Joe Maddon humbled, warmed, relieved on return to face Rays (via Tampa Bay Times)

June 28, 2021

By Marc Topkin | Tampa Bay Times

The former Rays and current Angels manager started his day with a luncheon induction to the Sports Club of Tampa Bay Hall of Fame.

 

Maddon was enshrined thanks to his onfield success as well as his charitable endeavors through annual Thanksmas events and his Tampa Bay-based Respect 90 Foundation.

The memories from his Rays days remain vivid and rewarding, he said. Among the favorites, he cited the final out pop-up Evan Longoria caught to clinch their first ever playoff berth in 2008; Akinori Iwamura stepping on second to record the the final out of the 2008 AL Championship Series and send them to the World Series; and Longoria’s walkoff homer in Game 162 of the 2011 season.

“Those really stand out,” he said.

The shifter cable problem could have been an unexpected hassle on a busy day, but quick work by visiting clubhouse manager Brandon “Tank” Richesin got it picked up, repaired and back at the Trop before game time.

Maddon had visited the Trop once before as an opposing manager, with the Cubs in 2017, so there was no formal “Welcome back” or tribute video, but plenty of good vibes as he talked with a number of Rays staff.

“It’s warm and inviting,” he said. “It felt very familiar.”

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