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Feud between Rays' Maddon, Nationals' Johnson is best summer entertainment in years

On the surface, it sounds like baseball’s version of “Grumpy Old Men.”

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon is still steaming about his reliever, Joel Peralta, being ejected for having pine tar on his glove in Tuesday’s 5-4 Rays’ win over the Washington Nationals. Most of his wrath is directed at Nats manager Davey Johnson, whom he disdainfully accused of using “inside information” to have the umpires check his pitcher and get him ejected. Peralta played for the Nationals in 2010.

Maddon has gone on and on about this the past two days. He’s called Johnson all sorts of nasty names which unfortunately can’t be printed here.

(I say unfortunately because it’s actually pretty funny hearing the quirky, eclectic Maddon, often referred to as the brainiest guy in baseball, using the kind of gutter language you’d hear from a 12-year-old during his first playground fight.)

And his main argument seems to be: so what if my guy cheated? Let the players on both teams handle it. Don’t be pointing it out to the umps like some kind of grade-school tattle-tale.

Johnson, for his part, has seemed both irritated and amused by the whole controversy. At first he simply pointed out that a pitcher loading pine tar in his glove is a no-no. And he told Maddon to “read the rulebook."

But now the rhetoric between the two has escalated. Johnson called Maddon a “weird wuss” Wednesday. He also offered to put his advanced degree up against any advanced degree the cerebral Maddon has.

But my favorite Johnson comeback was this: he ripped the 58-year-old Maddon for being too active on Twitter.

Ooooh, too active on Twitter! That’s really low, isn’t it? Is that the 2012 version of saying something nasty about a guy’s mother?

Can’t wait to hear Maddon’s response.

Maybe he’ll rip the 69-year-old Johnson for not being on Facebook enough.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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