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'American Legion Week' debuts in Rays' clubhouse

'American Legion Week' debuts in Rays' clubhouse

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'American Legion Week' debuts in Rays' clubhouse

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have started to expect the unexpected in their clubhouse this season, as a python, penguins and a magician, among other things, have shown up unannounced.

Tuesday's addition was not living but came in the form of an American Legion banner hung from the ceiling in honor of what Joe Maddon has dubbed "American Legion Week" at Tropicana Field.

After traveling to Kansas City to play a makeup game in the midst of a six-game homestand, Maddon will not have his team take batting practice on the field for the remainder of the series. The move is meant to take the Rays back to their American Legion League days, when there was little time to do much other than show up and play.

As the season nears its end and the Rays have just one more off-day, Maddon is also allowing his players more time to get to the ballpark, as Tampa Bay's clubhouse opened to the media 35 minutes later than usual.

"I think with not too many off-days coming up, it's going to be nice to have a couple days where we come in late," pitcher Chris Archer said. "It will be nice to relax."

Outfielder Matt Joyce and first baseman James Loney arrived Tuesday in shorts and T-shirts with just over two hours until first pitch.

"I absolutely love it," Maddon said. "That's exactly the spirit of American Legion week."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who served as manager while Maddon was his bench coach in Anaheim, saw no issue with it.

"We used to call it [an American Legion night] if we had a long night before," Scioscia said. "He just turned it into a week. Just get loose and play. It makes sense. We're always trying to monitor it, but he's letting his guys catch their wind, mentally, and it's a good idea."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Sam Strong 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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