Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wile E. Maddon - Super Genius

The heading, of course, is an ode to the old Bugs Bunny cartoons with Wile E. Coyote in those "super genius" cartoons. The heading is misleading because this post really isn't making fun of Joe Maddon, manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. It's just that the guy is always clever and always pulling out all the stops in a game to win. He's like Tony LaRussa on steroids.

Take last night's game against the Milwaukee Brewers (please). The game was early a nail biter until the Bay Rays broke it open in the top of the seventh inning. Since it was an interleague game in the National League park, National League rules applied. During the top of the seventh, Sam Fuld pinch hit for J. P. Howell, who was (as the pitcher) in the lead off spot after a double switch with Johnny Damon. Fuld walked and scored a run. But until a new pitcher came into the game, the spot belonged to Sam Fuld.

Apparently, Wile E. Maddon, Super Genius, didn't feel that Cesar Ramos, the lefty reliever, had been given enough time to warm up in the Bay Rays' bullpen. So Maddon pulled another trick from up his sleeve. He sent Sam Fuld to the mound to warm up. And so Sam Fuld looked like he was going to pitch in a game the Bay Rays were winning. Now that would have increased the #legendofSamFuld. But it was all a ploy to give Ramos more time to warm up.

Once Fuld received his allotment of warm up pitches and it looked like he was going to pitch, Wile E. Maddon came out of the dugout and called for Ramos using his left hand. Thus Maddon looked like the trickiest S.O.B. of them all.

The side note to the story was that his whole charade didn't work, much like whatever trick the Coyote tried. Ramos never got anyone out. Fortunately, the Bay Rays were far enough ahead that it didn't matter. The Rays won the game and Maddon again earned his reputation.

While the entire episode is amusing, don't be surprised if it leads to a rule change someday. The other thing to note of the entire episode: If Joe Maddon managed in the National League for his entire career, his brain would probably screw right into the ground from all the things he could do over there. Let's all be glad for the sake of his overall health that Maddon normally manages by AL rules.

P. S. - Thanks for buddy, Josh Borenstein, for cluing the Fan on this amusing story.

3 comments:

Jonathan C. Mitchell said...

I was watching this last night and was kinda hoping to see The Legend of Sam Fuld pitch. And while he couldn't have done worse than Ramos, it would have probably been considered unsportsman like and taunting a bit.

Charles Simone said...

This is a great story, of course, but you bring up an interesting point when you mention the possibility of a rule change.

There is a rule stating that a relief pitcher has to face at least one batter before he can be removed from the game, so I wonder why this didn't apply to Fuld in this instance.

When he went out to the mound to warmup, wouldn't that be the equivalent of officially announcing him as a pitcher, therefore requiring him to face one batter?

Of course, I'll be seeking clarification of this. I'll get back to you if I learn anything.

Charles Simone said...

So, the answer seems to be that they told the umpires Fuld was hurt:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110621&content_id=20801764&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

I understand where Jerry Layne is coming from when he says he had to take their word for it, but the fact that Maddon didn't even bring the trainer with him when he went out to the mound makes me wonder if he didn't realize it was illegal, and then they just improvised and lied their way out of it.

Regardless, it's not that big of a deal, but I'm giving Maddon a few less Super Genius points for this one than you.