“Dr.” Joe Maddon and the Legion of Doom!

By Jonathan Azares
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We live in the United States of America, where we have the freedom and the privilege to openly question and criticize our leaders if we find their performance unsatisfactory. As a nice way of ending to the Ray’s 2010 season let us examine our…..special leader, Joe Maddon and his controversial decisions throughout the year, specifically the ALDS. I mean even Maddon’s arithmetic skills are mind boggling. Remember 9=8 in 2008, 09>08 of 2009, and W.I.N. (What’s Important Now) of 2010? Well, in honor of Joe Maddon all my following comments are going to have nonsensical metaphors and comparisons.

Now we all know that Maddon aka the mad plaid hatter is not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, but oh, how do I put this? Well, he’s the best we can get and that is freaking scary to think let alone say out loud. If you’re a Rays fan then you know about his unconventional way about doing things. He is like a handy man that uses a wrench to hammer in nails. I mean even the way I’m describing his madness makes me feel crazy as I write it out. Now I’m not saying we need to fire him because dear god if you don’t like Joe Maddon you don’t want to know what unholy force Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are capable of releasing upon Tampa Bay. However, I am a very firm believer that with the talent that the team has amassed in its short history, specifically the past three seasons, that the Rays continue to find ways to win in spite of his unconventional methods, not because of the them.

I am well aware that there is an argument that you cannot argue with results and that Joe Maddon has taken the abysmal Tampa Bay Devil Rays and turned them into the fighting Tampa Bay Rays. Three winning seasons including two AL East Division Titles, one American League Pennant, and one World Series in three years is a big accomplishment and much needed progress for this franchise. However, I say that you can argue with the results. I say this because as great as those achievements were they seem to always stall and fall short of where this team deserved to be which was at the top of the baseball pyramid in 2008 and 2010. Argue all you want but the Rays were more than capable of winning in 2008 and this year in 2010, but when push came to shove Joe Maddon opted for the third option and that was to pull, jump or whatever insane move he decided to make.

Which brings us to my point, this team’s the post-season ambitions is inherently doomed due to the nature of their manager’s strategy. I mean let’s go rewind to the 2008 ALCS versus the Boston Red Sox. The Rays blew a seven run lead in game five opening the door for the Sox to take that game and eventually the next one forcing a game seven. You can blame the players all you want, but defense wins Championships and when you’re out there playing musical chairs with your pitching staff trying to do this match-up crap then you’re just asking for it to blow up in your face and it almost did. Let’s not even discuss the World Series where the Rays got embarrassed and rightfully so. I mean who decided to leave key players Edwin Jackson off the post-season roster. Hmmm, I wonder? Let me recap the 2009 season…