There have been a lot Rays fans defending Joe Maddon’s actions during Monday’s game in which he had Sam Fuld warm up to buy a little extra time for Cesar Ramos in the bullpen. And some have directed a little heat in our direction for being critical and making this into what some believe is a bigger deal than it truly deserves.

First of all, we think this situation is more than just trying to pull a fast one on the umpires on Monday night. We think this incident highlights why some Rays fans don’t like Maddon as a manager. That is, sometimes he overthinks situations. Sometimes he takes very simple situations and gives them very complex solutions, all in the name of being clever.

How long was Fuld warming up on Monday night? It is unclear from the replay. But we do know that a new pitcher is only allowed eight warm up pitches, and it certainly didn’t look like he was taking his time in between. So at most, Fuld was on the mound for 2-3 minutes, and that might be a stretch.

In that same amount of time, Maddon could have waited in the dugout until the umpire asked where the pitcher was. Maddon could then have walked out to the umpire and explained that there was a problem with the dugout phone.

Worst-case scenario would have been that the umpire orders Maddon to immediately bring his pitcher in to warm up. Best-case scenario would have been that the umpire would have understood and walked over to the Brewers dugout to explain the situation.

In both cases, Maddon would have likely killed more time than he did with Fuld. And he wouldn’t have needed to be sneaky or clever, or break a rule to do it.

And let’s face it. This is the “Rays Way.” The Rays don’t just assume that things have to be done the way everybody does it. But typically, this means bending rules, reinterpreting rules, and pushing boundaries. But it rarely means breaking the rules** or trying to be sneaky and clever at the expense of the opposition or the umpires.

As for our criticism. We usually don’t like to play the hypothetical game. But what if the Brewers had done this with their closer in the 9th inning and they win the game by one run? We would be raising hell and screaming all over the place for weeks. Hell, we still scream about AJ Pierzynski’s play in Chicago.

So it would be a bit hypocritical of us, if we don’t at least question Maddon’s actions.

Hey, we love JoeMa. We wouldn’t trade him for any manager in baseball. And based on our confidence polls, most Rays fans love Maddon. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have flaws. And the one that bothers us the most, is his hair his need to make things more complicated than they are.

* What happens if another incident someday occurs at the Watergate Hotel? Would we call it Watergate-gate?

** One example would be using the DL as an extra roster spot. But as we wrote earlier this week, that is something a lot of teams are doing, and may even be encouraged by MLB in order to avoid increasing roster sizes.

 
 

10 Comments

  1. Charles says:

    Offtopic, but I think not referring to the whole BP spill as “Deepwatergate” was a missed opportunity.

  2. Sarah says:

    Also off topic — what if the Democratic National Committee headquarters had not been located at the Watergate at all? What if it had, for instance, been located at the Doubletree hotel when the break-in occurred — would scandals then be called “Iran-tree” or “Fuld-tree”?

  3. Tony says:

    I was at the game Monday, and honestly, I hardly noticed he was on the mound. It’s a situation of: “oh hey, there Sam Fuld warming up”…Don’t really see the big deal here.

  4. Nick says:

    i would have been worse if he brought in a right hander and the Brewers made a move to match up with that right handed pitcher, only to have Maddon go to his lefty in the pen. that would’ve opened up a large can of worms

  5. Amanda says:

    Cork, one of the reasons I come to Rays Index is that you’re *not* sycophantic about the Rays. I love this team, but I also want to know the truth, or have even-handed criticism of them when warranted.

    I think it’s an absolutely fair point about him overthinking things. What about last year (was it last year?) when he goofed making out the lineup during interleague play and Sonny had to hit. How does that even happen? I think that’s another case of him trying to overthink what he was doing on a simple lineup card.

    By the way, did you hear Damon’s post-game interview … oooh, I think it was the night he reached the milestone. He was asked about being in the lead-off spot, and it sounded to me he insinuated that he told Maddon to stop moving him around in the batting order. The infinite lineup permutations is another function of Maddon overthinking a simple “put your best OBP guy in the 1 hole, put your best BA guy in the 2-hole, put your best HR guy in the 3-hole,” etc.

    • Jordi says:

      I disagree with the lineup objections. You don’t wear your best blue summer shirt in the winter with same shoes. You wear a winter shirt. And that might make you change your selection of socks. And what if your day called for a meeting and maybe a tie? A lineup is like an outfit depending on the opposing pitcher, the opposing team, the weather, maybe even the umpire. The Bucs don’t lineup in the same formation every play, so why should the Rays?

      • Sarah says:

        I agree, Jordi — and would add….the tinkering is also part of having a line up that is not exactly stellar. If you have highly productive hitters you find a spot for them and keep them there. If most of your hitters are in the .230 range, you try to re-arrange the pieces and hope something clicks.

  6. Professor Twain says:

    I know that Maddon wanted to extend the time a bit to warm the reliever up… but I also think that he just likes to be playful. Not in a way that shows the opponent up, but that adds a bit of spark to what can be a very dull game at times. Same way he likes to get the team to dress up on the road, or bring hockey and football players in the dugout or to hitting practice. Thinking outside of the box. In this case he broke a rule, I’m sure unintentionally. The Brewers and the umps didn’t seem to think he had committed a high crime.

  7. MJ says:

    Even if he isn’t the “best manager in baseball”, like cork said, “we wouldn’t trade him for any manager in baseball”

Leave a Comment