by Max Lance, //www.thetripe.wordpress.com

I love watching the Tampa Bay Rays. Aside from being a Yankee fan watching the Rays beat down on the Sox, I also see myself as a future Rays fan. Being a stereotypical New York Jew not only means that I get all Jewy about finding deals and eating a lot of bagels, but it also means I'll probably end up moving to Florida and rooting for our boys in turquoise. It also means I'll probably be pretty racist some day, but both are a good 2-to-60 years away.

Late-inning one-out hit-and-runs in the playffs, swinging at 3-0 pitches, they're the most electrifying team to watch. I credit this to their manager Joe Maddon, and watching him I realized why he's taken baseball to a new level: He's the first hipster manager in the big leagues. Aside from the obvious hipster glasses, I present to you my proof that Joe Maddon is a Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Silver Lake, Los Angeles; Austin, Texas – but only when he tries getting his band signed at SXSW – bonafide hipster.

1. His team converted to Atheism

Never breaking fifty loses as the Devil Rays, American League champs as the Rays. In true hipster fashion, the Rays have taken the European model and sworn off Biblical connotations. They don't follow their parents' stodgy religious ways and by swearing them off, they've become interesting. Religious hipster is an oxymoron. Religious people are boring and never do anything with themselves, even if it is a little awkward for the Atheist Rays to go home for the holidays. Freeing up their Sundays has done wonders.


2. He wears tight pants



Whether it's to accentuate his youtful quads or just as a statement against baggy-pants early 00's trends sported by former "in"-looks Sox' Manny and Ortiz, Maddon surely picked those digs up at a Salvation Army. And they're white pants too. You can't get much more ironic than that.


3. His name gets confused for John Madden.

This understandable confusion echoes a similar upheaval faced by a perennial hipster idolized film: Michael Bolton in Office Space. Can't you imagine B.J. Upton saying to Joe Maddon: "Why not change your name?" And Joe's like, "Why should I change it just 'cause that eff-face got famous? Screw him." The DVD sales will make Joe Maddon a cult figure on par with Mike Judge's feature work Office Space and Idiocracy, a story about future humans who have all become as retarded as TBS' commentators.


4. He loves math



Nine players playing nine innings together equals eight teams in the postseason." How does nine equal eight? The same way that hipsters haven't taken math in ten years, but were so geeked out in middle school (thus spurning hipster roots) that they can still recite -b /- square root of b^2-4ac. What's that mean? 9=8. Dig.


5. He works nights

Games starting around seven allow maddon to keep the days open for his artistic pursuits. Waking up sometime around the crack of one in the afternoon keeps him refreshed to procrastinate the novel he's been outlining for the past seven years. If only he didn't have to slave away at his night job for "The man," he could focus and his creative genius would flourish. Notice that first pitches are usually around 7:05 or 7:18. This is because Maddon, like a true hipster, shows up a little late and blames it on the subway.


6. His team is one of the best while remaining one of the least popular



The core of hipsterism is to find the greatness in that which is not cool. The Tampa Bay Rays were never cool. The joke of the American League for the entire franchise's history, Maddon saw potential like a Bushwick transplat seeing the ironic joy in roller derby. Now one of the biggest teams in baseball, trying to get tickets is like trying to find cheap rent in Los Feliz. Maddon gentrified the Rays.


7. His team plays in St. Petersburg, but they're named for Tampa

Hipster hangouts pride themselves on a witty hard-to-locate name or location that makes looking them up in a phonebook impossible, especially when said bar doesn't even have a name, sign or address. They're the Tampa Bay Rays, but there's no city of Tampa Bay, just a bay, which borders Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Gibsonton. So the Tampa Bay Rays play in St. Petersburg, nowhere close to the Tampa-based Bucs or Lightning, a team that plays in the St. Peterburg Times Arena…in Tampa. Awesome.


8. His home turf is an ugly convert



The Trop is a hideous and drab dome-covered dump. Know what else fits this description? Former warehouses converted to lofts so famous that they're featured on Gossip Girl. The arena used to be home to the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, a sport so unpopular its following can almost be labeled cult. The roof tilts at a weird angle, and there's all sorts of strange ground rules about hitting catwalks and speakers. It's like when you go to a hipster's pad and he gives you rules about how to make the hot water work you need to jimmy the lever three times to the left and bang a metal pipe twice.

9. OK, it's the glasses


And finally, the obvious. Maddon rocks the thic-black rimmed hipster glasses better than eighty percent of architecture minors at Pratt. I personally like to think taht there's no glass in those babies, but that would be naive. He needs these to see the signs he's throwing between the base coaches. For example: elbow, sleeves, pants, hat is his signal for "After the game, let's take our Vespas over to American Apparel, but not really buy anything because that would appear as though we actually have money."

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