Angels manager Joe Maddon is considered one of the best managers in baseball. He is unconventional. One time he made his lineup according to the position that player was playing. When you score a game, the pitcher is position 1. So, he batted his pitcher first. The catcher is 2, his catcher that day batted second.
His lineup was Pitcher, Catcher, First Baseman, Second Baseman, Third Baseman, Short Stop, Left Fielder, Center Fielder, Right Fielder.
He’s Joe Maddon.
Last night, he was Joe Maddon again.
He called for an intentional walk of Corey Seager. With bases loaded. And, with his team losing. The Rangers were winning 3-2 at that point. That intentional walk made it 4-2. The Rangers went on to score two more runs that inning and take a 6-2 lead.
The intentional walk made no sense at all. In fact, in the long, storied history of baseball, it had happened only eight times. Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked with bases loaded in 2008. And Barry Bonds was intentionally walked with bases loaded in 1998. Before that, it happened back in 1944.
So, Corey Seager is in rare air. Bonds and Hamilton both won MVPs. They were among the most feared hitters of their day.
After the game, Maddon said, “I thought by walking Seager it would avoid the big blow. And, just to stir up the group, quite frankly.” Which is manager speak for, he didn’t realize bases were loaded.
It paid off in the end. The five runs the Rangers got that inning they gave right back. And more.
But this isn’t a year about winning. It’s a year about bringing excitement back to Rangers baseball. This team is generating offense. That is fun to watch.
Even when that offense is generated by the opposing manager.