Hours before the Rays and Yankees took the field, there was a surreal atmosphere behind the scenes Wednesday at Tropicana Field.

Inside the clubhouse, a couple of penguins waddled around, followed by their handlers. Players had to watch their step as the 6-year-old penguins, Shelly and Cliff, had the run of the place.

It was the latest pregame twist ordered up by manager Joe Maddon, who also produced a DJ, a magician and a 22-year-old Umbrella Cockatoo in the clubhouse during a six-game homestand.

“You always hear about The Ray Way and the rules or non-rules that Joe has,” Rays DH Shelley Duncan said. “It’s all true. What he’s doing lately is a lot of fun. We had a DJ and today, we have penguins. I missed the cockatoo yesterday, but I saw Shelly today.”

While his foray into Animal Kingdom continued, Maddon strolled around the room with one of the 10,000 gnomes in his likeness that were distributed to early-arriving fans at Wednesday’s game.

“It’s a great replica,” Maddon said. “I think it looks exactly like me and I’m very humbled that someone in the Rays organization would choose to make me into a gnome. … It’s very flattering.”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rays OF Ben Zobrist was shooting video of the penguins to bring home to his young children.

“I’m not surprised at penguins,” Zobrist said. “I’m not surprised at anything, anymore.”