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News » Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-11-29

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-11-29

Tampa Bay Rays Inside Pitch 2008-11-29
Rays manager Joe Maddon was looking ahead to spring training even while sitting behind the desk inside the visiting manager's office at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia before Game 4 of the World Series.

A wild pitch and a throwing error in the bottom of the ninth inning cost the Rays a win the night before in Game 3. The Rays, who rarely beat themselves with mistakes, made a few costly ones during their five-game loss to the Phillies.

The Rays will start training in Port Charlotte, Fla., in February, taking over the rebuilt five-practice-field, one-stadium complex once used by the Rangers. Maddon likes the idea of the Rays' entire spring training programs -- major and minor leagues -- will be in the same site.

That will allow him to travel between the two groups and help him spread the Rays Way message.

"I already have some ideas," Maddon said. "I know what I want to do starting next spring training. We've been at the point where we had to pump everybody up. Then you're going to have to start getting to the point where they've got to understand, 'How do we stay here?' I've been thinking about it."

And ...?

"Probably my major point will be fundamentals next year -- fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals," Maddon said. "It's such an easier sell now to the whole group. They can understand now exactly when you play at this time of the year, how important it is to make plays. And I'm not talking about anything special. I'm talking baserunning, being in the right place on a bunt, backing up a base -- all the things you harp on and harp on. Now you can show them the DVD, postseason 2008, we can point out where all these small -- considered small -- things occurred and how we reacted to them and why it's important to get even better at it."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: November 29, 2008

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