TORONTO -- Tampa Bay officially got eliminated from the American League East race Thursday night after taking a 5-4 loss to the Yankees. Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't like his team's situation, but he stressed the importance of remaining professional under difficult circumstances.
"I'm always impressed with that guy," Maddon said. "I'm always impressed with that guy when things aren't necessarily working out well for you. Everybody can look good when things are going good. I like the guy who can look good when it's not going so well. Especially when it's going badly for them personally, and they can come out and still show you why they are Major Leaguers and professional baseball players."
Maddon noted that everybody needs to remember that "we've always wanted to do this."
"I'm in Yankee Stadium two nights ago, we had the lead and we lost the lead, and you have a lot of different thoughts going on in your head," Maddon said. "I'm thinking to myself, where else would I rather be on Sept. 10, 2014? Based on where I grew up -- to not take advantage of every moment you have to be here and understand that you're out here and people are paying to see you play. Maybe there's some kids in the stands you may influence. You try to do it right every night, regardless of the circumstances."
Maddon was asked if having a setback this season might serve as motivation for the Rays going forward.
"It's probably true, but you hate it at the same time," Maddon said. "I'm here to remind you that I don't like it. Not for a second. It's very unusual territory for us ... and I don't like it. And I hope our players don't like it as much as I don't like it. And I think they feel the same way. It can serve as motivation. There's no question. But it's difficult because we're good.
"We've been good for a long period of time. We put ourselves in a position that's nobody's fault but our own. But I still don't like it. It's different. To not really be in the thick of things right now is upsetting."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.