Found above the door to the clubhouse Friday afternoon was a sign containing the Rays mantra for 2010:
"What's important now?"
What's important now?
"What's important now? Staying in the present moment," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's a kind of a phrase I want to use with the guys a little bit this year."
The slogan replaces '09 > '08, which the Rays used last year in hopes of making the 2009 season better than the 2008 season when they won the American League East and the American League championship using "9 = 8" as their rallying cry.
Ken Ravizza, the sports psychologist who has worked with Maddon and the Rays for the past two seasons, came up with this year's slogan.
"I like to have conversations with people, and Kenny's my main guy because he stays very contemporary and current," Maddon said. "Thus, win. What's important now?"
Last year, Ravizza preached to the Rays about controlling the controlables. This year, it's about staying in the present.
"And having a higher state of awareness," Maddon said.
Maddon isn't sure if he will have T-shirts printed with the slogan on the back. He did with the first two. In fact, after the Rays clinched their first playoff berth with a win against the Twins in September of 2008, the players received "8 = 9" caps in the clubhouse.
"That hasn't been discussed or decided," Maddon said about the shirts. "I wanted to get the sign up there first, see how it takes off and work it from there."