The Chicago Cubs entered their final inter-league game series yesterday in St. Petersburg to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a brief two-game set at Tropicana Field. The biggest story going into the game from a Rays perspective was seeing Cubs manager and former Rays manager Joe Maddon step into "The Trop" for the first time since he managed the team. Maddon (63) was the Rays manager from 2006-2014 and still leads the franchise in managerial wins and playoff berths. Before the 2015 season, he opted out of his contract and went on to manage the Cubs which ended his eight year tenure in Tampa.

Maddon was greeted with ovations and a special video montage put together by the Rays which highlighted the team's accomplishments under his managerial reign. It also featured footage and pictures of a lot of Maddon's "silliness" which includes his costume-themed trips and various animals joining him in his press conferences. The video was shown on the Tropicana Field jumbotron and posted on Rays social media including their Twitter account for people to watch it. It is also worth noting that Maddon still lives in Tampa during the offseason and even is part-owner of a restaurant there called Ava.

Maddon's Tampa legacy

The Tampa Bay Rays (former Tampa Bay Devil Rays) began their playing history in 1998 and from their inception to 2005, they had three managers (one of the an interim manager) and did not have a single winning season.

The most games they won in a given year was 70, and after Lou Piniella left in 2005, they hired Joe Maddon in 2006. In 2008 he led his Rays to not only their first winning season, but also their first postseason berth and American League Pennant; Maddon won Manager of the Year in that season.

From 2009 through 2013, he managed three more Rays playoff teams (2010, 2011, 2013) and had all winning seasons during that span.

One of his biggest accomplishments was in 2011 when they trailed the AL wild card leading Boston Red Sox by nine games going into September. They stormed a big comeback along the Red Sox collapse and won the Wild Card on the final day of the season after trailing 7-1 and winning the game on an Evan Longoria walk-off home run.

Though Maddon never won the World Series in Tampa, he won an AL Pennant and had a 754-705 (.517%) record.

Maddon's status quo

Despite the emotional return to his former stomping grounds, his job and goal was for his current team to win. The Cubs won their 84th game of the season behind Mike Montgomery's fantastic outing 2-1, which inched them closer to the NL Central crown. The pitching staff threw a combined one-hitter, only surrendering a solo home run to Brad Miller in front of a crowd that was greatly made up by Cubs fans. Their magic number is nine, with around two weeks to go, as they continue to battle with the Milwaukee Brewers for the division.

The two division foes will meet in a four-game set this coming weekend which can either continue or end the NL Central race.