‘Wichita’ is Tampa Bay Rays code word

WICHITA — In a Fox Sports story online Thursday, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon is quoted as saying, “I never served time in Omaha, but I have in Wichita.”

Though that may not sound like a good thing, Maddon apparently meant well, and Wichita gets a great plug in the story.

Much like Peyton Manning used the word “Omaha” to signal certain plays in football, the article says Maddon is now using “Wichita” as a “code word to signal that a call should be challenged as part of Major League Baseball’s expanded replay.”

Joe Maddon, right, is using Wichita as his code name for MLB replay challenges.

Joe Maddon, right, is using Wichita as his code name for MLB replay challenges.

“Omaha and Wichita, kind of almost in a perverse way, rhyme,” Maddon said.

The article says the Wichita code is “a tip of the cap to his past.”

Maddon was involved in the National Baseball Congress World Series, which is held in Wichita, as a player and a coach and has been inducted into its Hall of Fame.

The article says baseball has a “soft spot throughout Wichita’s history,” in part due to the NBC. It quotes a few Wichitans about the code connection.

Steve Shaad, who was the general manager of the Wichita Wranglers, said he thinks of Maddon as “a kind of a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-hard-to-work kind of guy that overcomes obstacles. I think Wichitans, as a whole, can relate to that.”

Wichita State University vice president and general counsel Ted Ayres said he likes to think the Shockers helped catch Maddon’s attention.

“So it’s only natural that he’d want to be associated with a winner like Wichita.”

The article also quotes Susie Santo, president and CEO of Go Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, and touts the city’s attributes.

“Now, Wichita is known for more than the site of the original Pizza Hut and a convenient place to stop on a drive to the Rocky Mountains,” the story says. “Wichita offers a lot.”

The Wichita code, which the article says has helped form a connection between Florida’s Bay Area and the nation’s breadbasket, is one more selling point for the city.

“For Wichitans, it’s another reason to brag about their present.”