Joe Maddon, who has always liked to go out on the town and talk with fans, has noticed having a higher profile in Boston when he goes out.
"I get talked to a lot more often, [even if] it's just walking through the mall," said the Rays manager. "When you walked through the mall in the past, it was normally was just those guys with the clipboard and your card on it or an obscure photograph. It's advanced beyond that level of recognition. ... Everywhere we go now it's different. And it's very complimentary. I take it in a good way. And I don't want to duck it. I really enjoy the interaction with the fans."
Maddon has his morning coffee every day, which usually leads to some interaction.
"This morning a guy asked me if we were going to win today, and I said, 'Of course we are,'" Maddon said. "And he said, 'I hope not. I'm a Red Sox fan.' I get it, you know. That's a typical conversation. I like it. I like the interaction, and I think it's good. I like talking to people.
"A lot of it's younger kids, too -- like college students. I really like that. It's not just about me. It's recognizing the Rays. I really like that the Rays are being recognized and we're getting a younger following, which I like, too. It's very conducive to building tradition. It has to begin somewhere. And I think it began pretty much with us last year."
Maddon actually began noticing a higher level of recognition last fall during the playoffs.
"Back in the fall was actually pretty good," Maddon said. "I was at Harvard last year for dinner upstairs on the Square and there was a little karaoke place right next to it. And they were very kind to us last year. That was during the playoffs."
Maddon did not participate in the singing that night, but noted that several staff members did. He smiled when asked what it would take for him to sing.
"There would have to be several adult beverages involved," Maddon said. "And if I did, it would have to be something like [Bruce] Springsteen or Bob Dylan -- loud."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.