The Chicago Cubs come to town on Tuesday night, marking the return of their former skipper.
It’s no surprise that Joe Maddon is a unique individual. During his tenure as Rays skipper from 2006-2014 he pioneered several movements in the baseball world. We like to call them Maddon Moments.
From fist-bumps to theme parties, Maddon left his mark on the baseball world and on Tuesday night he enters the visiting dugout at Tropicana Field for the first time.
“I have nothing but warm and fuzzy feelings here. I would be surprised that people would still be upset,” Maddon said recently per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
Certainly there are plenty of people that will criticize him for the way he left, or the timing of his departure, but you can’t argue his place in Rays history. It would be quite a shock to see the Rays-faithful booing their former leader upon his return.
Here’s a look back at our Top 5 Maddon Moments…
5) Tribute to the Buccaneers
Showing his support of the then-Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, Maddon went with an appropriate choice of head gear for this post-game press conference.
4) Manager Ejects Umpire
On April 10, 2011 during a game against the Chicago White Sox, a fired-up Maddon did not agree with a call made by the collective group of umpires. An interesting side-note is that Ozzie Guillen, no stranger to the occasional flip-out, was the beneficiary of this call. I’d bet that if the call wasn’t over-turned we may have seen a similar performance from the White Sox manager.
3) Pioneer of the Fist Bump?
Present day baseball is filled with dances, rituals, bat-flips, and other celebratory swagger. With all of the advancements in creativity, the fist bump is often forgotten.
Did you know it was for sanitary reasons?
2) Themed Road Trips
Baseball is a bit of a boring game in the eyes of many. Even today, league officials are battling pace-of-play issues because fans don’t have the attention span to watch a three or four hour game.
At the age of 63 years old, Maddon has done his part to spice-up Major League Baseball. He’s carried exotic birds during press conferences, shaved his head for charity, and invited a DJ into the locker room. But his rule on travel is above all.
His themed road trips have included nerds, hippies, a white-out, and preppies. But nothing is better than the 2012 group of rookies (including Chris Archer) that dressed up as women and sang “Call Me Maybe” at Fenway Park.
1) The Improbable 2008 World Series Run
For as much comedy as he provided, the 2008 run through October was nothing to laugh at. After losing 197 games during his first two seasons at the helm, Maddon led the Rays to a 97-win campaign in year three.
Led by Carl Crawford, Jason Bartlett, (BJ) Melvin Upton Jr. and Rookie of the Year Evan Longoria, the late season call-up of fellow-rookie David Price helped spring the Rays over the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and into the World Series.
Many will argue that Longoria’s Game-162 HR in 2011 was the greatest moment in franchise history – others will argue this was the pinnacle of baseball in Tampa Bay.
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