Maddon Celebrates his Fifth Thanks-Mas Celebration

 

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It is an event where velocity and speed are measured with sweat and muscle instead of a JUGS gun. It is a combination of the holiday celebrations that within the last five years has been a welcome relief from the cold harsh realities that face this region. The warmth and comfort surrounding the gathering is not only felt from the heat of ovens and stenos but from the laughter and compassion shown by one of the Tampa Bay area’s biggest hearts.

When the temperature begin to dip a bit here in Florida, it is a key signal that it is time again for the mass of Tampa Bay Rays office staff, players, broadcaster and coaches to assemble with their leader, Rays Manager Joe Maddon to begin the joyous holiday tradition of Maddon’s “Thanks-Mas” celebration.

This holiday season, Maddon and his every increasing band of Merry Men and Women will again assemble at the kitchens deep within the confines of Tropicana Field on Monday to begin the preparations on their annual Italian holiday feast of providing hundreds of portions of authentic Maddon inspired classics such as his Mother Beanie’s succulent meatball recipe and home made pierogies.

As usual, Maddon and his crew will prepare, transport and serve the meals to the less fortunate at the Salvation Army locations in Fort Myers (12/14), St. Petersburg (12/15) and Tampa (12/16). Maddon will also expand his journey this year to one more special location when he ventures to the local St. Petersburg Sallie House, on December 13,2010.

The Sallie House is a local St. Petersburg safe haven for children up to the ages of 11 who have been removed from their current homes because of expected abuse, neglect or abandonment. Children may stay at the Sallie House as long as needed – for a few hours or even several months – until they children can be safely reunited with their parents, placed with supportive relatives, or taken into a local foster home or adopted by a loving family.

 

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(Rays Radio Host Dave Willis) Photo: RVaughn/Raysbaseball.com

Doesn’t seem like it has only been five seasons since Maddon came to the Rays as their Manager and instituted this ever increasing holiday fest that has grown in size, importance and is a highly anticipated event by the community and the Rays each Winter. Over the past four celebrations, Maddon and his Rays elfs have helped feed over 3,000 Tampa Bay citizens who might be struggling or displaced by the region’s economic struggles. Each year you can see Maddon enthusiastically orchestrating both the kitchens and the serving area like a conductor on the podium.

This season some of the guests of Thanks-Mas will also be given the gift of a Tampa Bay Rays ” Hoodie” sweatshirt . The clothing item was made famous by Maddon when MLB sent a notice to Maddon following him wearing the royal blue colored hooded sweatshirt during a televised Rays versus Boston Red Sox series at Fenway Park in April 2010. Several later “Hoodie-gate” was resolved and Maddon again was seen on the dugout steps wearing the royal blue pullover hooded sweatshirt during the Chicago White Sox series.

 
 

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RVaughn/Raysbaseball.com 

“Thanksmas” can actually be found in the Urban Dictionary as ” a non-religious holiday observed by friends, not family who are unable to be together for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.” What could be more appropriate this time of year than getting together with co-workers celebrating the past years successes and failures along with the invitation of great food.

Maddon take his annual celebration to the next level by doing all of the grocery shopping and visually supervises the cooking firsthand so that the integrity and authenticity of his past holiday memories forged in Hazelton, Pennsylvania can be enjoyed equally by his old and new friends within the Tampa Bay community. I know it is a Rays post season celebration I look forward to every year not for the food and possible gifts, but for the pure joy of giving and sharing with a community Maddon also calls home.
 
 

12 Comments

Virginia,
Everyone in the kitchen last year had that style of Rays Santa hat upon their head. Was a great bit of seasonal accent, and a great collectible.
I got to tell you, the meatballs and his homemade marinara were super, but the home filled pierogies with clarified butter also just seemed to melt down into your stomach like velvet pillows.
Great to see the Rays have a figurehead who is showing the community love during the off season.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Aww that’s really nice of Joe Maddon. What a wonderful time of year. And I like his hat. I have a Yankee Santa hat.
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

Jane,
It is one of many small innovations and ideas that have crept out of Maddon’s cranial cavity and taken the Rays Republic by storm.
But his eye towards charity and unity in this community is so far above the bar. Giving back to the community because of the blessing that have come to you sounds inspirational when spoken to the masses. But taking that first step and reaching out with your hands open shows the honesty and passion to make words into actions.
For that you gotta love Joe.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Really great job by Maddon to initiate the program to help others in the community at this time of year. Says a lot about his character.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

RR,
I love Maddon more now! Wonderful event with great causes. I love the picture of the Turkey with the glasses to resemble him.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

What a fantastic tradition! Maddon and the Rays really give back and it’s lovely to read about. This is a big part of why I love MLBlogs – I might never learn about neat stuff like this going on in other parts of the country otherwise.
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

Emma,
I was talking with a friend who played on the Angels team before Maddon came to Tampa Bay and he told me Maddon was very “giving” and truly feel blessed by the success he has found within the game.
So glad he decided to do this also, because this time of year can be the worst for people less fortunate and without relatives or loved ones near.
Great to see the Rays skipper remember his humble beginnings and treats this area to the food of his youth.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Now THIS is the sorta thing one needs to hear about during the offseason. Good job, Maddon!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Jeff,
Maddom and his band of merry Rays workers are in the kitchens right now at Tropicana Field getting ready for his first stop at 5 pm today.
It does warm the cockles of your heart to hear this kind of generous adventure in the cold harsh winds of Winter.
But since it is the season of giving, I might have another couple “feel good” stories up my sleeves for the next few weeks.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenengade.mlblogs.com

Congrats on Number 2 my friend. You’ve written the best blog on MLBlogs for a long time and I love seeing you get your due. I always appreciate when you visit the Rant as you always have something positive to say or a little tidbit of history to share with me and my readers. Keep it roll’n as I see big things for you in the future. Happy Holidays my brotha…”D”
http://baseballsnatcher.mlblogs.com/

Blithe,
I always try and throw a few curveballs of my own during my posts. It has become a bit of my style to try and find things people would not know unless they popped up my blog.
Always fun to find the odd and unusual so I can throw it up for everyone to (hopefully) enjoy.
Glad I can give you some Rays stuff you might never see if you did not pop up MLBlogs.com

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

D,
Thank you for that glowing compliment, but I believe we have all gotten better with time.
You know I come to your slice of the baseball world because I like your style. The wisdom is just a extra pickle on the side of the triple cheeseburger (lol).
Not sure about the future, but I will keep writing as long as I have a WiFi access somewhere.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

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