ST. PETERSBURG (CBSMiami/AP) – The Tampa Bay Rays’ manager, in attempt to motivate his team, found his muse in a 20-foot python to which he brought into the team’s clubhouse before Thursday night’s game.

After doing some research and finding out that 2013 happens to be the year of the snake on the Chinese calendar, Joe Maddon, the baseball team’s manager, brought a 20-foot python into the clubhouse to motivate his team’s players before Thursday’s game against the Seattle Mariners.

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“I kind of like that thought,” said Maddon about the year of the snake. “We needed a little bit of motivation within the clubhouse. And then further more you find out that it’s representative of risk taking and creative thinking. I thought it fit in perfectly with what we’re trying to do around here.”

This is not Maddon’s first time bringing in some outside inspiration—a pair of penguins, a magician and even a DJ made an appearance in the clubhouse earlier this season.

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Maddon and closer Fernando Rodney were among those who picked up the snake. Others stayed as far away as possible.

“It was more about the facial, the visual reaction that’s even better than whether they say no,” Maddon said. “Come hold that snake, and you get that look like no way. That was kind of cool.”

Seeing as the Rays beat Seattle Thursday night 7-1, maybe Maddon’s thinking had some merit.

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