Fired Angels manager Joe Maddon laughs and explains how some teams are run

ST. PETERSBURG — Joe Maddon is handling his first summer without professional baseball in 47 years very well.

Of course, he will miss being at Tropicana Field with the Angels this week, visiting old friends from his 2006-2014 tenure at the helm of the Rays, reuniting with other Bay Area pals , lunch or late dinner at Ava Restaurant in South Tampa. he is a co-owner.

But Maddon made it clear in a Friday night phone conversation that he wasn’t missing the game — or at least not the analytics, front-office-run version it’s become in most places — and should find a “absolutely correct” situation to deal with again.

He also said his unexpected dismissal on June 7 as Angels manager, with a 27-29 record amid a 12-game losing streak, ended his relationship with the organization he once held. called home for 33 years, including his first 30 before returning as manager in 2020.

“It’s like, once it happened, I dissolved my affiliation with them,” Maddon said. “There is no more emotion. There is nothing. It’s like for me, they don’t even exist, organizationally.

“I’m still texting a lot of players, I’m texting a lot of staff. One of them called me (Friday). So we keep in touch.

He said the Angels had a worse record since his layoff — 25-38 through Friday — didn’t affect his prospect.

“It doesn’t make me feel better, it doesn’t make me feel worse,” Maddon said. “From an organizational point of view, I’m a little insensitive to all of this. Because when you wish them ill, I wish ill on very good friends – and I can’t do that.

Finding the Right Fit

The Los Angeles Angels named slugger Shohei Ohtani, left, high-five manager Joe Maddon after an 11-3 win over the Rays in May at Anaheim. [ ASHLEY LANDIS | AP ]

That the Angels are heading to an eighth straight season of missing the playoffs and seventh straight losing streak, despite having one of the best players in the game in Mike Trout and another in Shohei Ohtani (the last five seasons) is “strange and “frustrating,” Maddon said.

It’s also indicative of the problems within the Angels organization.

“Infrastructure needs to be improved. There are a lot of things that need to be improved there,” Maddon said. “These guys can’t do it alone, obviously. It’s the non-sexy stuff that needs to improve. They’re not just shiny, shiny objects – they’ve got that.

“They need to improve the infrastructure to get to where we were in the past. That was my goal, to bring the Angels back to where we were in the past. That was it. Nothing but pure intentions. I was an angel. They had every ounce of me. And now it’s done.

At 68 and healthy — playing a lot of golf in the unexpected free time he spends mostly in his hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania — Maddon said he would definitely be interested in managing again. He compiled a 1,382-1,216 (.532) record over 19 seasons with the Rays, Cubs and Angels, winning the 2016 World Series with Chicago.

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But he wouldn’t take just any job, given his disdain for the number of teams currently structured, insisting on having mutual trust with his boss – “You just can’t shut it down because you’re going through a streak of defeats,” he said. – and a common goal.

“I would just go into this marriage feeling really good about being philosophically aligned with whoever I’m going to be working with,” he said. “That means there has to be a balance, it just can’t be analytically unbalanced. The baseball operation should be one that understands both sides and understands it well.

Maddon said he would certainly not accept a position of what he calls “a middle manager”, where the chief executive and staff make the bulk of the decisions to be made by the field manager, a “prominent” configuration. “around the game.

“When people keep blaming the dugout for a lot of things they see, they have to understand that they shouldn’t do that,” he said. “Because the manager has so many voices in the back of his head by the time the game starts, it’s not his game like it used to be. It’s absolutely the front office game.

It’s not just an issue in Anaheim, Maddon said.

“It’s to the point where some GMs should really put on a uniform and come down to cover, or their main analytic membrane, he should come down to cover,” he said.

“It’s something that should be done. Because they try to work with this kind of intermediary. And what happens is that when the performance isn’t what they think it should be, it’s never about the acquisition process. It’s always about the inability of coaches and managers to get the best out of a player. And that’s where this huge disconnect is formed.

“I feel like a teenager right now”

Joe Maddon currently spends much of his time golfing, gardening and grilling.
Joe Maddon currently spends much of his time golfing, gardening and grilling. [ Tampa Bay Times ]

Maddon said he didn’t give much thought to what he would do next if he didn’t succeed, noting that his days were filled with fun: “I have all three Gs – golf, gardening and grilling.”

He said there are ‘a few guys’ running teams – he wouldn’t say who – that he appreciates and respects for having the kind of ‘strong balance between old and new’ that he finds appealing. . And if one of those teams offered him a special assistant, adviser, or some other type of job—with a “meaningful” voice—he’d be interested.

But he insists he’s in no rush, saying: “Right now, I need to get tired of what I’m doing to want to do something else.”

Maddon said he will go to bed earlier (9-9:30 p.m.), get up earlier (5-5:30 a.m.) and make the most of each day as a “civilian”. He hangs out with his nearly 90-year-old mother, Beanie, who is in an assisted living facility, and continues to crack jokes.

He’s upping his golf game, shooting 79 on Thursday, hosting his Try Not to Suck (in the Valley) golf classic, benefiting his Respect 90 Foundation, and playing in recent events with the former Indians and Phillies manager. Charlie Manuel and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath, who has become a good friend.

“I’m passing – I don’t mean the best time of my life – it’s just something I didn’t do,” Maddon said. “I mean, I feel like a teenager right now. I feel like I’m on summer vacation at Lafayette College.

“My days are filled with things I want to do and love to do. I’m surrounded by family and friends. And I’m in a Pennsylvania summer right now, which is beautiful.

” So everything is fine. I don’t regret anything. I am not angry. I’m not angry. I’m having fun.

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