Rays raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Rays raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer Foundation

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Stuart Sternberg led the way amid the buzz of electric clippers.

Minutes later, the locks of the Rays principal owner rested on the wooden deck overlooking right field at Charlotte Sports Park.

Rays players, coaches, the manager and team personnel joined the owner by getting their hair buzzed to raise awareness for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the third consecutive year the team has held the event.

"Rituals are important in life and it's only three years into it and it feels like we've been doing it a long time already," Sternberg said. "And the cause is pristine."

Sternberg "went low" the first year of the event and not so low last year.

"I felt last year I cheated it a little bit," Sternberg said. "And I did feel guilty all year. Guilt is a bad thing. And maybe, just maybe that would have made a difference getting to the World Series."

Sternberg returned to a true buzz this year by going with a No. 2 setting. By going all the way he's hoping his team will go all the way this season.

Kidding aside, Sternberg called the day "great" as he beamed about the participation by those in the organization.

"I was walking up and usually I'm one of the first ones to do it," Sternberg said. "And this year a group [already cut their hair]. So it was nice to walk up and see a lot of the front office people and the ballplayers already [shorn]. Everybody's smiling and feeling like it's a part of the Rays' culture. It doesn't feel so outlandish anymore."

Outfielder David DeJesus joined the Rays at the end of the 2013 season, so this was his first time participating in the event.

"It's nice to be a part of a great cause," DeJesus said. "This is a nice thing they have going. I'm happy to go low."

Some of the barbers were assisted by children who are dealing with cancer, which touched manager Joe Maddon.

"You're a dad, you have kids and you're a grandparent, so it really smacks you," said Maddon fashioning his new buzz cut. "Then you get to meet the parents, the grandparents, and then you understand -- these moments impact a lot of people, man. ... All this stuff, we don't think about. You never really take time to think about it. But under these circumstances, it really comes to the forefront. ... Any little thing we can do as an organization to help, we're proud to do so."

While Wil Myers did not participate, the Rays right fielder did select five Rays fans from the stands and paid the $100 donation per person to have their hair cut. Maddon liked the gesture, but noted that next year he'd like to see Myers get into the chair and lose his locks.

Fortune Favors the Bald T-shirts are available in the Charlotte Sports Park team store as well as the Tampa Store. T-shirts can be ordered by phone through the Tampa Store (813-228-7157). All proceeds benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

For more information visit pcfcutforacure.org.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.