Zack Meisel of MLB.com has written an article on the anatomy of arguments between managers and umpires. The entire piece is a solid read, so check it out. But the part that we are most interested in is two umpires recounting run-ins with Rays skipper Joe Maddon.
Having seen Maddon argue more than a few times, neither of these stories come as a surprise. But they are still worthy of a good head shaking and a chuckle, because this is just Joe being Joe…
Rays manager Joe Maddon typically employs a more caring approach to his rendezvous with umpires. After Maddon disputed a call in 2007, Barrett told him that one more word would trigger his ejection, so the skipper simply replied, “I love you.” Sticking to his guns, Barrett tossed him…”I ejected him and then realized, ‘What do I put in my report, that I ejected him because he told me he loved me?’ That just stumped me,” Barrett said. “I had never had a manager tell me he loved me before.”
Maddon also bonded with Davidson during what appeared to be a heated discussion…”We had what looked like a nasty argument in Tampa,” Davidson said, “and he was telling me how much he liked me and I was saying, ‘I like you also.’ We were nose and nose doing this, and then when he left, he got a standing ovation.”
Unfortunately, MLB’s video archives don’t go back to 2007, but the ejection in question was over a check-swing call. There is a summary of the altercation at the bottom of this column. As for the second ejection, Maddon has been tossed by Bob Davidson a couple of times. However, I think he is referring to this dust-up in which both Carl Crawford and Maddon were tossed. My lip-reading skills are rusty, but it looks like at one point Maddon says, “I like you Bob, but you can’t push me.”