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04/08/10 8:50 PM ET

Maddon acknowledges local Yankees fans

Division rival has roots with spring base in Tampa

ST. PETERSBURG -- With the World Series champion Yankees coming to town for a weekend series beginning Friday, manager Joe Maddon was asked if winning the set would help convert the Yankees-cap-wearing walkers and runners on Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard.

Maddon lives near Bayshore Boulevard, which runs along Hillsborough Bay in South Tampa, and often rides his bicycle there. Bayshore Boulevard can often be perceived as providing the pulse of fickle fans in the area, who waver between allegiance to the Yankees, who train in Tampa, and the Rays.

"I still see a lot of our hats," said Maddon with a smile. "I saw one of our hats the other day at the bus stop at Bay-to-Bay and MacDill."

Maddon acknowledged that having a Yankees fan base in Rays country is a unique situation.

"So many things that happen for the New York Yankees are generated through Tampa," he said. "I never knew what that was all about until I moved here.

"Now I've seen it first-hand, and it's kind of unusual. We in some ways infiltrated their territory. They were here before the Devil Rays. I'm still satisfied with the Rays hats."

Maddon said it will be good to have the Yankees in for the weekend series.

"They're good, they're still good," he said. "I don't think they're any better than last year, I think they're just as good as they were last year, which is what, 103 wins? So they're still quite a force."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.