Last week, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team brought a special guest to the clubhouse and pregame media session:

Mindy, a 22-year-old Umbrella Cockatoo

Joe Maddon looked very comfortable with the bird perched on his arm and left shoulder.

“Just another little diversion,” Maddon said. “I’ve always loved birds. I’ve always wanted one of these.”

Here’s something else cool about the Rays… They have a “Touch Tank” at their ballpark where people (up to 50 at a time) have the opportunity to enjoy seeing and feeding the rays while attending the game.

Presented by the Florida Aquarium, it is the first of its kind at a professional sports venue. Visitors can learn about these interesting animals and perhaps be inspired to check out more exotic and interesting fish.

The 35-foot, 10,000 gallon tank is located just beyond the right-center field fence at Tropicana Field. The Rays Touch Tank experience is free to all fans attending home games.

Per Rays President Matt Silverman, “It not only gives our fans, particularly families, an experience unlike any other at a Major League ballpark, but also creates awareness for the Florida Aquarium, a Tampa Bay landmark and non-profit institution that provides cultural enrichment and education to our community.”

We love that Maddon has embraced birds & exotics. We also think it is awesome that the Rays are giving fans the opportunity to reach out and touch their namesake. Very cool!