Maddon One Win Away From His 500th Managerial Victory
One more “W”. One more bit of timely magic by this energetic and explosive Tampa Bay Rays squad and they can celebrate alongside their Manager Joe Maddon on their home AstroTurf as Maddon is but one solo victory away from his 500th Career “W”.
Ironically, tomorrow opponent, the Texas Rangers were also the victims of Maddon’s 400th career win back on August 17, 2010 in this same stadium. Tell me there is not a little extra incentive running within the mind of Rays starter James Shields tonight hoping to place Maddon firmly on that 500 mark in the Rays Labor Day afternoon contest.
Games like this energize an entire club. Knowing you are on the threshold of doing something that has never been accomplished in franchise history, and to a person who has meant so much to this team’s escalation towards the top tier of Major League Baseball. During a 2011 season that many thought this Rays club would struggle to even hit .500, Maddon could post his own “500” by this time tomorrow night.
I posted about this great upcoming event in Maddon’s career earlier this weekend and had a few people send me emails and websites showing Maddon posted a 8-14 record back in 1996 while with the Angels that would vault him past the 500 win plateau. But someone I respect and believe wholeheartedly within the Rays Communications Department found me the proof needed to have this great accomplishment still on the horizon for the Rays Republic.
I am so glad that his 1996 mark doesn’t stand the MLB test of time, but maybe it is better just to let you read it for yourselves. “ Joe’s 8-14 record with the Angels in 1996 does not count toward his career record…his 19-10 record with the Angles in 1999 does count toward his record. This is because in 1996 he was the interim manager while the current manager had health issues. In 1999 though, he replaced Terry Collins who resigned.”
I am so glad I was wrong when I sent a email to the Rays Communication Department after a few of you showed me evidence that Maddon could have sped past the 500th win mark, and even more excited to see Maddon had not moved past this important milestone in his managerial career.
I can honestly say with no reservations that when Maddon was originally hired by the Rays back on November 15,2005, I truly did not see this type of fantastic escalation in this club’s win totals in such a short amount of time. Maddon truly has embodied and emerged himself into his “Rays Way” mantra, and the Rays Republic has been able to enjoy the view from the passenger seat.
So Maddon “officially” tonight stands at a respectable 499-479 for his managerial career. including a 480-469 Rays all time franchise record over his 6 seasons with the team. I am extremely glad now that Maddon is the longest tenured and winningest Rays Manager in franchise history, but also that only 6 other MLB Manager have held their positions longer than Maddon.
Since Maddon’s arrival and first victory ( 2-0 ) back in Baltimore on April 6, 2006 we have seen tremendous players mature and grow within the Rays ranks. We have celebrated triumphs beyond our imaginations like a World Series romp in 2008, and felt the stabbing pain of defeat less than a year ago to this same Rangers team in the American League Championship Series. But I would not have missed it for the World.
Has it really only been 5 seasons removed from the last time we posted a 100-loss season ( 2006) and Maddon has changed not only the mindset of this team, but of its fans all around the country. Once the laughingstocks of the American League, Maddon has been one of the key architects to rebuilding this Rays franchise from the clubhouse to the field.
Maddon might not garner any votes outside of Tampa Bay for the 2011 AL Manager of the Year balloting, but think of what everyone else in the country had predicted for this Rays team and you will see Maddon has patched, glued and energized a team that was not thought to even have a chance at being competitive in 2011. Considering the way this team got out of the gate in 2011 at home going 0-ever, the job Maddon has done deserves a long round of applause.
With the next Rays victory Maddon will embark on writing another unique chapter in his managerial history. When Maddon and his Rays begin to race out of the dugout to celebrate upon the turf after the next Rays victory, just as “Johnny Bravo” announces loud and proud to the assembled Rays Republic another Rays victory, hopefully they will be surrounded by a sea of applause and celebration.
500 is a huge number. For some odd reason I think Maddon will downplay the importance of the event as the Rays try and rally towards a post season berth, but inside I know it will mean the world to the Rays skipper if we are all on our feet and celebrate it with him. I know I plan on screaming my lungs out and clapping until my hands hurt….for the best Manager in baseball as he moves past another monumental milestone.