Of newly hired Cubs manager Joe Maddon — he of the sudden exit from Tampa after Rays mastermind Andrew Friedman landed a lucrative new deal with the Dodgers — The Tampa Times’ Tom Jones writes, “wanting more financial security, wanting to call Wrigley Field his office, wanting the challenge of turning baseball’s lovable losers into champs doesn’t make him a traitor…(Maddon) gave the Rays nine good years and left the organization in far better shape than he found it. He’s not, suddenly, a bad guy.” Except Jones — who has clearly turned down dozens of opportunities to ply his trade in markets more exciting — proceeds to portray Maddon as, y’know, a very bad guy.
There’s the ugly business that Maddon appeared to have gone after a job that was already filled by someone else. It’s hard to blame the Cubs. Epstein correctly pointed out that he had an obligation to do what was best for the Cubs and, in his mind, firing first-year manager Rick Renteria and hiring Maddon was the best thing to do. Frankly, you can’t argue with that.
But did Maddon break some sort of code? Did he betray a member of the fraternity?
Yeah, it feels like it. Put it this way: I’m guessing Maddon would not have appreciated someone going after his job when he lost 101 games in his first season as a major-league manager.
It took him until the 36th and last minute on the podium during Monday’s news conference to finally get around to thanking the Rays. He spoke almost exclusively about his future with the Cubs and very little about his past with the Rays. There were no apologies, no regrets, not even an acknowledgement that many Rays fans are upset to see him go.
Indeed, you’d think Maddon could’ve managed to thank all the Rays fans individually. That would’ve taken, what, an entire 90 seconds?