Commentary | Choosing between Maddon and Schiano is an easy task

October 9, 2013 


Geographically, Tropicana Field and Raymond James Stadium are 22.5 miles apart.

Philosophically, the two venues might as well be separated by continents.

It's a reason Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg has been the place to be this week with the Tampa Bay Rays making their fourth postseason appearance in the last six years.

Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a franchise plagued with paranoia and mistrust.

The success of professional franchises is determined greatly by ownership and the coaches or managers they hire.

In that regard, Rays manager Joe Maddon and Bucs head coach Greg Schiano are millenniums apart.

One is fuzzy, warm and an accomplished motivator of men. The other is tyrannical and shows signs of paranoia.

A few questions would define these men.

Who would you rather invite to your child's birthday party?

Who would seek out when you are feeling depressed and in need of encouragement?

Who would you consider a genius at his trade?

We all know the winner, and Maddon might even be the majority's choice to coach the Bucs, though Schiano has devoted his adult life to that sport.

Maddon uses sabermetrics and other numbers to give his team the best chance to win. But he never forgets the human element.

Schiano takes a dictatorial approach that demands players follow his way, rarely showing the flexibility or desire to adjust to his players.

Numerous studies have shown happy teams are more likely to win

What Maddon does so skillfully is differentiate happiness from irresponsibility.

His clubhouse is happy, but not a country club that allows unruliness and indifference like the 2011 Bucs under Raheem Morris or the '11 Boston Red Sox that collapsed from too much beer, chicken and aloofness.

It seems every player in the baseball would love to play for Maddon. It would be hard to find one NFL player wanting to the play for the Bucs right now.

Good chemistry is conducive to winning, and Maddon is the mad scientist who knows how to mix all the ingredients at his disposal.

Schiano gets rid of what he does not like or perceives to be a personal threat. It's why many players who have left are having success elsewhere: Aqib Talib, Kellen Winslow, LeGarrette Blount and Michael Bennett to mention some.

Nondescript players come to Tampa Bay and become Maddon folklore. Some have fantasy-type seasons like Fernando Rodney at age 35.

Baseball teams today seek ways to measure a player's positive chemistry similar to how they try to evaluate hitting and pitching potential.

The Rays frolic with Maddon's antics that have included themed road trips in which his players dress up as nerds or having a penguin at his press conference or bringing a python in the clubhouse.


He videotapes players on the sideline during games to evaluate their attitudes, and his coaches roam the locker room to spy on players.

Maddon respects the sanctity of the player's locker room. Schiano is paranoid about it.

If one player can be a cancer to a team what are the consequences if that "cancerous" person is a manager or head football coach.

It explains in part why Schiano is 0-4 this year and 0-6 in games decided by three points or less.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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