ST. PETERSBURG -- Tuesday marked a reunion of sorts for Mets manager Terry Collins and Rays manager Joe Maddon, who was Collins' bench coach for three years with the Angels in the late 1990s.
Both men reflected on their days in Anaheim, where they helped revolutionize the defensive overshift strategies that Maddon's Rays now employ more often than any team in baseball. A pioneer in advanced baseball thinking, Maddon convinced his former boss to use extreme shifts against dangerous pull hitters, most notably Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr.
"That's how that pretty much began with the shifting," Maddon said. "I had his support to do it, and because of that, it was easy. Then after that, it just started to become more and more."
Collins recalled interviewing Maddon for a position on his coaching staff and noting that "his organizational skills were off the charts."
"This was at the beginning of the computer age as far as research and statistical information," Collins said, "and he was on top of it all."
The two kept in touch after Collins was dismissed in Anaheim, with Maddon eventually landing a big league managing job in Tampa Bay and Collins resurfacing last year with the Mets.
"I want him to do well," Maddon said. "I've been reading about stuff. I've been following stuff. I've got the iPad with all the different New York papers. Really, that's a big part of why I read them, just to see how T.C. was doing."