Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rays' Fans: Don't Panic! Maddon isn't...

I wrote this yesterday in regards to Maddon's meltdown v the White Sox on Sunday...

No one’s supposed to panic.

As Rays’ fans, we’re supposed to sit back and allow the season to unfold because, as we all know, no one wins a World Series in April.

Sure, we can yell at the television, boo at the Trop – which is the most ridiculous display of disapproval a fan base can do – and we can all flap our gums over at the local watering hole while hanging with our friends and voice our displeasures.

That’s our role though. That’s what we’re supposed to do as fans. We’re “fanatics.” We’re unreasonable. When the going gets tough, we all whine and point out the obvious mistakes the team makes.

We’re supposed to meltdown.

This may come off as an anti-Maddon column, but I assure you that’s it’s not. I’m not going to vilify him and treat Maddon like the Bay area treated Gruden.

I think Rays’ skipper Joe Maddon is a great manager. I believe he, like the majority of professional coaches, do the best that they can with what they’re given. Maddon has done a phenomenal job of what he has had to work with. He keeps his cool and typically picks his battles wisely.

With that said, Maddon flipping his lid and melting down during the top of the 6th inning in yesterday’s loss to the Chicago White Sox was embarrassing.

Dan Johnson ripped a hard shot off of Paul Konerko’s glove, which was quickly recovered by Gordon Beckham who threw a laser to first base to try and beat the hustling Johnson out.

Gavin Floyd clearly bobbled the ball and Johnson was called safe at first. Ozzie Guillen trotted out of the dugout and disputed the call. The umps convened and reversed it, which took a run off of the board and ended the inning.

Now it gets interesting. Maddon sprints out of the dugout like a man on fire. Animated and yelling, he eventually gets kicked out of the game, but not before gesturing to the umpires that they’re ejected.

That’s right. Smokin’ Joe pretended to toss the umps out of the game. Way to keep your composure, Joe. Phillip Wellman, the former manager of the Mississippi Braves who became famous for his on-field tirade, thought you lost your cool.

We’re the ones that are supposed to lose it. We’re the ones that are supposed to voice our opinions, no matter how unrealistic they are.

And right now we’re sick of hearing that “It’s early and there’s no need to panic.”

How are we not supposed to panic when the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays is erupting and actively hysterical? He’s clearly panicked. Are we supposed to wait until June before we’re officially allowed to be frightened?

It may not be Chernobyl yet, but if Maddon keeps this act up it will be.

Like I mentioned, Maddon was reacting to the bad call, which was an awful overturn. A manager should never be allowed to come out of the dugout and argue a call in their favor. If that was the case, managers should be allowed to enter the batter’s box and dispute every single ball and strike with the ability to argue each one of them.

I’m not saying that particular play would’ve won the game for the Rays, but it certainly might’ve established momentum making for a more enjoyable experience. Making for a more competitive contest.

So, I’m fine with Joe and how he went out there to take up for his player and dispute a horrible reversal, but he did so in a manner that was embarrassing to a team that is struggling mightily. He did it to a city that is tired of having to defend this squad to the northern hordes that invade our proud community.

Let the fans develop incoherent rants and illogical strategies. Focus on turning this team around and cultivating chemistry.

Focus on winning.

Leave the panic to us.

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