Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon brought a 20-foot python into the team’s clubhouse before a game against the Seattle Mariners in what he said was an attempt to motivate the team.
Maddon said he had been researching and found out that 2013 is the year of the snake on the Chinese calendar, so figured a 20-foot python would be a perfect addition to the team’s pre-game ritual.
Players met the sight of the massive snake with a combination of shock and fascination. Several of them snapped pictures with the giant snake draped over the necks, and the team posted the shots on its official Twitter account.
Maddon may be looking for the little push the team needs to snag a playoff spot in a competitive American League East. The Rays stand 2 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox, and also hold one of the two wild card spots.
But Tampa has only won four out of its last six games, failing to capitalize off a slump by the Red Sox.
Last week the team tried a little trickery to gain an edge. In a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Rays successfully pulled off the old hidden-ball trick, catching Juan Uribe in a momentary lapse on third base.
The python gambit was likely in a similar vein. Teams will traditionally look for ways to keep loose in the clubhouse down the stretch, which can mean playing cards or pranking teammates, or, in Maddon’s case, bringing in a 20-foot python named Asia.
The visit from the 20-foot python seems to have worked for the Tampa Bay Rays. After the encounter with the giant snake, the team went on to beat the Mariners 7-1.