Maddon to Rays fans: Can you root for us instead of Jeter?
Maddon: How about you stop cheering Jeter and root for home team?
They love Derek Jeter in Tampa, but Rays manager Joe Maddon would appreciate it if his team felt some of that love.
Steve Nesius / FR69810 AP
By Anna Fogel NESN
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon was not a fan of his fans cheering on Derek Jeter during Saturday afternoon's game against the New York Yankees.
The Yankees shortstop has received ovations from ballparks all around the league this season during his farewell tour, but the love was certainly amplified at Tropicana Field this weekend, and Maddon took notice.
The Trop was sold out for the first time this season since the Rays' home opener with the home crowd giving Jeter an extended standing ovation before his first at-bat. The cheers only increased when Jeter singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning, leading Maddon to go on a mini-rant about his fans cheering for an opposing player.
"Yeah, it's great," Maddon said, via MLB.com. "It's great that it's sold out. And I understand that the people like Derek Jeter. But you've got to come out and root for the Rays, too, you understand. I mean, I totally understand what's going on. But I'm not going to sit here and defend all of that noise in the Yankees' favor in our ballpark. I'm not going to defend that. So we're going to come out and root for the Rays. We'd appreciate that."
The extra cheers for the shortstop, who described the atmosphere as "almost like a home game," should have been expected, though.
Not only is the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa, but Jeter also owns a multimillion-dollar home on the waterfront -- not to mention the number of retired New Yorkers who now call Tampa home.
The Yankees will visit the Trop one more time in the middle of September, and something tells us Maddon isn't going to be pleased with the cheers Jeter receives in his last regular-season series in Tampa Bay.