ones taking the plunge with the razors.

"I went to the phone store, and this guy had a Mohawk and he said, 'I got this because of you,'" Fernando Perez said. "So yeah, it's catching on."

Unlike many Rays players, Perez and Rays outfielder Eric Hinske said they have sported the look before. Just not quite like this.

"I've always been the guy with the stupid haircut," Perez said. "Now this is the team with the stupid haircut. It's awesome."

It could soon be the organization with "the stupid haircut," as Maddon was joined by the assistant to the pitching coach, Brian Anderson, on Thursday. And if certain fans get their say, third-base coach Tom Foley could be the next victim.

"There was a fan ragging on Foley [Thursday] night who wanted to know where Foley's Mohawk was for about six innings," Maddon said. "Foley finally walked over there and said, 'Listen, if I did I'd look like a skunk.'"

Ah, the price of unity.

"I'm feeling the pressure right now," Carlos Peña said. "I'm actually looking at myself in the mirror and trying to envision it."

Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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