PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Tony La Russa, who currently works as a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig, dropped by Charlotte Sports Park on Monday morning. The long-time big league manager chatted with Rays manager Joe Maddon about some of baseball's new rules and watched pregame workouts before heading up the coast to Sarasota for a game between the Yankees and Orioles.
The primary topic of conversation was baseball's decision to ban the fake-to-third, throw-to-first move. That play is now considered a balk. Maddon said he had no problem with the rule change, but he scoffed at the notion that the play had no value.
"Without getting too deeply ensconced in the conversation, there was so much more going on there than that play was given credit for, from a defensive perspective," Maddon said.
"I've always been humored by [people who say], 'That play never works.' Oh really?"
Maddon also spoke highly of La Russa from a personal perspective.
"It's so much fun to talk to him, because it's all the back-and-forth, give-and-take on the teachable components of the game," Maddon said. "That's always interesting. But honestly, this man treats me so well it's almost scary to me."