The world has turned virtually unpredictable since March 12, the day Major League Baseball and many other sports entities shut down due to the coronavirus.
Hence it’s a relief to know that anyone who knows Joe Maddon could have correctly predicted what the Angels manager would be up to. Even during this time of sheltering in place, the 66-year-old is putting himself out there (in a way that respects our social-distancing protocols).
“Once we shut her down, my thoughts went to, ‘How do I help impact this in an optimistic and positive way?’” Maddon said Friday in a telephone conversation with The Post. “By remaining silent, I have no chance to do that other than texting with coaches and players. We had built so much great momentum in spring training, with the Angels specifically and baseball overall, I wanted to do whatever I could to help maintain that momentum that we’ve built.”
For Maddon, that means sharing his naturally high-energy, upbeat approach by using the communications means of the time. By the middle of next week, he will have met virtually with 12 different groups, including the Miracle League of Arizona, a collection of MBA students at Harvard, employees from the Baseball Hall of Fame and Merrill Lynch. He has participated in two virtual cocktail parties with Angels season-ticket holders and, by wearing a GoPro camera while riding his bicycle, provided content for the Angels’ YouTube channel.
Furthermore, by next week, Maddon’s Respect 90 Foundation will be donating $120,000 for COVID-19 relief in Southern California, Tampa (where Maddon still has a home from his time managing the Rays) and his hometown of Hazelton, Penn.
Said Maddon, who is living in his RV in Long Beach, Cal.: “I feel like there’s a responsibility in the position that we’re in to stay out there and provide optimistic and positive messaging.”
That responsibility will not go away if baseball returns this year, and Maddon hopes that this shelter-in-place period will help his fellow baseballers appreciate the value of even a remote encounter with fans. Going back to his days with the Rays, Maddon has Skyped with young fans during the day.
“I’ve been trying to get MLB to buy into it and trying to get guys interested,” Maddon said. “In April, when kids are still in school, a guy can speak to a class at 10 a.m. from his hotel room or in his kitchen, and we can have such an impact. That’s just us (the Angels). That’s one team. Times 30, what does that do to a young boy or girl when they get to interact with Mike Trout or Aaron Judge? It’s a heavy, positive impact,
“I’m going to continue to do it, and we have done it. I would love to see it on a greater scale, with a larger-scale organizational platform by using Zoom, Google, all these different platforms.”
Maddon always has maximized his platform. A frightening new world sure as heck wasn’t going to change that.
–This week’s Pop Quiz Question came from Gary Mintz of South Huntington: In the opening scene of the 1982 film “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” a newspaper headline states that a certain MLB team has lost again. Name the team.
–The entertainment website DenOfGeek.com has recently released a new digital series called “MLB The Show (The Show)” which focuses on the new, esports MLB Players League. Among the featured guests has been former Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa, co-hosts our “Amazin’ But True” podcast.
–The newest episode of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” features a segment exploring the role that sports played in spreading COVID-19. Among those interviewed is Eireann Dolan, the wife of Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle.
–The Sing Sing Prison Museum has acquired a baseball acquired by Babe Ruth.
–Your Pop Quiz Answer is the Dodgers. If you have a tidbit that connects baseball to popular culture, please send it to me at email@example.com.