© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

08/18/09 7:45 PM ET

Maddon dyes hair to 'lighten things up'

Tampa Bay manager goes from silver to jet black

ST. PETERSBURG -- As the season gets more important and the teams in front of them continue to play better, manager Joe Maddon figured he'd "lighten things up" in the Rays' clubhouse on Tuesday.

So he darkened his hair.

Maddon, known for his silver spiked hair, dyed his mop as black as the frames on his famous glasses before the series opener against the Orioles.

And he's not planning on changing it back until the end of the season.

"I had been wanting to do it," said Maddon, who had his wife, Jaye, dye his hair for him. "I had been wanting to do something different. We have the 'Ring of Fire' road trip coming up, so I was going to wait until Sunday to do it, but I thought, 'Why not, in advance, just to get it out there, loosen things up a bit?'"

The Rays' next road trip, a seven-game swing against the Blue Jays and Tigers that begins on Monday, is themed all black after rock 'n' roll legend Johnny Cash.

Maddon said he'd try to convince those who don't have the shiny black hair he now sports to do it, too.

B.J. Upton said he may change his hair to blonde, just so everybody has something different going.

"The X-ray thing, I like it," Maddon said.

"He looks 10 years younger," said designated hitter Pat Burrell, who was back in the starting lineup after a neck flare-up on Friday.

"I didn't recognize him," added shortstop Jason Bartlett, who was given the day off to rest. "After I saw him, I saw him again in the food room, and I had to double-look. I didn't know who he was. It's different. I heard his wife likes it, so that's all that counts."

Maddon's natural hair color is brown, and he said that started to fade in his 20s before turning full gray in the late 1990s.

The 55-year-old skipper dyed his hair back to its original color while serving as the Angels' bench coach in 2002, and that year the Halos went on to win the World Series.

Whether his latest change at the top leads to that same kind of success remains to be seen.

"I think he's just trying to shake things up -- kind of let guys know to relax, have fun," Bartlett said. "That's Joe's way of doing it. He's not going to just come out and say it."

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