Maddon another piece of the puzzle

When the news broke Sunday that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had chosen Joe Maddon over incumbent bench coach John McLaren as the team's next manager, it was a sign that the Devil Rays had officially broken with the past and were taking a headfirst slide into the future.

Given the franchise's travails since 1998, selective amnesia might not be such a bad idea.

The Devil Rays have yet to exceed 70 victories or finish within 17 games of first place in the American League East, and fan relations are understandably frayed. New owner Stuart Sternberg has gone to great lengths to repair the rifts caused by the ham-handed Vince Naimoli regime, promising free parking and lower ticket prices as a means of cultivating good will.