Reports are flooding in that Joe Maddon has been put on temporary leave for reasons that are currently unknown. Don Zimmer is expected to take over the managerial job until Maddon is ready to return. There is plenty of speculation going around the internet, and we will try to shed some light on what exactly could be going on.
Maddon has been the life and blood of the Rays ever since taking over the then Devil Rays in 2006. Through his unconventional methods both on and off the field, the Rays have become a perennial powerhouse in the AL East. His best characteristic is the way he keeps the clubhouse loose. Through this, players can focus on their game rather than off the field distractions, and thus Maddon gets the most out of every single player that plays for him. It is currently unsure how long he will be away from the team, but even if he misses just one game, his impact will be impossible to replace.
In Zimmer, the Rays are getting someone with quite the track record. Zimmer has been in baseball in some capacity for the last 66 years, including over 1700 games as a manager. While it is impossible to replace Maddon, the Rays are getting a more than capable fill-in by naming Zimmer the interim manager. Zimmer should be familiar with the Rays’ organization, as he has been serving as a senior advisor to the club. Also expect bench coach and Maddon’s right-hand man Dave Martinez to have an increased role until Maddon returns.
Now comes the important question–why in the world is Joe Maddon being put on leave? This whole spring he has been talking about how excited he is to be managing a team with such great potential. How could he be so excited about the team just to leave after the season’s first game? There are two main theories floating around as to why he might be doing this.
The first idea is that Maddon has decided he would rather take his RV around America than coach the Rays. If we look back on a quote from the end of last season, this might just be the best explanation. The day after being eliminated from the playoffs, Maddon said “We made the playoffs, but did not win the World Series. Maybe I’ll just take my RV across America next season instead of coaching to make up for the disappointment.” People thought this was just anger over missing out on the playoffs, but maybe Joe was being serious. In this scenario, he could be ready to return at some point in the season, but RVing around America takes a long time.
The second rumor floating around is that Maddon has decided to leave because he was upset about Grant Balfour‘s truck (check here for a picture if you haven’t already seen it). Maddon’s RV has been the most talked about vehicle in baseball for quite sometime. Balfour’s truck has now overtaken Maddon’s as the best, and while Maddon managed to last through spring training, the thought that one of his players has a better vehicle might have become overbearing. Maddon could just be on leave until Balfour agrees to sell the truck, which could put him back sooner rather than later.
These two explanations could make sense, and it is clear that Maddon has taken personal leave because of something to do with his Recreational Vehicle. The Rays are now in a tough spot, and while Don Zimmer is a great replacement, it is going to be hard to replace Joe Maddon for however long he is gone.
If you haven’t already figured it out, this article is a complete joke. Happy April Fools everybody! We here at Rays Colored Glasses wish you the best of luck with all of your pranks today.