Ask Gary: Would Maddon be better than Cash?

by Gary Shelton on June 4, 2016 · 6 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays

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Saturday, 6 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Rays won-loss record is currently 23-30. If Joe Maddon was the manager, instead of Kevin Cash, what would the Rays record be?

Scott Myers

Maddon is a bright, innovative man. So if he were still here, waving his wand, speaking his jargon, things would absolutely be different.

I think they'd be all the way up to 30-23. Whee!

Seeing as how Maddon is a three-time manager of the year, some might expect him to be even better. But the Rays weren't very good (77-85) in Maddon's final year. They looked very much like a club where the window of opportunity had closed. They needed reconstruction.

This current team doesn't have enough speed, enough defense or enough

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pitching for Maddon to work his magic. Remember, a baseball manager probably has less influence on the results than any coach in any sport. Why? There is no free substitution for one reason. Take Victor Hedman out of game, or Gerald McCoy, and you can put them right back. Not so in baseball.

Then, there is this. The Patriots can have Tom Brady throw it 45 times a game, and the Cavs can have LeBron shoot it 40, and the Vikings can have Adrian Peterson run it 35. But Evan Longoria is going to get his five or so at-bats a night. You can't force-feed a player onto the opposition.

Yeah, it's fair to say the Rays would be better with Maddon (and Andrew Friedman). It isn't fair to say they would be the Red Sox.

Are the Rays done or can they pull back into the AL east  Is it time to start focusing on the Bucs?

Rick Martin

They certainly have the look of a team that is done, don't they? The team is grumbling about a lack of leadership, and the defense isn't very good, and the pitching needs work, and the offense either hits a home run or takes the night off.

For the Rays to win 90 games this year, they'd have to finish 67-42. That's a .618 winning percentage. Only the Chicago Cubs are playing better than that now.

I don't see it. The Rays are unlikely to be big spenders at the trade deadline. So where is the help coming from?

I do think the Rays are capable of getting out of the cellar and closing to .500. Any better than that, and I'm saluting the team as a whole.

There's a rumor going around that manager Kevin Cash has ordered new uniforms replacing "Rays" with "We're better than this."

Howard Powders

Yes,. And on the backs, it will say "...No. We're Really Not."

I'll say this for the Rays. They seem to play a lot of close games. On the other hand, they don't seem to win a lot of those games. Other team's bullpens look awfully good against the Rays.

I don't blame Cash for his optimism, though. What else is he going to say? That the team has settled to its proper level? That's no way to keep a job, is it?

Looks like the Penguins are having their way with the Sharks to this point. Does that make it tougher for the Bolts? If I knew I should have (could have) beat a team, and then they move on and are winning, it would make me feel worse about the whole thing.

Cecil DeBald

Maybe slightly. But hockey, like most sports, is really about the matchups. The Penguins have a deep offense, and the Lightning couldn't match their firepower. The Sharks may be able to yet.

I'm sure in their empty moments, the Lightning realize the opportunity it let slip through its hands. That's enough pain. They could be playing in the finals, and then you take your chances. That Pittsburgh may go on and win this thing might make it a bit worse, but only a bit. It's like Oklahoma City if Golden State wins it. No one guarantees that the Thunder would have done the same, but I'm sure the team would like to try.

What with the Pro Bowl moving from Hawaii to Orlando, do you expect Josh Freeman or Johnny Manziel to be starting for the NFC?

Cecil DeBald

I wouldn't expect Freeman and Manziel to start if they moved the game to Beirut.

You do wonder what quarterbacks the league will be stuck with. Heck, an expenses-paid trip to Hawaii wouldn't get people there. Now they're supposed to brave the traffic through Haines City?

How about Geno Smith and Brian Hoyer as your starting quarterbacks.

You can back up either one.

I've noticed this in the NFL and the NHL. Why do officials who call games all season suddenly say "let them play" in the playoffs and finals? If "let them play" is better than calling a lot of potential penalties, why not do it like that during the regular season? And if it isn't better, why do it in the playoffs?

Cecil DeBald

I agree with you completely. If it's holding in Week Three, it should be holding in the playoffs. If it's slashing in Week Three, it should be slashing in the playoffs. Why on earth should the rules be any different?

The concept is that refs will let the players decide it, not let a game be determined by a tricky-tacky call. But coaches and players lose their jobs over ticky-tack calls. Call it the same way. Right?

Do you think that Brian Anderson's remarks will have any effect on the Rays?

Jim Willson

Well, the Rays were going to say something, but they could get anyone to lead the protest.

I'm kidding, of course. But I don't expect it to be a problem at all, which is kind of the point. If the Rays had real leadership, someone would call him on it.

Personally, I was glad to hear an announcer chastise a bad team on a bad streak. Most of the time, the announcers speak as if they're going to be paid by the team at the next commercial. A bad team has never had so many great players who were just waiting to bust out.

Look, with the teams I've been a fan of, or even a follower, I want to hear the real truth. If a guy can't play, say it. If the pitching stinks, say it. I'm a big boy. I can agree or disagree. This la-de-da stuff is for amateurs.

This may have been written about ad nauseam, but what are your thoughts on Barry Bonds as hitting coach for Miami? I think I'm looking for some kind of irony there, but of course, there may not be any. It could also be that it's just time to leave it alone.

Veronica Richardson

If you're fair, you''d have to say that Bonds has done a decent job. That's hard to get the words out of my mouth, because Bonds was a jerk as a player. Even he has said he was dumb in his approach. He alienated fans, teammates and media -- the Triple Crown.

That said, I don't give a lot of credit, or blame, to hitting coaches. I've called them the quarterback caoches of baseball. They may see something on film, and they are important for drill work. But Joe Montana never threw a touchdown pass because of his quarterback coach (who was Sam Wyche for a long time).

Teams with good hitters hit. Teams with bad hitters don't. It's always been that way.

The Marlins have some good young hitters. But they aren't hitting because of Bonds. Still, he's been a better gu;y than I anticipated.

I was so hoping the passing of Prince would have nothing to do with drugs, which serious pain can and on occasion does lead to. And once again abuse has reared its ugly head. Why are we not surprised these days when things like this occur? It's become that sometimes the surprise is when it doesn't.

Vernonica Richardson

Wow. A non-sports question! I get to show how worldy I am, huh?

I liked Prince, too. And I, too, was disappointed that drugs played a part in his death. The same as I was with Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley and about a thousand other rock stars.

Veronica, I'm no expert on drugs. But I think when so many famous people die because of them, it reflects what a crutch they have become in society. My daughter went to a concert in Tampa a couple of weeks ago, and dozens of kids were treated at the hospital. I think two died.

When drugs are involved, to me, there is an extra sadness of a life wasted. There are songs we'll never get to hear. But in the end, they're gone. It's like the debate of the cause of David Bowie's death. Does it really matter in the end?

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