Broadway Joe visits Roger Dean Stadium

JUPITER, Fla. — Winning the Manager of the Year award certainly has its perks.

Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon, the 2011 American League Manager of the Year, walked off the bus at Roger Dean Stadium on Tuesday with football legend Joe Namath, who was sporting a Rays’ uniform.

Namath sat in the Rays dugout during a 3-2 win over the Marlins. The Hall of Famer also represented the team by handing the lineup card at home plate.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was pleasantly surprised to see Namath at the ballpark.

“That’s the way Joe Maddon rolls,” Guillen said. “I’m walking into the stadium with [bench coach] Joey Cora, and the manager of the year is walking with legends. I hope I win this year, and I’ll walk in with Gloria Estefan. When you win, you roll like that. When you lose, Joey Cora walks next to you.”

Guillen, a football fan, called Namath an inspiration. The Marlins manager recently watched an HBO documentary on Broadway Joe.

“I saw the HBO show a few days ago,” Guillen said. “It’s amazing how that guy went to the field, and he got beat up. With all the trouble he had, and to still be a legend. I think he inspired a lot of people. I didn’t know him that well. I knew he played for the Jets and stuff. But until I saw that HBO show, he was pretty amazing. It’s nice to meet people like that. It’s nice to see a football legend come and watch baseball.”

Before the game, Marlins third base coach Joe Espada exchanged the lineup card with Namath.

“I didn’t know it was him, until he got up close,” Espada said. “That’s the second Hall of Famer I got this year. Lou Brock was the other. When I looked up and Joe Namath showed up, I was pumped. That’s a big one. That was really cool.”

Joe Frisaro

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