Last week prior to Wednesday’s White Sox game at The Trop, RayIndex got a chance to ask Rays manager Joe Maddon a few questions.

RaysIndex: Your starting pitchers are second in the big leagues in innings pitched. Do you dismiss that because it’s still April or are you concerned because it’s so early.

Joe Maddon: Oh, I like it. I like it, yeah. I like it because their pitches per appearance is in pretty good shape. There is two ways of looking at it. I think Shieldsie had gone 115 or 116 [pitches] once and so has David [Price]. I you average out, David, he has been at 108 or 109 and I’m OK with that.

RaysIndex: A few non-technical questions about your background. When you were with the Angels, did [former Angels general manager and current Hall of Fame member] Whitey Herzog hire you or were you already there?

Maddon: I was already there when Whitey came on board. I got to know Whitey in the early 90s when Buck Rodgers was there and Billy Bavasi brought him over. I felt really fortunate because I have been around a lot of good Major League Baseball coaches and managers and he was the best I thought at being able to evaluate young talent. I think a lot of times major league personnel don’t do a good job of evaluation because they have been away from the minor league situation for a period of time. So I always relied on the minor league aspect of the scouts but I thought Whitey, Whitey came in and blessed Tim Salmon and he blessed Garrett Anderson and he blessed Damon Easily he blessed Kevin Flora and he said these guys can play. And before Whitey had said that, people were very ambivalent about their thoughts. But when Whitey said it, it had to be true.

RaysIndex: I know he is still a scout at heart.

Maddon: He is the best I have ever been around.

RaysIndex: What did you learn from him that maybe you use to this day?

Maddon: The biggest from Whitey? Part of it was what we were just talking about, trust your own judgment. Trust you own instinct. Don’t be afraid to say what you think. I used to be impressed with the way people would follow him around and listen to him and he is one of those guys… he and Gene Mauch primarily, the guys I had met over there that if they said it, it had to be absolutely true and accurate. There is no way he could tell me something that was wrong. He just felt that whatever came out of his mouth had to be factual and the right way to do things. Different cat, different animal. Very, very funny man. Very funny man. I enjoyed being around him.

RaysIndex: When he managed he was considered a maverick. The old timers would complain how he over managed. Fast forward to now, and he’s considered in many ways archaic. Now, here, if you turn on sports radio, you hear the same things that were lodged at Herzog said about you. Do you find that heartening in a way that one of the best in your business, a guy in the Hall of Fame, they are now saying those things about you?

Maddon: I find it amusing. People who say we are over managing just don’t understand what we are about and how we do things here and have to do things here. We can’t go out and buy nine or ten guys who will play on a consistent basis that are very high level. We cannot afford that player but we can afford players that compliment one another. We are built along those lines to platoon here or sometimes, righty against righty and lefty against lefty. That is how we are built. That is the part that I find amusing is that people still haven’t understood that part yet.

RaysIndex: Herzog was one of the first really big matchup guys.

Maddon: Yeah, it’s all about matchups. It’s about utilizing personnel and putting your guys in the best position to succeed. And so, if anyone wants to compare me to Whitey, God bless them. I’ll take it. To me, that man was one of the best I have ever been around.

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31 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Maddon has a very good “cover up” move when people are critical of him or his Moves.. he says oh well the “public doesn’t understand (baseball)…”
    but you know what when you bat BJ 2nd or 3rd and he can’t hit, or you won’t let a guy like S rod play after he goes 3 for 4 the day before…( i could go on forever..but you should get the point)
    People Want to know Why? DOn’t tell me match-ups.. you ignore those figures as much as you use them…. US dumb ass fans want to know Why you make stupid moves…WHY joe..the MEdia won’t question you …but I would..you wouldn’t get away with “they Don’t know”

    • pete says:

      if he was so stupid , something tells me the rays would not have won 2 of the last 3 AL east titles against the giants of baseballs payroll wars.

      joe maddon does not need to explain himself to us.

      he is a winner and has brought a winning culture to a franchise that from 1998-2007 was pathetic.

      • Sledge says:

        well said, Pete. It is way too easy to post single example Monday morning quarterback gibberish online.

      • KillaTapes says:

        This.

      • Don says:

        Well said JOE (mark) I mean pete..I like people who are responsible for their actions..IF you don’t know why say so..I won’t think any less of you…..

        • Andy says:

          I like people who don’t butcher the English language 32 times a day. And I do think less those who do.

          • Don says:

            WHY are you an english teacher making $30,00 a year?..Thats how much your “Good” english is worth! You could have been a butcher too!

        • pete says:

          I’m fine with being a “mark” for Joe Maddon.

          Baseball is the ultimate numbers game that compares to no other. This is not Football Don. Baseball is built upon failure and throwing the same 9 guys out there is not always the best option.

          In Baseball sometimes you can base your decisions on as little as a hunch or a feeling and because a superstar fails 70% of the time , it can make you look like a genius or an idiot.

          Don… Call me when “YOU” understand or have played this game beyond little league.

          • Don says:

            Pete I’ll Call you..but not when our little league team needs a player..
            Guarantee you couldn’t make the squad…and I wouldn’t trade my little league coach for Maddon in a 100 years he is rolling over in his grave just watching Maddon..and his “mystery moves”…

  2. Sarah says:

    Can we all agree just to ignore Don? Please? Otherwise you just encourage him.

    • pete says:

      Sounds good to me. Most of the time i do ignore him but sometimes i just can’t help myself from responding.

    • Don says:

      I agree..as Joe would say’they just don’t understand….”
      your lucky I have lots of extra time before I tee off this afternoon!

    • Scot says:

      I’ll defend Don. I rarely agree with his analysis – sometimes I do. But Don plays an important role on this website. He reminds us of the classic baseball fan who preaches “team chemistry” / “you can look at a player and know his is either good or back” / “baseball is 99% hustle”, many other views that are counter to the Rays philosophy. Remarkably, I would argue, Maddon’s views are more aligned with Don’s than most of the Maddon’s quantitatively driven superiors and colleagues. However even Maddon is data driven which makes me wonder, why does Don even follow this team?

  3. Sledge says:

    Fine by me, Sarah. Again, I agree with Pete. Don’t dribbling gibberish is painful to listen to. I come to the comments because I like hearing some of the intelligent feedback from many here. It’s just hard to ignore Don’s whining.

  4. Sledge says:

    Damn spell check technology. “Don’s dribbling gibberish…”

  5. Shut says:

    Hey Don, do us all a favor and go back to your low-rent lifestyle. Your comments on this site have little to no intrinsic value, and honestly all you do is strain the eyes of those of us who want good, well-reported news about the Rays. I don’t know if your day job isn’t fulfilling all your needs or if you are being pushed around by a wife, but can you please not put us all through the torture of reading your unintelligible and nonsensical BS that you post under every single story. I believe I speak for the majority when I say I am sick and tired of seeing your name in the comments section. Take your garbage elsewhere, please and thank you.

  6. Rumpy says:

    Sometimes it’s just fun poking the annoying barking Chihuahua with a stick. You just can’t help it!

  7. Jon L. says:

    Maddon is a solid big league manager and has really turned this franchise around. Very impressive job by Joe Maddon.

  8. Gus says:

    It is okay to have an overriding philosophy; it is another to ignore all common sense and become a slave to that philosophy.

    Batting Kelly Shopppach in the playoff games against Texas when all of us saw it coming and we still had an embarassing 0-10 with many killer unproductive at bats is one example. Pitching Shields in the 2 spot, same thing.

    I like Maddon, but I think it is helpful to be shown that you are not a genius every once in a while to stay humble. The Rays should have been a world series team in 2010 (and probably not in 2008). As good as Maddon was in the 2008 playoffs, he was that bad in 2010 playoffs.

    The thing about match-ups is it is always the player’s fault if things don’t work out well. The manager had hard and fast science behind him! But baseball managing is part science and part psychology. Hopefully Maddon remembers that he is coaching people, and people go through slumps, injuries and periods of loss of confidence.

    And never bat BJ lead-off ever again.

  9. Don says:

    Gus where did you come from..”MAddon ignoring common Sense”….no way..you must be from Mars?
    Everyday these people get up to read Don’s ideas and I am happy to inform and entertain them ( after all.. Maddon says you don’t know anything)..thats what makes these sites successful… To expose MAddon as the fraud he is… a worthwhile goal for 15 min. a day!

  10. Mark says:

    “Hey Don, do us all a favor and go back to your low-rent lifestyle. Your comments on this site have little to no intrinsic value, and honestly all you do is strain the eyes of those of us who want good, well-reported news about the Rays. I don’t know if your day job isn’t fulfilling all your needs or if you are being pushed around by a wife, but can you please not put us all through the torture of reading your unintelligible and nonsensical BS that you post under every single story. I believe I speak for the majority when I say I am sick and tired of seeing your name in the comments section. Take your garbage elsewhere, please and thank you.”

    COULD NOT HAVE SAID IT ANY BETTER.

  11. Zack says:

    @Don Quite honestly, you’re only entertaining us with your stupidity, and you’re only informing us of how stupid and ignorant you really are.

  12. Scot says:

    Folks, please. There is support for Don on this website. Note the comment by Gus – “when all of us saw it coming”. Really? Everyone? How about the argument “Jaso had no right to be a catcher in the playoffs given that he is a rookie.” What if Jaso played and made a few mistakes – I bet we would have heard the same comments “when all of us saw it coming.” Don is speaking through Gus.

  13. Scot says:

    Final comment to the Prof.

    1) Totally $%^$ing cool to talk to Maddon.
    2) Question 1 was excellent. It showed you had done research AND you gave him confidence to say, yes, we are looking at a small sample size. It showed you were going to ask the same pointless questions Maddon usually has to answer to media people with a shallow understanding of baseball.
    3) Herzog was an interesting direction, however, I did find that it became a tad too much reminiscing about the old days. Personally I would have talked more strategy and key data he looks for. But that is me.
    4) Is there more to this interview? (Enquiring readers want more!)

  14. Cork Gaines says:

    If I may interject here for a second…I know there are commenters on here that have the ability to rile some of you guys up, and that is 100% OK. But, let’s just remember, no matter how crazy or silly these commenters may sound at times, they are still Rays fans. And let’s face it, we need all the Rays fans we can get. So if somebody says something you feel is ridiculous let’s see if we can reason or educate. And if they are unwilling to learn, then maybe we should just think of them as our crazy uncle. You know that uncle, right? He drives us nuts. He says inappropriate things and starts family fights. But deep down, he is still family, even if sometimes we tell our friends differently.

    • pete says:

      I agree with you 100% Cork. We do need guys like Don. He reminds me of the fan in the major league movies that is always talking trash about everything the indians did but went to all the games and when they did well , always said ” i told you guys”

      Don is certainly a passionate fan and the Rays could certainly use more of those.

    • Sarah says:

      I would generally agree with you, but then last year Don had some weird, anti-semitic rant involving Andy Sonnanstine — you deleted it maybe a few hours later, but it has left me with a very sour taste about Don. I can tolerate my crazy uncle if he’s just eccentric and tells off-color jokes, but when his idiosyncrasies turn ugly I start wondering whether I want him at Thanksgiving dinner.

  15. Don says:

    Your coming around..stay tuned you WILL become more informed than the avg JOE..I am the Paul Harvey of ML baseball…HERE you hear the “rest of the Story”…..

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