Merengue band in Rays’ locker room

Blair Johnson
Yahoo! Sports Minute Blog
Merengue band in Rays’ locker room
Merengue band in Rays’ locker room

How do the Tampa Bay Rays manage to compete year after year with the big-budget beasts of the American League East? Two words: Joe Maddon. The club's skipper consistently finds innovative ways to keep the small-market franchise loose -- from bringing a penguin into the clubhouse earlier this season to conducting themed dress-up road trips. The manager's latest move? Bringing a live Dominican merengue band into the locker room before Tuesday night's game with the Boston Red Sox.

Tampa's own Sol Caribe, a four-piece group, provided the pregame entertainment. Reliever Joel Peralta danced with a female singer while outfielder Matt Joyce looked on in the background with approval. And there was more fun too. Closer Fernando Rodney -- who introduced us to the "magic plantain" during the World Baseball Classic in March -- organized bunches of the banana-like fruit to hang above several of his teammates' stalls.

[Fantasy Baseball 2013: There's still time to join a league today!]

Meanwhile in the NBA playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs went up 3-2 on the Golden State Warriors in their Western Conference Semifinal series after a 109-91 victory. And the Indiana Pacers are up 3-1 in the Eastern Semis following a 93-82 win over the New York Knicks.

Evgeni Malkin has earned a point in all seven Stanley Cup playoff games the Pittsburgh Penguins have played so far this postseason. The reigning Hart Trophy winner had a goal and an assist in the Pens' 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Semifinals. And the reigning champs took care of their in-state rival out west as the Los Angeles Kings shut out the San Jose Sharks 2-0 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semis.

H/T: Yardbarker

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