ARLINGTON -- Despite the fact his team was down 0-2 in the American League Division Series, manager Joe Maddon did not have a team meeting on Friday afternoon, when the Rays worked out at Rangers Ballpark.
"I'm OK with the players gathering," Maddon said. "I've sat as a coach and a player in the corner during so many meetings by managers. I've honestly never seen one that truly mattered. If there's an impact, it's like two or three days down the road. It's normally not that day.
"And furthermore, always choose your meetings based on your starting pitcher that day. If you want to look good and make that meeting mean something, chose the right starting pitcher."
Instead of having a team meeting, Maddon usually walks around during batting practice, or in Friday's case, the workout, to have conversations with groups of players or individuals. Usually, the subject of those discussions has nothing to do with baseball. On Friday, Maddon solicited opinions from players about which car they would rather have if they had a choice between a Jeep Wrangler and a Grand Cherokee.
Maddon is considering buying a new vehicle once the season is over.
"There's nothing really substantial you can take that's going to make a huge difference right now after this many games," Maddon said. "They just need to feel the support that you have as a manager and a coaching staff. They need to know how much you care about them. And that's what we're trying to exhibit with them right now."
Shorter regular season for seven-game series?
ARLINGTON -- Count manager Joe Maddon among those who have thought about possibly expanding the best-of-five Division Series to seven games, which is the format for the Championship Series and the World Series.
"Why not shorten [the regular season] up and play best-of-seven?," said Maddon, whose Rays are one game from elimination under the best-of-five format. "Then again, if you win the best of five, you're happy. Honestly, I have thought that. That first series being best of five puts a premium on things. Things have to turn out your way quickly or it becomes very difficult."
Maddon doesn't believe Major League Baseball will shorten the regular season in order to facilitate an expanded Division Series.
"It's probably as good as it's going to be the way it's set up right now," Maddon said.
Maddon has thought about what might happen if regular-season doubleheaders were scheduled to shorten the season while playing the same number of games.
"If you were to do that on the day that you're going to have a doubleheader, expand your roster for that day," Maddon said. "For that one day, have 27 players."
To Maddon's way of thinking, by expanding the roster for days when the doubleheaders were scheduled, a team could bring up a couple of extra pitchers and not put the pitching staff in a bind.
"Again, I am open to all of these things," Maddon said. "There is a real old-school component of me, but there is also what I described earlier regarding what's going on now, take advantage and utilize and understand what's happening today and make adjustments. There is no reason why we can't make adjustments. I think the fans would appreciate and respond in a favorable way."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.