Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon praised fans of the Detroit Tigers prior to today’s game, explaining the appreciation that he holds for the rich baseball tradition that the Motor City enjoys.
He invoked several past great players while discussing his admiration of the Old English D, along with one particular beloved late broadcaster.
“Detroit is a great baseball city, tremendous tradition,” he explained. “As a kid growing up, I knew everything about them. I’ve gotten to know Willie Horton. I knew Al Kaline. All these guys, my God, Alan Trammell, (Lou) Whitaker, all these guys are really outstanding.”
“This city has had a wonderful tradition of baseball and I think they appreciate it,” he continued. “They understand what he’s doing. What they saw him do last night is highly unusual and they may not see it for a long, long time again. It’s not surprising that the people here would do that.
“They were raised by Ernie Harwell, another wonderful man that I got to know here,” he said of the fans.
Of course, anyone who grew up listening to Tigers broadcasts immediately garnered a fond appreciation of Ernie Harwell. But for Maddon, it goes beyond memories of merely hearing his voice.
“He used to sit with me in the dugout here,” he said. “He treated you like you were something special, the little bench coach, just trying to fight my way through everything. He’d sit there and engage you in conversations and make you feel like you’re a big deal on this team. He had a gift. It’s not unlike Vin Scully. I’ve had a chance to know Vin, too. They really bring something out of you or make you feel possible more important that you actually are.”
– – Quotes via Brad Galli Link – –