Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Preparing annual 'Thanksmas' meals, Joe Maddon talks of another cause: immigration

Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, left, helps manager Joe Maddon open cans of tomato sauce in the Tropicana Field kitchen Sunday as about 15 volunteers prepare the Thanksmas meal, to be served at local Salvation Army shelters.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, left, helps manager Joe Maddon open cans of tomato sauce in the Tropicana Field kitchen Sunday as about 15 volunteers prepare the Thanksmas meal, to be served at local Salvation Army shelters.

ST. PETERSBURG — The succession of holidays that lasts from November to January offers Americans a chance to indulge two obsessions: food and politics. In steaming kitchens and across crowded dinner tables, debate on the state of the nation isn't hard to find.

So it wasn't surprising that Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon would offer impromptu musings on the country's future Sunday while preparing his annual Thanksmas feast for needy residents of this region.

With the help of Rays coaches and volunteers, Maddon was busy Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field preparing the Italian-Polish spread that will be offered this week at several locations in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater.

Maddon first introduced Thanksmas in 2006 to call attention to homelessness.

His helpers laid iridescent links of hot Italian sausage across oven pans. The sharp aroma of garlic frying in olive oil permeated the kitchen. The Rays manager paused to speak to a reporter about a topic that has been on his mind, as well as that of many politicians: immigration.

After he conducts his Thanksmas meals, Maddon plans to repair to his hometown of Hazleton, Pa. It's a city that has seen a rapid swelling of its Hispanic population in the past decade, bringing tension with some residents who resent their arrival. Maddon's Hazleton Integration Project was created with an eye to resolving those problems.

Along with Maddon, half of the American political firmament is also grappling with immigration. Following their defeat in the 2012 presidential election, which saw pronounced support for the Democratic Party among the country's growing population of Hispanic voters, Republicans are looking for a way to soften their hard-line stance on immigration.

On this front, Maddon has a suggestion that has traditionally been anathema to the GOP base: amnesty for the estimated 11 million immigrants who now reside illegally in the United States.

"I'm all for, almost like, a general amnesty program," Maddon said. "And then you set up laws that take effect at a certain date" to guide immigration policy afterward, he said.

"It's too hard to keep moving backwards," he said. "Let's try to keep moving forward with this."

Maddon, who described himself as a moderate with views that do not neatly align with either major party, declined to say how he had voted in the past presidential election.

"I think we're losing sight of the fact that these people want to be here, and if they want to be here, they probably want to be here as good citizens," he said.

Amid the kitchen bustle, Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn appeared with some bad news: There was no pork. Maddon needed pork. His meatballs are made with equal portions of ground pork and ground beef.

"We need pork," he said.

"We're going to get some pork," Vaughn affirmed, dialing on his cellphone.

Maddon appeared eager to turn from politics to the demands of the kitchen.

"It's all above my pay grade," he said with a shrug. "It's just what I think."

Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4157.

Preparing annual 'Thanksmas' meals, Joe Maddon talks of another cause: immigration 12/09/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 9, 2012 11:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  2. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.
  3. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  4. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.

  5. Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale

    Corporate

    NEW YORK — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

    Weinstein