VIDEO: Joe Maddon profiled by NBC, opens up off-field passion project
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Cubs manager Joe Maddon was profiled by NBC news correspondent Harry Smith on “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.”
During his visit, which NBC filmed for Sunday’s segment, Maddon opened up about how his hometown, Hazelton, Pennsylvania, a former coal mining town, has struggled with discrimination and resentment when Hispanic immigrants began arriving nearly a decade ago.
Maddon has made it his duty to show his hometown that the new generation of residents will only make the Hazleton stronger and more prosperous.
View the segment here and full transcript below
The full transcript of the segment is below, courtesy of NBC News’ “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly”
JOE MADDON: This ball might go far if he gets the right pitch.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: JOE MADDON REMEMBERS PLAYING ON THIS FIELD IN HAZLETON PENNSYLVANIA LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY…
JOE MADDON: It might have been the only homerun I ever gave up in little league, I think I gave one up in high school…
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: DETAILS OF LONG PAST LITTLE LEAGUE GAMES. ROSTERS, TEAMS, LOSSES AND TRIUMPHS.
JOE MADDON: I was unhittable as a little leaguer and as a high school pitcher. I was unhittable.
HARRY SMITH: Right, yeah.
JOE MADDON: I really was. Not bragging, just true.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: HE REMEMBERS AN IDEAL CHILDHOOD IN WHAT FOR HIM WAS THE PERFECT HOMETOWN.
JOE MADDON: Perfect. It’s Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best. Leave it to Beaver. Although my dad didn’t come home in a suit and have– a martini waiting on him. My dad was a plumber.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: A PLACE WHERE EVEN A PLUMBERS KID COULD HAVE BIG LEAGUE DREAMS. AND WHILE NOT QUITE GOOD ENOUGH TO PLAY IN THE MAJORS MADDON WOULD SPEND THE NEXT SEVERAL DECADES CLIMBING RUNG BY RUNG THROUGH THE RANKS AS A COACH AND MANAGER… AND ALONG THE WAY HE BECAME FAMOUS AS A LEADER WHOSE TEAMS WIN, NO MATTER THE ODDS. HIS METHODS ARE UNORTHODOX. NONE OF THIS LOOKS LIKE NORMAL PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL. INCLUDING HIS MADDONISMS. MYSTERIOUS MANTRAS PLASTERED ON T-SHIRTS WHICH DECLARE WE ARE HERE TO HAVE FUN.
HARRY SMITH: Do you really have a party after every win?
JOE MADDON: Yeah. There’s a party room.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: LAST FALL WITH MADDON AT THE HELM THE FOREVER HAPLESS AND PERHAPS CURSED CHICAGO CUBS OVERCAME MORE THAN CENTURY OF FUTILITY BY FINALLY WINNING A WORLD SERIES. THINK OF MADDON AS A KIND OF BASEBALL MOSES LEADING THE CUBS INTO THE PROMISED LAND. AND YET…..
JOE MADDON: I don’t believe I’d have ever a been in the position to be in that dugout to be able to win a World Series, if it wasn’t for all of this.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: ALL OF THIS IS HAZLETON. BLUE COLLAR. AND BACK THEN VERY WHITE. MADDON HOME MOVIES SHOW A VISION OF POST-WAR PROSPERITY. A TIGHT KNIT FAMILY. DEVOUT FAITH. AND JOE, THE APPLE OF EVERYONES EYE.
JOE MADDON: Everybody knew everybody else. You really had a hard time getting in trouble because if you did, it got back to your pops somehow. And even worse, it made it back to my mom.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: WHOEVER SAID YOU CANT GO HOME AGAIN DIDN’T KNOW JOE. HE ALWAYS FOUND TIME TO RETURN. BUT ON A TRIP BACK IN 2010 WITH HIS WIFE JAYE, THEY WERE STUNNED. HIS HOMETOWN WAS IN DEEP TROUBLE.
JOE MADDON: I was really appalled by what I was seeing. I thought there was a tremendous disconnect. There was a lot of fear.
JAYE MADDON: There was a lot of talk of– of gangs and people were afraid to go shop downtown.
HARRY SMITH: WHILE JOE WAS BUILDING HIS BASEBALL CAREER HAZLETON WAS DYING. IT’S POPULATION HAD SHRUNK BY A THIRD. THE INDUSTRIAL JOBS WHICH BROUGHT IMMIGRANTS HERE MORE THAN CENTURY AGO WERE GONE. REPLACED EVENTUALLY BY WAREHOUSES AND DISTRIBUTION CENTERS. THE PAY WASN’T GREAT BUT PLENTY ATTRACTIVE TO A NEW WAVE OF IMMIGRANTS. HISPANICS FROM THE BIG CITIES WHO CAME HERE FOR JOBS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
BOB CURRY: that kind of changed the dynamic because people started to see a lot of people who looked a little bit differently, who might have had accents…
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: BOB CURRY IS JOE MADDON’S COUSIN. A FIRST-PERSON WITNESS TO THE HISPANIC INFLUX. AND THE WHITE RESENTMENT.
BOB CURRY: they were confronting for the first time that what was happening to their city was they were losing their city.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: LAUREN SACCO’S FAMILY HAS OWNED A RESTAURANT IN HAZLETON FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS. LAUREN RESENTED THE WAY HER TOWN WAS CHANGING.
LAUREN SACCO:I don’t know the guy on the corner. I don’t know the guy down the street. People moving in my parents’ neighborhood. All of a sudden the crime rate went up, drugs went up.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: LOCAL COPS HAD THEIR HANDS FULL. AND LONG-TIME HAZLETON RESIDENTS WERE UP IN ARMS. IT ALL BOILED OVER IN 2006, WHEN TWO UNDOCUMENTED HISPANIC MEN WERE ACCUSED OF MURDERING A WHITE FATHER OF THREE. MAYOR LOU BARLETTA AND HAZLETON’S CITY COUNCIL PASSED THE TOUGHEST LOCAL IMMIGRANT ORDINANCES IN THE COUNTRY AND DECLARED ENGLISH THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE.
NIURKA DE LA ROSA: The white people start to be mean to the Hispanic community.
HARRY SMITH: Really?
NIURKA DE LA ROSA: Yes.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: NIURKA DE LA ROSA RUNS A DAY CARE CENTER IN TOWN.
HARRY SMITH: Do you think the law gave them permission?
NIURKA DE LA ROSA: Yes. Yes.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: THE TOWN WENT FROM ALMOST COMPLETELY WHITE TO MORE THAN A THIRD HISPANIC IN LESS THAN A DECADE. RACE RELATIONS WERE TOXIC. AND INTO THAT MIX CAME MADDON.
JOE MADDON: I just knew that I didn’t like it. Because it was not that place, this utopian place that I grew up.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: JOE THOUGHT, WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO HISPANICS IN HAZLETON WAS NO DIFFERENT FROM THE RECEPTION HIS GRANDPARENT’S GENERATION RECEIVED WHEN THEY ARRIVED FROM ITALY AND POLAND…
HARRY SMITH: What kind of prejudice would your grandparents have faced coming into Pennsylvania?
JOE MADDON: Language, music– dirty kids, kids are bad, nobody’s there to control them. I mean, you heard all that stuff. And you hear the same thing now.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: JOE WANTED TO MEET WITH LOCAL HISPANICS. IN ORDER TO SEE THE HAZLETON THEY WERE LIVING IN.
HE WAS INVITED TO NIURKA’S HOUSE.
HARRY SMITH: Yeah? What was that like?
NIURKA DE LA ROSA: I was treating him like anybody that was a guest in my house.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: IT WAS NIGHT OF KIDS FOOD AND FAMILY CHAOS.
JOE MADDON: And everybody’s laughing, having a great time, I mean absolutely having a great time. And that’s when it hit me. My God, this is exactly what my house used to look like in the ’50s and the ’60s.
BOB CURRY: Joe’s thought in a single sentence crystallized what we had been thinking. There is no problem here. This is how we grew up.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: JOE FELT HE HAD AN ADVANTAGE HIS OLD NEIGHBORS DID NOT. HE KNEW HUNDREDS OF HISPANICS FROM BASEBALL.
JOE MADDON: Loved ’em. I mean, I loved the culture. I loved the food. I loved the music. And like I said, there was a commonality there based on family and how we were raised.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: TO JOE, THE SOLUTION WAS SIMPLE. HE ASSEMBLED HIS HOMETOWN TEAM INCLUDING COUSINS BOB AND ELAINE TO DESIGN THE KIND OF PLACE THAT WOULD BRING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER.
ELAINE CURRY: He said to me and Bob…”I want these children to know what it’s like to grow up in Hazleton and to be part of a community.”
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: AND THAT’S HOW THE HAZLETON INTEGRATION PROJECT OR HIP WAS BORN. A COMMUNITY CENTER TO BUILD A BRIDGE BETWEEN WHITES AND HISPANICS.
HARRY SMITH: What was the reaction?
JOE MADDON: Obviously, not strong among the– the locals– the people that I’d grown up with. A lot of them– “Joey, what are you doing?
LAUREN SACCO: I was just like everybody else. And I was like, “Oh, another thing for someone else. What about us? We’ve been here, we’re born and raised here. I don’t get a center. I don’t get a place.”
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: JOE’S DETERMINATION AND CHARISMA CREATED AN IRRESISTABLE FORCE.
BOB CURRY: There’s the– family priest, there’s the pope, and there’s Joe Maddon. Some– somewhere above that.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: AFTER COUNTLESS CONFERENCE CALLS, FUNDRAISERS AND BOARD MEETINGS, MADDON OPENED HIP’S FIRST COMMUNITY HOME, THE HAZLETON ONE CENTER. EVERYONE WAS WELCOME.A THOUSAND PEOPLE POUR THROUGH THE DOORS EVERY WEEK. BUSY WITH PRESCHOOL AND AFTER SCHOOL CLASSES. ELS AND CITIZENSHIP INSTRUCTION. KIDS PLAY SPORTS, GET A HOT MEAL AND GET A TASTE OF WHAT JOE MADDON’S HAZLETON IS ALL ABOUT.
JOE MADDON: you come and see our Hispanic kids in our center. I tell my folks back home, “They speak better English than you do. I promise you. They know their tenses a lot better. And they don’t say ‘yous.'”
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: AMANDA LARA IS THE ASSISTANT EDUCATION DIRECTOR AT HIP…SHE NEVER DREAMED THERE’D BE A PLACE LIKE THIS IN HER HOME TOWN.
AMANDA LARA: It builds a sense of belonging for people who have felt ostracized for so long and then it helps facilitate the necessary unity that we need in this town.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: BELIEVERS ARE BEGINNING TO OUTNUMBER DOUBTERS… LOCAL BUSINESSES ARE PROVIDING GOODS AND SERVICES TO HIP. EVEN A BRAND NEW PLAYGROUND. LAUREN SACCO CHANGED HER VIEW ON THE NEWCOMERS TOO.
LAUREN SACCO: If they were not here, you’d be driving through a ghost town.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: SHE USED THE HIP COMMUNITY CENTER TO GET HER MENUS TRANSLATED INTO SPANISH.
LAUREN SACCO: We are now serving 100 percent of the community versus just 50 percent of it.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: AND AS FOR BUSINESS.
LAUREN SACCO: The last three years have been the best three years that we’ve had.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: THE NOT-SO-SUBTLE SHIFT IN ATTITUDE HAS CARRIED OVER TO A LOCAL BANK. WHICH JUST LAST YEAR HIRED IT’S FIRST HISPANIC EMPLOYEE, IVELISSE EUFRACIO.
IVELISSE EUFRACIO: They say, “Oh my God, finally somebody who speak Spanish.”
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER : YES, SPANISH.
HARRY SMITH: Have your bosses said, “You make a difference here, because you can communicate”?
IVELISSE EUFRACIO: Where they are? (LAUGHTER) Yes? Well. Yes.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: AND ACROSS TOWN BUSINESS IS ON THE UPSWING. 53 NEW BUSINESSES IN THE LAST THREE YEARS. AND MAJOR CRIME IS DOWN. THE LOWEST NUMBERS IN A DECADE.
JOE MADDON: You’re seeing a tremendous attitude adjustment in our hometown that’s getting better– by the day, actually.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: AND AS FOR HISPANICS, HAZLETON STILL FEELS LIKE A LAND OF OPPORTUNITY.WHEN JOSE FUENTES CAME TO HAZLETON TEN YEARS AGO, THE SALVADORAN REFUGEE SOLD TOMATOES ON THE STREET.
JOE MADDON: This is beautiful man, this is beautiful.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: HIS MARKET IS A GLEAMING SPACIOUS SHOWPLACE OF ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT.
HARRY SMITH: Is this your American dream?
JOSE FUENTES: Yes. Yes.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER : LET THERE BE NO DOUBT BRIDGING HAZLETON’S DIVIDE IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS. TODAY THE CITY IS MORE THAN FIFTY PERCENT HISPANIC. SOME WHITES WE MET ARE STILL DISPLEASED. BUT MADDON IS EMPHATIC. HISPANICS ARE THE FUTURE.
JOE MADDON: Because they’re going to save our town. And you have two options right here. Either you get on board and help us, or just– you’re going to die. And when you die and go away, then– you’re going to get out of the way. You’re not going to be part of the problem anymore. So, it’s either help or die.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER : THESE DAYS JOE LIKES WHAT HE SEES IN HAZLETON ESPECIALLY ON THE FIELDS WHERE HE USED TO PLAY.
HARRY SMITH: What– what’s the difference you see?
JOE MADDON: Names on the backs of the jersey. I’m seeing some Guzmans– Florentinos–
HARRY SMITH: There’s a couple Wisnewskis out here—
JOE MADDON: Yeah, I saw that, too. But there’s Colon over here. I love it.
HARRY SMITH VOICE OVER: AND REALLY ALL THAT JOE EVER WANTED FOR HAZLETON’S NEW RESIDENTS WAS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. JOE SAYS IT’S THE HAZLETON WAY.
JOE MADDON: I’m eternally grateful to this town and the people here. So for me to turn my back on it would be the absolute insult and ingratitude. And I would never do that.