Ex-Ray McClung: I was wrong about Maddon
Pitcher Seth McClung thought he knew a lot during his time with the Rays, so it must have taken a lot for him to write the blog he posted today. In it, McClung admits that he had a chip on his shoulder the whole time he was there, and that he wrong in thinking Joe Maddon and the new regime would fail.
An excerpt from his OnMilwaukee.com post:
"But I was wrong. I never thought Tampa Bay would turn it around. I didn't buy into their new way of doing things. I never thought the number-crunching, funky glasses-wearing guy would turn a team that played in an area that looked like a big top with a team and organization that looked more like a circus - into this power house that it is today."
McClung also writes about the extremely negative attitude around the Rays when he first came up in 2003-05, during the Lou Piniella years:
"I fought my way quickly through the minor leagues but I did everything wrong, at least twice. I was from a small town in West Virginia that did absolutely nothing to prepare me for any of baseball's unwritten -- and written -- rules. I didn't fit into the clubhouse, and I didn't trust anyone in the organization. I had a very "me against the world attitude," and I was going to win at all cost.
Finally, I got to the big leagues and I was surrounded by a bunch of guys who were leftover parts from other teams, or guys finishing up their career, or 22-year-olds like myself. It was a bunch of guys who had to fight for each and every inning pitched in the big leagues, and every at bat. There was no trust or team building. Everyone was interested in only themselves and where they were going out that night."
And he writes that players wanted then Triple-A manager Bill Evers to get the job in 2006 rather than Maddon:
"After a few years, a change in ownership and a new manager came to Tampa. The Rays went out and brought in Joe Maddon, a guy who had been with the Angels for forever as a bench coach. Joe, a wine enthusiast with funky little glasses, was a hit with the media. His presence was different. He had a very new-school approach to things. A lot of "numbers this" and "numbers that." I was hesitant. After all, the guys wanted Bill Evers, the very successful AAA manager, to take over. We had all loved the guy and thought he would lead us the way we were supposed to lead."