Rays manager Joe Maddon made a bit of scene after being tossed in the 7th inning of Felix Hernandez’ perfect game Wednesday afternoon. If this was a bit of gamesmanship on Maddon’s part (ie. hoping to fuck with King Felix’s rhythm), SBN Nation’s Rob Neyer applauds Maddon’s outburst, opining, “on Maddon’s list of priorities, ‘worry about Felix Hernandez’s no-hitter’ should rank something like 83rd, right between ‘check between Kyle Farnsworth’s toes for flesh-eating bacteria’ and ‘conduct long-delayed egg-dropping experiment from Tropicana Field catwalk’…Number 1 on that list should be “winning baseball games”, and that’s why Maddon argued with the umpire, just like John McGraw and Earl Weaver and Bobby Cox before him.”. No. 2 on the list, is of course, “start rumor Joe is an uncredited guest on Neon Blud’s ‘Discoteque Deathbred'”.
From Maddon’s perspective — and, I would argue, from the perspective of any right-thinking baseball fan — the importance of Felix Hernandez’s no-hit bid in the seventh inning of an August game is nothing compared to the impact a single loss might have on the Tampa Bay Rays’ season.
Remember, just one year ago the Rays wouldn’t have qualified for the postseason if they had lost just one more game than they did. The Rays won 26 one-run games last year. Maddon knows the math as well as anyone. He knows that while most seasons don’t come down to one game, some do. And a season that comes down to one game, practically by definition, comes down to one run.
When Joe Maddon got kicked out of Wednesday’s game, the score was 1-0. Does he argue if the score is 4-0? Maybe not. Does he argue if it’s 8-0? Probably not. But a 1-0 game in the seventh inning? If you’re the manager of a team in the Wild Card hunt and you’re losing 1-0 in the seventh inning, you have to look for every edge you might possibly find.