Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Joe Maddon Is a Classless Thug

Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, is a thug.

He's probably hoping that John Farrell gets fired as Boston Red Sox manager, so he can get off the sinking ship that will probably be docked in another city in a few years, and can manage a team that actually gets supported, win or lose, and gets a real payroll, and where his hatred of the Yankees and his encouragement of his players to purposely inflict injuries on them, is already part of the club culture.

Not to be confused with the band Culture Club: If you ask Maddon, "Do you really want to hurt me?" he'll say, "Fuck yeah, I do!"

Last night, after a pregame ceremony honoring Derek Jeter in his last series in his adopted hometown of St. Petersburg, the Yankees led 1-0 in the bottom of the 5th, with Michael Pineda cruising, and Ichiro Suzuki backing him up with an RBI single.

Then the Rays tied it on Pineda's own error. In the 6th, Pineda allowed another run to make it 2-1 Tampa Bay.

That's when Joe Girardi panicked. He pulled Pineda for Josh Outman, who finished the 6th.

That's when Girardi fucked up the bullpen again. He should have kept Outman in there for the 7th. Instead, he brought in Esmil Rogers, who opened the gates for a 4-run inning.

At the rate the Yankees are going, they probably still would have lost had it remained 2-1. As it was, the Yankees got only 7 hits, and were an unacceptable 1-for-10 with runners in scoring positon. Rays 6, Yankees 1. WP: Jake Odorizzi (11-12). No save. LP: Pineda (3-5).

But as bad as blowing the lead and not hitting enough -- in each case, again -- are, the big story occurred in the top of the 8th inning. Steve Geltz -- not to be confused with Steve Jeltz, a good-field-no-hit shortstop for the Phillies in the early 1990s -- took the mound. The first batter he faced was Jeter, mired in the worst slump of his career, 0-for-26, his seasonal batting average down to .249, trudging toward retirement.

He hit Jeter. The count was 0-and-2, suggesting that he didn't mean to hit him. But with a 5-run lead over the 2014 Yankees, the game was in the bag for the Rays. This was a message, from Maddon to the Yankees: We hate you for beating us so often, and we hate your fans for coming into our ballpark and taking over and making us feel like the visiting team.

(Attendance was 21,387. Not bad for the early or mid-1990s, terrible for the mid-2010s, truly pathetic for a metro arena that spent the better part of 20 years whining that it deserved a Major League Baseball team, missing out on the 1977 and 1993 expansions, and having the San Francisco Giants one step away from moving there for the 1993 season, maybe two steps away from having the Seattle Mariners or the Houston Astros move there in the 1990s. They don't seem to want a team anymore.)

Then Joe West, baseball's seniormost current umpire and the crew chief for this series, warned both benches.

What was the point of warning the Yankee bench? They hadn't hit a Rays batter in this series, or in the last series at Yankee Stadium. This was the 5th plunking of a Yankee batter in the last 4 games between them.

Girardi came out to argue, and West tossed him.

In the bottom of the 8th, bench coach and backup manager Tony Pena sent David Phelps out to pitch, and he hit Rays right fielder Kevin Kiermayer. West threw out both Phelps and Pena.

Maddon, of course, was allowed to finish the game.

It's not just Yankee Fans who know that Maddon is a classless thug. His allowance of headhunting precipitated a brawl against the Red Sox 2 years ago. After the game, he tweeted, “Very proud of our effort 2nite. What occurred in the 9th reeked of intent. Was ridiculous, absurd, idiotic, incompetent, cowardly behavior.”

That led one Red Sox fan blogger to write a piece calling Maddon "the Worst Person Ever." (Shades of Keith Olbermann.)

And late this afternoon, all 4 panelists on ESPN's Around the Horn said Maddon was wrong: Longtime Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan, longtime Denver Post columnist Woody Paige, University of Maryland journalism professor and former Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Blackistone, and former Sports Illustrated writer Pablo S. Torre. Still later, both panelists on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, former Washington Post columnists Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, also said Maddon was wrong.

Neither Gary Shelton nor Tom Jones (not the singer), either of the regular columnists for the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times), wrote today. Nor has any columnist for the Tampa Tribune. I guess they didn't want to address Maddon being a classless thug.

So it's not just me. True, they won't call Maddon "classless" or a "thug," but they all agree with me that he is wrong to either order his pitchers to hit Yankee batters or to allow them to do so.

Maddon has a history of classless behavior. On March 9, 2008, Elliot Johnson -- a jack of all positions and master of bupkes, who is now a Cleveland Indian and a career .215 hitter -- crashed into Yankee catcher Francisco Cervelli, breaking his wrist. In a spring training game.

Then, in May 2011, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants suffered a season-ending injury in a violent home-plate collision. And MLB put in a new rule regarding such collisions. Maddon, the hypocrite, said, "The new rules are only in place because a star catcher got injured and he was bowled over and he was in bad position. I hate to say it was his fault.''

Really. Yo, Joe: How would you feel if the catcher who gets the season-ending injury next year is Jose Molina? (Sorry, Yankee Fans, I know he was once one of ours, but he's theirs now.) Or Ryan Hanigan? But you'd change your hypocritical tune then.

Since becoming the Rays' manager, Maddon has continually allowed his pitchers to plunk Yankee hitters. It seems as if he thinks he's already the Red Sox manager.

He'd fit them perfectly. You know why?

Because Joe Maddon is a classless thug.

2 comments:

Cindy Dy said...

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Leslie Lim said...

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