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Maddon holds meeting with his ‘Lead Bulls’

Posted Mar 31, 2012 by Roger Mooney

Updated Mar 31, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Rays manager Joe Maddon held a meeting Saturday with those players he identifies as leaders, calling it his “Lead Bull” meeting.

The name is borrowed from James Michener’s 1974 novel, “Centennial,” which includes a chapter detailing how the Native Americans would start a buffalo stampede by getting the lead bull to run toward a cliff. The heard would follow, fall off the cliff and die, providing the Native Americans with food and clothing.

“My point is to get the lead bulls running in the right direction, to have our guys all on the same page,” Maddon said.

The group included newcomers Luke Scott, Jose Molina, Fernando Rodney and Jeff Keppinger along with Evan Longoria, James Shields and B.J. Upton.

The meeting was on open discussion.

“I think a lot of things I believe should be open for discussion so I want to discus,” Maddon said. “Our guys were great. They did not disappoint. They were fabulous.”

Maddon said he held the meeting once before since taking over the Rays, back in either 2006 or 2007.

“It might have been ’06 because I really was big believer in it, but I didn’t think there was a right mix of people,” Maddon said. “There’s probably been a right mix over the last couple of years. I could have done it. But I thought truly this year the veterans that we have, some of the new veterans that we have in the clubhouse, it’s really important to get them on board and understand what we do here quickly and also that I understand them better, too. For me it’s a great exercise.”

Maddon said the meeting is an avenue for him to better learn his players and share ideas.

“Never having been a major league player I’ve learned lot from major league players, as much as anybody else since I’ve been doing this,” he said. “I try to never miss an opportunity to be taught, and to sit down with the guys like that I think is very educational for me, too.”

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