Maddon: Treatment of Tito 'almost criminal'

by: Rob Bradford on Thu, 10/27/2011 - 4:21am

Speaking from his home in Huntington Beach, Calif., Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon came out in support of Terry Francona, declaring the treatment of the former Red Sox manager after he parted ways with Boston to be "almost criminal."

"Terry did nothing wrong. Terry is wonderful. Terry as a manager is excellent, and as a person he is even better than that," Maddon told "So to have people saying this stuff is really disappointing.

"It's almost criminal. It reeks of a set-up. It smells bad. I feel badly for the guy. I don't know him really well, but I know him. I know the players and how they think about him. it's a shame that he has to go through this."

Asked which piece of the drama surrounding the Red Sox since their historic September collapse was most shocking, Maddon again brought up Francona.

"The biggest surprise is how anybody could say anything bad about Terry Francona," the Rays' manager explained. "That just blows me away. It's not just a manager defending a manager, but this is a guy who has done wonderful things for that organization and that city. Somebody else who was a good teammate should have said something earlier. Of course it's Terry's responsibility ultimately, but if everybody is doing their job that stuff is squashed well before it got to that point. That's just true. For me, to have Terry in any shape or form be victimized or become this polarizing figure just makes no sense. That's the part that I find disturbing. I do consider Boston a wonderful baseball town with a great history and a lot of intelligence about the game. That part to me makes no sense. There's a great disconnect there for me, and that's the disappointing aspect that I've been reading about."

When asked about his thoughts about listening to an offer from the Red Sox if they did ask permission from the Rays to talk, Maddon insisted there would be no need to enter into any such discussions.

"Honestly, I love where I work and who I work with," said the 57-year-old, who is signed through 2012. "I did interview for the job several years ago and I was really excited about that opportunity. But right now, at this point in my life, there's no other place I would rather be than the Tampa Bay Rays. I mean that sincerely. Ownership. Front office. Players. Coaching staff. I can not ask for a better situation. There isn't a better situation. And it isn't always about money. For me it isn't always about money. I really am humbled by that thought, but at the end of the day I am a Ray and I want to be a Ray."

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