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LA Angels seek divine intervention with signing of Italian American manager Joe Maddon

With a home in nearby Long Beach, Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon returns to Southern California after nearly 15 years since serving as the Angels' bench coach from 2000-2005. For owner LA Angels owner Arte Moreno, it have been a long and frustrating five-year postseason drought. Coming to his rescue is Italian American manager Joe Maddon, who is proven winner who can bring back the glory days of 2002 when the Angels won the World Series title.

In his five seasons managing the Chicago Cubs, Joe Maddon led the team to a 2016 World Series championship title, two National League Central titles, and four playoff appearances. Prior to his success in the Windy City, Joe Maddon took the Tampa Bay Rays to the playoffs in four of the nine seasons he managed—including the squad’s only World Series appearance in franchise history in 2008.

Baseball in Italy received a Major League boost in 2012 when Joe Maddon along with members of his coaching staff led instructional clinics for the delegation participating in the Italian Coaches Convention at Castelnuovo de Garda (Verona). Even in Italy Joe Maddon had a positive influence on Italian baseball as Team Italy later won the 2012 European championship title, a feat that has yet to be repeated.

Italy has also had a profound effect on Joe Maddon, whose paternal grandfather Carmen Maddoni emmigrated from Abruzzo, Italy in the early 1900’s and settled in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The last vowel in his surname was dropped so his grandfather could disguise the family name as Irish to make it easier to find employment in the mines. Naturalization records show he became an American citizen in 1921 at age 28. Carmen Maddoni made it out alive out of the mines, and he started C. Maddon & Sons Plumbing in 1936. His son Joe — one of 11 children — took over the business and had three children of his own, Joe Jr., Carmine and Mark. The trio had more than 20 aunts and uncles and countless cousins. The Maddons all lived together in the room above the plumbing storefront or in nearby apartment buildings.

Joe Maddon loves his Italian heritage as well as the Italian cuisine and fine wines that go along with it. His Tampa-based Ava Restaurant features authentic Italian dishes, a 600-pound Acunto Napoli pizza oven from Naples, a food prep table from Verona, a 1,000-bottle wine collection, and a secret room that seats 12. The secret room, a favorite hideout for celebrities, is accessible through a narrow hallway that leads to the rear of the restaurant and the parking lot. Inside, the entrance is located behind a mirrored wall, with a hidden door handle. Six months ago, Joe Maddon and Chicago chef Tony Mantuanoknown for his Michelin-starred Italian restaurantsopened Maddon’s Post, an Italian-Polish eatery next to Wrigley Field with the motto: ”Paying homage to first generational roots, celebrating the simple, and giving a nod to favorite family recipes.”

It would be not surprising to see Joe Maddon work his magic with the launch of another Italian restaurant featuring un mercato della pescheria adjacent to Angel Stadium to honor past and present Angel players, whether it be Tim Salmon or Mike Trout. More importantly, Italian American manager Joe Maddon has what it takes to bring the Angels out of the darkness and into the light. By offering Joe Maddon a three-year contract, LA Angels owner Arte Moreno has faith that his new manager will lead his team to a World Series championship title. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti