by Ryan Adams
There's always been something different about Rays skipper, Joe Maddon. It's been evident since he first took over in the duggout way back in 2006 that he was going to change the culture - and winning percentage - of this franchise forever. Well on this recent six-game homestand for the Rays, he proved it maybe more than ever.
A magician, a DJ, a cockatiel, and most recently a couple of penguins from the Florida Aquarium all made their way into the Rays clubhouse on gameday in an effort to boost the team's morale after a forgettable 2-7 road trip. Tampa Bay Times Rays beat reporter Marc Topkin was on with Tom Jones and Rick Stroud Thursday morning to talk a bit about how the players and staff have reacted to the new antics by "JoMa."
"Some people in the group think it's really cool," Topkin said. "Some people in the group are ambivalent. Some people in the group roll their eyes and look the other way."
But is it really a surprise to anyone who has been in this organization over the course of the last seven years? Maddon has been, well, Maddon sine day one. He's "JoMa." He's the mad scientist who had over 150 different lineups last season alone. He's the man who spouts phrases that you'd never think would make any sense to anyone outside of his own head, but they just sound so...cool coming from him. He's Joe Maddon and he is who he is. He's the only man alive who has taken the Rays to the World Series. He's the only man alive who has the Rays winning more games since 2010 than anyone else in baseball aside from the Yankees and Phillies.
"Is it unexpected by the Rays' people given some of the stuff that they've done and that Joe's done over the years - not really," Topkin said. "Some people like it, some people think it's weird. That's the simplest way to put it."
Hear the entire conversation with Marc Topkin on the Sports Page with Tom Jones and Rick Stroud below!
620 WDAE beat reporter Steve Carney conrtibuted to this story.