Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Preparing annual 'Thanksmas' meals, Joe Maddon talks of another cause: immigration

Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, left, helps manager Joe Maddon open cans of tomato sauce in the Tropicana Field kitchen Sunday as about 15 volunteers prepare the Thanksmas meal, to be served at local Salvation Army shelters.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, left, helps manager Joe Maddon open cans of tomato sauce in the Tropicana Field kitchen Sunday as about 15 volunteers prepare the Thanksmas meal, to be served at local Salvation Army shelters.

ST. PETERSBURG — The succession of holidays that lasts from November to January offers Americans a chance to indulge two obsessions: food and politics. In steaming kitchens and across crowded dinner tables, debate on the state of the nation isn't hard to find.

So it wasn't surprising that Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon would offer impromptu musings on the country's future Sunday while preparing his annual Thanksmas feast for needy residents of this region.

With the help of Rays coaches and volunteers, Maddon was busy Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field preparing the Italian-Polish spread that will be offered this week at several locations in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater.

Maddon first introduced Thanksmas in 2006 to call attention to homelessness.

His helpers laid iridescent links of hot Italian sausage across oven pans. The sharp aroma of garlic frying in olive oil permeated the kitchen. The Rays manager paused to speak to a reporter about a topic that has been on his mind, as well as that of many politicians: immigration.

After he conducts his Thanksmas meals, Maddon plans to repair to his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. It's a city that has seen a rapid swelling of its Hispanic population in the past decade, bringing tension with some residents who resent their arrival. Maddon's Hazleton Integration Project was created with an eye to resolving those problems.

Along with Maddon, half of the American political firmament is also grappling with immigration. Following their defeat in the 2012 presidential election, which saw pronounced support for the Democratic Party among the country's growing population of Hispanic voters, Republicans are looking for a way to soften their hard-line stance on immigration.

On this front, Maddon has a suggestion that has traditionally been anathema to the GOP base: amnesty for the estimated 11 million immigrants who now reside illegally in the United States.

"I'm all for, almost like, a general amnesty program," Maddon said. "And then you set up laws that take effect at a certain date" to guide immigration policy afterward, he said.

"It's too hard to keep moving backwards," he said. "Let's try to keep moving forward with this."

Maddon, who described himself as a moderate with views that do not neatly align with either major party, declined to say how he had voted in the past presidential election.

"I think we're losing sight of the fact that these people want to be here, and if they want to be here, they probably want to be here as good citizens," he said.

Amid the kitchen bustle, Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn appeared with some bad news: There was no pork. Maddon needed pork. His meatballs are made with equal portions of ground pork and ground beef.

"We need pork," he said.

"We're going to get some pork," Vaughn affirmed, dialing on his cellphone.

Maddon appeared eager to turn from politics to the demands of the kitchen.

"It's all above my pay grade," he said with a shrug. "It's just what I think."

Peter Jamison can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

Preparing annual 'Thanksmas' meals, Joe Maddon talks of another cause: immigration 12/09/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 9, 2012 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Mandarin Hide celebrates 7 years serving craft cocktails in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    ST. PETERSBURG

    With its mascot, a mounted buffalo head named Manny, decked out in streamers and a shiny party hat, the Mandarin Hide celebrated seven years of serving cocktails on Central Avenue last Thursday night.

    Mandarin Hide’s mascot, a buffalo head named Manny, donned streamers and a shiny party hat as the bar celebrated seven years of serving cocktails last week.
  2. Florida education news: Working conditions, school choice, teacher housing and more

    Blogs

    WORK CONDITIONS: Two teachers at a Pinellas County middle school request transfers out, saying the campus has become "hostile and racially charged." The …

    Pinellas Park Middle School
  3. Forecast: Break out those sweaters, Tampa Bay, as cooler weather just a day away

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents will finally be able to break out their sweaters and boots this week, but not until enduring yet another humid, rainy day to start the workweek.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  4. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'

    Celebrities

    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  5. Here's what happened when 30 high school sophomores gave up their phones for a day

    K12

    LUTZ — They were everywhere at Steinbrenner High School. Teens with panic-stricken faces, furiously slapping one thigh, then the other.

    Grace Hayes, 15, left, and Kai'Rey Lewis, 15, talk and text friends after having a discussion about smartphone technology in Tiffany Southwell's English Literature class at Steinbrenner High last week. Southwell asked theme to give up their phones for a day and write about it. For Lewis, the ride home that day "was the longest bus ride in my life." [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]