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Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon Is One Serious Wino

You wouldn’t expect it, but Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon loves his wine. I mean he’s downright serious about it.

What’s that? I’m sorry. Is “wino” not the correct term ? You know, for someone who not only loves wine but also possesses tremendous knowledge regarding wines as well? You say we should refer to him as an amateur sommelier of sorts, you say? Whatever, man. That sounds like a made up word if you ask me. I’m sticking with wino.

Anyhoo, when Maddon isn’t answering questions about his star player’s affinity for possessing only the finest and most dangerous of assault rifes, he enjoys dabbling a bit in the many faceted arena of wine tasting – personally, I’ll take a bottle of Boone’s Farm, but I’m a simple-minded fellow. Maddon’s love of wine is so renowned in the Tampa area that he was recently asked by a local newspaper to come up with a list of his favorites, a task he was more than eager to do. And to add a baseball spin to it, Maddon was to come up with his list as if he was preparing a lineup (see Maddon’s list here).

But why the passion? The interest? The, dare I say, obsession? Via Tampa Bay Online:

Ask about his favorite wines and you’re likely to get a rundown on the bottle, the vintage, the vineyard and the grower. When Maddon talks wine, it sounds like a ballclub general manager talking about a prospect or a new free agent he just picked up for the team. He not only buys a bottle, he visits the vineyard. He gets to know the owner. If he’s going to be a fan, he’s going all the way in.

The wine appreciation comes from his decades with the Angels organization in California. During one season, Maddon and pitcher Paul Byrd went on search for the best bottle under $25. Each find was celebrated like a gift on Christmas morning.

Wow. He sure does take this stuff seriously. Who knew winos were able to enjoy the subtler aspects of drinking wine? That’s right. I’m sticking with wino. Deal with it.

Get your wine starting lineup with Joe Maddon’s picks [Tampa Bay Online]