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An interview with Joe Maddon

An interview with Joe Maddon

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Being down in Wilmington, did that give you a chance to crank up George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers?

JOE MADDON: That would have been so appropriate. I wish you were there to remind me. I did not. I took the kids to the airport, then got back and went to lunch and eventually got out here. But I missed that opportunity. I regret it already. Thank you, man, I appreciate it.

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I have two questions: First is, when exactly were you told that this game would be played to its conclusion IN nine innings, whether it was before the game or at that fifth inning conference when you guys had a conference after the fifth inning, I believe it was with the umpires and everything? And my second question is, having that knowledge and given the circumstances with the rain coming down as hard as it was, were you at least a little surprised that you were given the opportunity to tie this game and turn it into an official suspended game?

JOE MADDON: Actually, before the game Andrew came in and told me that we would probably work under those circumstances as a suspended game. So I was aware of it before the game.

After that, that inning in progress, I promise you, I was not even thinking it was going to stop. I mean, that the game would stop. I know how bad the field looked, I didn't know if it was going to be delayed, I didn't know what the weather looked like. I was managing, we were playing to win the game in nine innings. So when it concluded the way it did, you were getting to where you were seeing the slickness of the field, you were seeing standing water on the dirt. You know or knew that something had to happen at that particular juncture. But from my perspective, I know what the players said. They said that, because I never said anything with regard to the game would be a suspended game under the circumstances of the World Series.

So the players were playing under their assumption of the rules. I did not want to infiltrate their minds with anything new. I was just playing the game as a nine inning game, period.

Question about a couple of your pitchers and what their maximum pitch count might be tonight: One would be David Price. And the other, presuming he's available, is Sonnanstine?

JOE MADDON: Yeah, David threw about 40 some pitches his last time out. He has not pitched as a starter in a while. I'm a little concerned about how many pitches he can throw. I would say comfortably 50 to 60 would be within my mental range.

Andy, I have to check with him but I believe he's going to be fine. I've already had Hick start that conversation with him, but I have not heard back yet, but I would say Andy is good for the same number.

We normally don't have a chance to ask strategy questions during the middle of a game. So this is a rare opportunity I will take, will David Price or another left hander be warming up prior to the resumption of the game?

JOE MADDON: What would you do? (Laughter).

Well, I'm asking you. I'll ask, since we're here, in the middle of this game, do you plan to use Price?

JOE MADDON: What I plan on doing is having Grant start the game. He's in the game. He's going to pitch the game. And after that I'm just going to have to wait and see. We have ideas. This is the fun part, I've been looking at that lineup card, the one from the other night. I kept it. I keep both lineups on the same card. And you look at all the potential hazards within that first inning, the fact that they're going to pinch hit. And then you go Rollins, Werth and then here comes Utley, so it's a left handed hitter, obviously, and he's very good. But you look at our side, also, and it's 6, 7, 8 with the pitcher having to hit fourth, and maybe you have to pinch hit, and maybe you don't have to pinch hit for him and that's an interesting call.

So I'm just trying to evaluate it in advance, what's the right thing to do. And what I'd like to be able to do, I'll give you this much, is have a firm idea in advance to myself with Hick how we're going to work the pitching. But I really don't want to get into it any further than that. I know Utley is up fourth th and our pitcher hits fourth. Those two moments present kind of unsteady thoughts because of course if you get them out one, two, three, it's a moot point, and it's no big deal. If we went down one, two, three, it's not a big deal, either. I'm not going to count on them going down one, two, three, and I'm don't want us certainly to go down one, two, three. So you have to look at all these certain things, and if you want to pitch to a hitter for one out, et cetera, it's all kinds of different thoughts.

When you really sit down and look at it or attempting to figure out all the different potentialities of this moment, it's kind of weird. You probably do it every night and not give it that much thought, when you are actually playing the game all the way through, but now that it's magnified in this one moment, trying to set it up appropriately in the bottom of the sixth inning is kind of freaky.

When you say Balfour is going to start, he may not throw a pitch, though, potentially?

JOE MADDON: He's going to start.

Thank you.

JOE MADDON: You're welcome.

How much have you rolled the scenarios around in your mind? Do you think they ought to cut off beer sales in the seventh inning?

JOE MADDON: I've been thinking about this stuff all day today and yesterday. I've primarily been thinking about the pitching side of it, obviously. But it presents all these different things to the pinch hitting, et cetera. Honestly, I wanted to lay it down yesterday, I just didn't want to think about it too much. I knew we were not going to play and I did not want to inundate myself with thoughts and confuse myself, which is a very easy thing to do. So I didn't want to go there.

So today I picked it up when I got up and started mulling it over. When I came in I just accelerated a bit. I'm a much better visual guy as opposed to audio. I need to see it in front of me. That's when all these different things really jump. I've already had one conversation with Hick and we'll see.

Beer sales, my goodness, if there's any kind of rain delay, how about the bottom of the sixth cutting them off? Let's just play a game of baseball today.

I know you sort of addressed this from the resort and spa yesterday

JOE MADDON: I didn't actually get to that section.

but your decision not to tell your guys that this was going to be a game that played to the end no matter how long it took, Charlie reached the same conclusion. He had the same knowledge, didn't tell his players. I'm curious, I know you explained that you just wanted them to play and not think about those sort of things, but these are guys that have been in these situations many times before, and you potentially risk somebody doing something they wouldn't ordinarily have done to tie that game. Do you regret it? And there was so much confusion afterwards. Guys were mad and guys were like panicky, and they were explaining all of these emotions.

JOE MADDON: Right. I would not have done anything differently, honestly. And in regard to taking chances, I want us to do that all the time, anyway.

I didn't see it as being that big of a deal, I really didn't. Maybe I'm missing something. It was a game to be played and I just wanted our guys to go out there, unencumbered, play our game, play our game, et cetera, no added extra thoughts, just play the game like we play it. I realize post everybody was kind of caught up with the whole thing, but from my perspective, you're perspective, again, I just wanted our guys to do their thing.

And I don't know that Carlos would have hit the ball to leftfield or whatever, would have changed by knowing this or not knowing that, I have no idea. I just felt, what I normally do is to try to not put too many thoughts in our guys' head. As an athlete, as a former athlete and as a coach, sometimes, even the most perceived mundane thought really messes with guys heads. And you don't know how everybody is going to process it. It's true. So for me I really try to avoid stuff like that, for that reason. I've talked to guys like on deck circles, just about something that I may have seen. And I go up there and sure enough they're going to strikeout. And I thought it was a pertinent point to make. When the game is in process, there's only a few people I'll talk to about things. And it's got to be something that I really think is not going to mess with what they're doing, quite frankly.

Given the events of the other night do you think MLB should consider for regular season eliminating rain shortened games and just making them all suspended in those situations, and playing the full nine?

JOE MADDON: You're talking about post five innings?

Yes.

JOE MADDON: You know what, this is the first time I've really been involved in this. I actually believe I don't have any problem with the program as it exists. If this had happened during the season and we had to come back and play three and a half innings the next day, is that the question, basically?

It would have been suspended anyway.

JOE MADDON: I would have been fine with that. I would have no problem with that. During the season you're playing so many games, and you have nine innings every night, just to cover the pitching would be difficult, if it's going to be played immediately afterwards. Even if it's played later, the doubleheader thing gets ominous, unless it's in September when you have extra pitchers on board, then it's not quite so difficult to pick those innings up.

For me I'm not opposed to this format. Again, I've not participated in it enough to give you a really strong opinion. Just on the surface I'm okay with it.

With Dave Martinez and all the permutations that may happen, how is it that you will handle it with him? Will he just be part of pinch hitters or bullpen or will you have all your permutations written down, or how is it going to work dynamic between you and Dave?

JOE MADDON: A lot of is me and Hick. We'll talk about it before the game. Davey, with the pinch hitters, that's relatively easy. The pinch hitting side of it, the double switch, there's one that may be involved quickly, that's relatively easy. The big thing is to set up the pitching right. And again, it's a tough one. It's really a tough one, based on if you have to pinch hit for your pitcher the very next inning. The fact we're going 6, 7, 8, for me makes it a little bit more difficult decision to make.

Not that it would be your call to make, but given what your team's dealt with the last few days, what would be your initial reaction to the thought of a neutral site for the World Series?

JOE MADDON: Oh, no, not at all. I don't like that. I think each town should be rewarded, the fan base, the home team fan base, growing up such a baseball fan like myself to think that that would have been moved away would have been a bad thought. I just think each ballpark is unique. Look at our place, we would be at a great disadvantage playing in a neutral spot.

This is the way it is, man. I don't like the cold weather, I grew up in it but I'm not digging it at all. This is the way it is, so you've just got to do it. It would better if the Eagles and the Bucs would take the field today. It would be much more appropriate. We're fine with it. If the game goes on, you're not going to hear one bit of crying from us. We're going to go out and do our best, that's the way you line it up. Those are the rules, that's how it's lined up and that's what we're going to do.

How much more conservative are you going to be with your bullpen tonight considering that you probably are not going to have the off day tomorrow as opposed to how you would have been had there been the travel day?

JOE MADDON: We've got to win, so there's no you really don't look to really be that conservative. I don't want to throw somebody more pitches than he should be having or being able to throw. You've got Shieldsie pitching tomorrow, we're very confident that he normally gets deeper into the game. If you don't win today there is no tomorrow. So there's really there's no conservation going on, basically. I don't want to hurt anybody, obviously. But I can talk to you about David, there's certain parameters, about David. Andy just pitched a couple of days ago. We'll try to work through all that if they become necessary.

But it's not about conserving anything tonight, we just want to win the game and move on tomorrow.

Two part question: No. 1, hypothetically if the game had been stopped after five and you were trailing 2 1, you would have told your team at that point that the game wasn't going to be called and those guys were not going to win the world championship, right? And the second question is would you have preferred to just play this over again rather than pick it up where it is in the suspended fashion?

JOE MADDON: The first part, I mean, if it's 2 1 and we're going to play as a suspended game, of course I would have told them that. There's not a whole loft of relevance for me with that.

Playing it over from the beginning, again, if that's what had been chosen to do, I would have been fine with that. If this is the format, I'm good with this. I'm the manager of the Rays. I'm not about creating all of this doctrine right now. I'm just going by what we're told we're supposed to do. To speak about it post this or maybe in the off season, if you want to sit down and really hash it out, I'd be good with all of that. But for right now, this is what we're told we are supposed to do. And believe me, I have no problem with it whatsoever, win or lose tonight. This is the way it's been set up. There is no crying in baseball, that's been stated several years ago, and so we're not going to be a bunch of crybabies, if we don't win this game tonight you're not going to hear me one time say, I wish we had gone back to the beginning, not once.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.
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