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Maddon changes stance on Escobar’s home run guesture

Posted May 21, 2013 by Roger Mooney

Updated May 21, 2013 at 06:40 PM

ROGER MOONEY
TORONTO Rays manager Joe Maddon backtracked Tuesday on his comments concerning Yunel Escobar’s gesture while crossing home plate Monday after his ninth inning home run against the Blue Jays.

Maddon said after the game that he would talk to Escobar, adding, “I’m certain you’re not going to see that again.”

Apparently, you will.

Escobar occasionally makes the safe sign when he steps on the plate, which he did Monday. Maddon said he was not aware of it.

Now, Maddon encourages it.

“He does do that, as I found out, quite often after home runs,” Maddon said. “Some people point to the sky, he shows a safe sign. It’s one of those things people are going to interpret according to their own prejudices or thoughts or judgmental opinions. For me, I love the way he is. I want him to remain the way he is. He did nothing wrong.”

Escobar, when asked Tuesday if he talked to Maddon, became upset that the gesture had become an issue.

Escobar, who played for the Jays from 2010 to 2012, was booed by the Rogers Centre crowd throughout the game, something that contributed to his gesture at the end of the home run.

“Part of it, it seems a lot of times when a good player comes back to Toronto he gets booed here, even though they have played here well in the past and given this town some really good effort,” Maddon said. “Regardless of that I’ve been around some players in the past who were booed and I don’t quite understand that sometimes. I thought Yunel did a great job yesterday in the game. I loved his home run, and I’m never going to subtract from his celebratory manner.”

Maddon has said since December when the Rays acquired Escobar from Miami in a trade that he likes the “chrome” in Escobar’s game.

“I love his animation,” Maddon said before Tuesday’s game.

And those he started some of the fallout Monday by saying he would put a stop to Escobar’s celebration, Maddon came to Escobar’s defense Tuesday.

“He did nothing wrong,” Maddon said. “People that want to say that he did. That’s a fabrication on somebody’s part based on your own personal judgments, period.”

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