May 14, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon (70) walks to the dugout during the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels will honor their 2002 World Series champions prior to a game on June 22. But Joe Maddon — who was that team’s bench coach — won’t be there.

Maddon was fired as the Angels manager (a job he’d held since 2020) on June 7. On Saturday, he made it known that he won’t be at the ceremony to honor the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s lone World Series winning team.

Fortunately, Maddon will have the chance to enjoy other reunions in the coming years. Maddon was the manager of the 2016 Chicago Cubs — who won the World Series — as well as the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, who not only won the franchise’s first pennant that year but also reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and posted the first-ever winning season that year. Maddon will certainly be a part of those reunions.

He’ll also likely be present in future years when the Angels honor the 2002 team. Even after he left the Angels and enjoyed success in Tampa and Chicago, the Angels obviously had a special place in his heart.

The timing here is unfortunate. We’d have to think that if the reunion was held even just a few weeks later, he’d be more inclined to go. But going to a team’s reunion only two weeks after you he was fired by the same franchise would certainly create some unnecessary awkwardness.

[Mike DiGiovanna]

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