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Rays manager Joe Maddon: Red Sox ‘[flipped] their culture back’

10.07.13 at 5:24 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Rays manager Joe Maddon, prior to Game 3 of the American League Division Series, suggested that the 2013 Red Sox are a very different team from their immediate predecessors. While there have been numerous personnel changes to the Red Sox roster since a 2008 season when the Rays beat Boston in the American League Championship Series and even since 2011, when Tampa Bay beat out the Sox for a wild card spot on the final day of the season, Maddon said that it is not the individual players but rather the overall change to the character of the Red Sox that is most notable from his vantage point.

“Obviously we were, and I think I read it at some point — and I do read once in a while — that we were a punching bag for a while.  And eventually we stopped being their punching bag, or the Yankees‘ punching bag. Since 2008 I think it’s kind of flipped obviously, and that moment, then, when we were able to beat them in the Championship Series, to move on to the World Series, that was pretty impressive,” said Maddon. “And that turned everything around around here.  But even moving beyond that, the comeback from a couple of years ago when we had that really huge deficit in September, able to overcome that, and then eventually overtake them, that was pretty significant, also.

“I think in the recent past, regular season and playoffs, we’ve done pretty well against them.  Their team this year is different in the sense that there’s a lot of new faces there.  And a big part of it is beyond numbers, these guys have great makeup and character.  That’s the thing about this particular group that I find most formidable. I’ve spoken about [Jonny Gomes] and about [Mike Napoli] and [Shane Victorino] in the past. There’s a big difference to me in regards to this kind of guy, this kind of player, because their numbers aren’t always going to be overwhelming. But I know what they do in the clubhouse and the locker room.

“I think right now what you’re seeing, which you saw this year, is them flipping their culture back based on a lot of personalities right there.  We’re facing a different kind of foe particularly right now, I believe, than we had in the past, even though they were very, very good.  This group presents a little bit differently. Historically I think we eventually had our breakthrough with them in 2008.  The big comeback, what was that ’11?  I don’t know what that was ‘€‘’€‘ and what’s going on right now.  They had their way with us this year.  We’ve got to figure this out fast, man.  But I think a big part of their turnaround this year, is really the contributions of some personalities as much as anything else.”

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