Big League Stew - MLB

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon already endorses One-A-Day vitamins. Might he have his eyes set on making a commercial with a national haircut chain after the 2011 season?

Maddon told the media over the weekend that he plans to grow his hair out as long as he can this year, and is encouraging his players to do the same.

From the St. Pete Times (via RaysIndex):

"I encourage the growth of follicles on our club," said Maddon. "I think guys should grow hair wherever they're able. I'm not planning to cut mine in 2011."

The Rays' manager is known for his offbeat team-building exercises. Remember the Rayhawks of 2008? Or last season's plaid BRaysers? This year, Maddon wants his team hirsute. Kind of like he was, back in the 1970s.

Perhaps Maddon envisions sort of the anti-Yankees, who made former longhairs Johnny Damon(notes) and Nick Swisher(notes) clean up when they wore the pinstripes. The long hair and beard look worked for the 2004 Red Sox, after all.

But as fun and quirky as this might seem, Maddon might really be yielding to a trend already going on in his clubhouse. As Marc Topkin points out, Manny Ramirez(notes) has brought his dreadlocks to Tampa Bay. Bench coach Dave Martinez has grown a magnificent beard. And Evan Longoria(notes) began nursing a mullet-like growth from the back of his head midway through last season. Just like his pal, Troy Tulowitzki(notes).

However, Damon seems to have missed the memo, opting instead for the fauxhawk he adopted with the Detroit Tigers last year. He may feel like he's been there and done that with the Captain Caveman look. But maybe Damon prefers to keep it cut close while he's preparing for the regular season, letting himself grow into a new look as the calendar progresses from spring to fall.

Or maybe this is all another indication that spring training is far too long.

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