We've had some fun with Joe Maddon around here. We've made fun of his emo glasses, we've called him a yuppie, and I've said privately that he's probably really into arugula. I've never thought of the man as particularly intense, just kind of a hip baseball grandpa. But apparently he let down the cool guy facade and directed a minor tirade at his team this weekend.
For the first time in his three-season reign, Maddon ripped into his team, delivering a brief but pointed message. Several players said he was obviously "hot,'' another described him as "borderline irate - for Joe."Way to tear it up, Joseph. Since these things are usually held behind closed doors it's always tough to get a grasp on what was said, but Maddon tried to shed a little light on his state of mind.
"It was something that really needed to be said,'' LHP Scott Kazmir said. "It really needed to be said.''
The fiery speech was brief, less than two minutes, but very much to the point.
"I've done it on an individual basis, and I still believe that's the right way to do it. But at some point it had to be done within the group, because you can lose a pennant by one game, and I've been there. Every game matters, every game counts, every play counts. The assumptionists of the world, I would like to eradicate. I want to eradicate assumptionism.''Someone either slipped something in his San Pellegrino or he's unprepared for success. That wasn't even English, Keith. That was like Esperanto or some language twins teach each other.
Maddon's message was a reinforcement of what it is on the inspirational T-shirts he distributed earlier this season, that it takes nine players playing hard to nine innings to be one of the eight teams that make the playoffs. "9 = 8, or else we ain't going there,'' he said Sunday.