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Joe Maddon coaching his players to gain edge on instant replay

Joe MaddonJoe Maddon is already working with his players to gain an edge — even the slightest ones — that can come from being prepared for the new instant replay challenges.

According to The Tampa Bay Times, Maddon was running his players through a drill in spring training Thursday where the guys were coached to continue plays even after a third out was recorded in case a play is reviewed by instant replay. Maddon’s thinking is that if a call for an out is overturned — or vice versa — it could be left up to the umpire’s discretion to decide what to do with the baserunners. So if Maddon teaches his players to not stop on the third out for close plays, they could get extra bases or prevent extra bases by continuing the play.

Maddon and other managers obviously cannot possibly plan for all possible instant replay scenarios, but that is a really good start.

We’ve always lauded him as being a guy who thinks outside the box, and this is just another example of how he’s one step ahead of the game. Unfortunately for him, now his secret is out and other teams may follow his example.

Forearm bash to Deadspin

Joe Maddon channels inner Allen Iverson and talks about practice (Video)

joe-maddonTampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is among the colorful characters in Major League Baseball.

When his team embarks on their famous themed road trips, Maddon is front and center. You can find gems sprinkled into his Twitter timeline every now and then. A Joe Maddon postgame press conference always has the potential to be entertaining. Remember when he did one wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet?

Speaking of press conferences, Joe Maddon channeled his inner Allen Iverson and reenacted the now famous “practice” rant by the Sixers great.

Iverson has, of course, moved on from ranting about practice. He’s now on the subject of pants.

Joe Maddon buys beer for Rays fans at Long Beach bar

joe-maddonTampa Bay Rays fans who have been following the team’s current road trip on the west coast have little reason to be impressed. Those who were there to witness the four-game losing streak with which the trip began deserve some sort of compensation. Leave it to Rays skipper Joe Maddon.

After Tampa snapped its losing streak with a 7-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night, Maddon encouraged Rays fans to join the team for a celebration at Legends bar in Long Beach.

We would expect nothing less from the man who is the brain trust behind several phenomenal themed road trips throughout the regular season. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times pointed out, the Rays were going to party win or lose — an idea Maddon picked up while growing up in Hazleton, Penn.

“It was the Win or Weep party post-game tonight,” he said. “Fortunately, it’s a Win party. Hazleton vs. West Hazleton, back in the day, Thanksgiving Day football — after the game, there was the Win or Weep Dance. Three years, Hazleton Win Dance.”

Don’t you ever change, Joe Maddon.

H/T Big League Stew

Joe Maddon: I wish Miguel Cabrera wouldn’t cry so much

Miguel-Cabrera-TigersThings got heated between the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, and slugger Miguel Cabrera was at the center of the drama. It all started on Saturday, when Rays closer Fernando Rodney was struggling with his control in the tenth inning and threw a pitch up and in to Cabrera. That’s right, the tenth inning.

For whatever reason, Cabrera thought Rodney was trying to hit him intentionally in a tie game in extra inning with no outs. Cabrera barked at Rodney a bit, but nothing happened. On Sunday, Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello came up and in on Ben Zobrist in the first inning and hit him on the shoulder. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was not pleased.

“I thought it was absolutely uncalled for and hopefully the league will take a look at that,” Maddon said, via MLB.com’s Sam Strong. “That’s totally premeditated. There’s no question about that.

“We didn’t hit anybody. I want that to be duly noted. When this is all processed, I would hope that people process it properly.”

Zobrist agreed that Porcello hit him intentionally, noting how Cabrera is awfully “sensitive” for someone who is considered the best hitter in baseball.

“I think it was pretty clear in everyone’s minds that it was intentional after the things that were said last night,” he said. “It was at my face. I was fortunate to get out of the way enough to only get hit in the wrist. I would expect a little bit better after the words that were said.”

Cabrera got his revenge — even though none was needed — on Sunday when he smashed a towering home run into the rays tank in center field. Maddon joked about that feat after the game and praised Cabrera’s ability, but he also criticized him for complaining.

“The rays were in danger,” Maddon said. “He could have gotten a phone call or a letter from some activist group, I’m sure. It was a helium ball. I don’t debate this guy is outstanding. He’s wonderful. I just wish he wouldn’t cry so much.”

I second that. Zobrist is mostly likely right about Cabrera being frustrated that he struck out on Saturday in a crucial situation. He may be the best hitter in MLB, but he’s not good enough that someone would hit him to lead off the tenth inning of a tie game.

Joe Maddon zings Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine dragged Joe Maddon’s name into the conversation during his contentious interview on WEEI on Wednesday, and the Rays manager has responded.

Valentine was defending himself for arriving to the ballpark later than usual for a recent game when he brought up Maddon. To make himself look better, he told the hosts that Rays manager Joe Maddon only arrives to the park at 4:00pm for night games. Maddon heard about what Valentine said, so he decided to respond via Twitter:

Now that is how you respond. Is there any wonder why Maddon was voted the most underrated manager in baseball by an SI players’ poll? This is one sharp cat.

Joe Maddon will get a tattoo if Rays reach World Series

Joe Maddon isn’t your typical baseball manager. He thinks differently from many of his managerial compatriots, and he isn’t afraid to try new training methods. He also gets creative when it comes to motivating his players. On Friday, Maddon tweeted that he will get a tattoo if the Rays reach the World Series:

It sounds like Ryan Roberts is the one who came up with the idea. Roberts is famous for having his body covered in tattoos, so it’s no surprise that he was part of this. Roberts was acquired by Tampa Bay from Arizona prior to the trade deadline but he’s played poorly for his new team. He’s gone just 3-for-26 and will have to improve his play to give Tampa Bay a better shot at reaching the postseason.

The Rays are currently 0.5 games behind the Angels for the final wild card spot in the American League. If they reach the playoffs, they’ll have as good of a chance as anyone of making the World Series, and then maybe Maddon can get some sort of old school joker tattoo on his biceps.

Joe Maddon responds to pine tar heckler with message on ball (Picture)

Joe Maddon has been around the league long enough to know that it will be a while before he hears the end of the Joel Peralta pine tar incident. As players who have been accused of using steroids can tell you, fans never let players or coaches live down any incident that involves the possibility of cheating. According to MLB.com’s Cut 4, well-known Washington, D.C. heckler Robin Ficker was really riding Maddon on Thursday night and yelling things like “check for pine tar” and “See, Maddon, it can be done without pine tar.” As you can see from the photo above that @ChanningPejic shared on Twitter, Maddon decided to respond.

The Rays skipper took a baseball, wrote “Stick up for those you care about” on it, smeared some pine tar on it and tossed to Ficker. Basically that is Maddon’s way of admitting that it doesn’t matter if it was right or wrong, he’s going to side with his player every time — even if that makes him a weird wuss.