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Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon complimented on glasses, style by President Barack Obama

ST. LOUIS — There's a big name to add to the list of fans of manager Joe Maddon's funky glasses: President Barack Obama.

When Obama came into the AL clubhouse before Tuesday's All-Star Game, the first thing he did was compliment Maddon on his now-iconic black-rimmed frames and laud him for being MLB's "stylish" manager.

He then congratulated Maddon on the Rays' success, and Maddon returned the praise: "I said, 'By they way, congratulations to you also. You're doing a pretty good job also.' "

Maddon also returned the compliment, saying: "He's always had a good eye for fashion. I think he's one of the more stylish world leaders myself."

The meeting was very relaxed and casual, Maddon said, because Obama, wearing jeans and sneakers, made it that way. After they chatted, Obama went around the room, shaking hands with every player and signing a few balls, which the players had been told was against the rules.

Obama is a huge White Sox fan, as evidenced by the jacket he wore, but Maddon plans to send him a Rays 9=8 shirt.

SPECIAL SOUVENIR: Players got special All-Star equipment, autographed balls, gift bags that included free iPods and rings for being in the game.

But INF Ben Zobrist took home a treasured memento: the ball he caught for the final out of the game.

Zobrist offered it first to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who earned his record fourth All-Star save. "He said he'd like it, but if I want it, I can have it," Zobrist said Wednesday. "So I have it."

BACK TO WORK: The Rays reconvene in Kansas City for a workout tonight, though the five All-Star players are excused. The season resumes Friday with the start of a 10-game road trip against the Royals, White Sox and Blue Jays.

SHUT OUT: The Rays didn't win any of the three ESPY awards they were up for in a show taped Wednesday to air at 9 p.m. Sunday. 3B Evan Longoria was nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete, Maddon as Best Coach/Manager and the ALCS win as Best Upset.

MINOR MATTERS: Durham SS Reid Brignac went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and RHP Dale Thayer pitched 12/3 shutout innings for the International League team in Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star Game in Portland.

MISCELLANY: Rays LF Carl Crawford was the first position player to win the MVP award without scoring or driving in a run. … It was the first All-Star Game without a home run, and the first with no player having more than one hit, since 1999. … The 18 consecutive batters retired by AL pitchers were the second most; the NL got 20 in a row in 1968. … Maddon said it wasn't a coincidence that the three position players he didn't have a chance to use were the ones added to the roster as replacements: Nelson Cruz, Chone Figgins and Carlos Peña.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon complimented on glasses, style by President Barack Obama 07/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 16, 2009 6:40am]
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