Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon is no stranger to the unorthodox—and his managerial decisions have given him a reputation for not being afraid to go against the grain.
In Friday’s game against the Texas Rangers with the bases loaded and Corey Seager coming up to hit, Maddon signaled for the intentional walk with one out in the fourth inning.
The move guaranteed the Rangers a run and the walk was followed up by a sacrifice fly before Angels reliever Austin Warren balked in another run to extend the Rangers’ lead to three runs.
Maddon defended the decision saying there was more than one factor that went into his perplexing move to give Seager the Barry Bonds treatment, via Sam Blum of the Athletic:
“The numbers are one thing,” the veteran manager said after the game, which the Angels won 9-6 over the Rangers. “Human beings are something completely different. And for me, the human element right there required what we did.”
“Absolutely it was surprising,” Warren said of his skipper’s decision. “But, I mean, I’m not gonna tell Joe Maddon no.”
Maddon also explained he was looking to limit the damage by not allowing the Rangers’ best player and 2020 World Series MVP to beat them, he said via Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
Joe Maddon said he was trying "avoid the big blow" by walking Seager, and also "just to stir the group up, quite frankly… I thought by going out there and doing something like that, the team might respond."
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 16, 2022
While the controversial move immediately backfired, it ended up not mattering at the end of the game as the Angels went on to win 9-6.
However, if the offense did not respond by picking up their manager after his head-scratching move, Maddon would have to answer to why he allowed the opposing team to increase their lead without throwing a pitch.
Maddon makes history
When Maddon made the move, he became one of just seven managers in history to issue a bases loaded intentional walk. It was previously done five times in the regular season and one time in the World Series.
Furthermore, he became the second manager ever to call for an intentional walk with the bases loaded while trailing in a game, and the first to do it since Aug. 2, 1881 when it was done by Jim O’Rourke of the Buffalo Bisons.
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