August 22, 2011
In some baseball cities, wearing a football helmet during a postgame press conference might be a good way to dodge criticism for a pitching change or bad lineup decision.
But in Joe Maddon's world, it's just a good way for the Tampa Bay Rays manager to rally support for his pigskin brethren across the bay.
As you might remember, Maddon and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris are pretty tight. Morris even came out to a spring training game this year and "managed" the Rays to a win in extra innings over the Blue Jays. Maddon then went out to last Thursday's exhibition game between the Bucs and New England Patriots and wanted to show his enthusiasm for Morris' upcoming season.
[Maddon] played the part, holding his lineup card over his face like football coaches' do with their play sheet, referring to the "Seahawks" and Ben Zobrist(notes) making a defensive play as Joe Montana going to his right. Bench coach Dave Martinez even got into the act, interrupting the press conference to give Maddon a Gatorade water bottle. [...]
"We got a big game this weekend against Miami, we're very excited bout that," Maddon said. "This is a tribute to our friends over there at One Buc Place."
Everyone has football fever, apparently. And it got me started thinking about which manager I'd most like to see wearing a football helmet in an upcoming press conference.
The 100 percent answer, of course, would be Bruce Bochy sporting the 49er gold.