BOSTON -- The notion that you call off the dogs when you have a big lead -- or, in baseball terms, you stop sending runners and trying to take extra bases when you're comfortably ahead -- are "old-school rules," according to Joe Maddon. And if there's one thing we know about Joe Maddon, he's not an old-school kind of guy.
So, no, he had no problems with Jacoby Ellsbury stealing a base, or the Red Sox playing hit-and-run, with an 8-2 lead in the eighth inning of a game they eventually won over Maddon's Rays, 12-2, in the ALDS.
"I don't believe in that stuff," said Maddon. "I know that's something that was written, I think, in 19‑ought‑eight, and it's supposed to be adhered to the rest of your life. And part of it is, it is a different game, especially in this ballpark. Back in the day it took six or seven or eight singles in a row to score three or four runs. There were no homers. Today's ballgame there's a lot more homers and you've got the ability to score quickly in this ballpark. So I'm not of that ilk.
"The old-school rules that were written when singles were the norm and homers were not; there's a lot of the game that people get upset about, and part of it is the phrase that 'They are trying to embarrass us.' If they did, that was our fault. Entirely our fault. If you get embarrassed in the game, I blame it on me, us. The accountability lies with the Rays, not the Red Sox doing their job. The object of the game is to score runs, and that's what they were doing.
"Again, I think a lot of those old‑school rules that were written were written based on the type of offense that was played back in the day. And I don't necessarily agree with all of them."
And if the roles were reversed?
"You look for the same opportunities, for them to arise, for you to do the same thing in return," he said. "If you can."