Our Man Joe

Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs

It’s a great time to be a Cubs fan. For all the fans in the know, the Cubs have been building for this season for a long time now. Slowly, they’ve been stockpiling draft picks and trades for unseasoned rookies as opposed to gaining that quick fix bandage that some other teams have preferred.

I’ve never been a fan of those quick fixes. Every team should keep their team young and have a plan. By building and acquiring picks and skillfully crafting trades, the Chicago Cubs were able to sign John Lackey, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist.

This is their season. They have the right manager in Joe Maddon who knows how to keep things loose and fun. Baseball is a fun game. It’s easy to forget that amidst multi million dollar contracts, PED use and Free Agency that somewhere it’s still a game that kids play out in the backyard.

Kris Bryant is going into his sophomore year and after winning Rookie of The Year, he wants a World Series. He respects Joe Maddon and what he’s doing with the club.

“It’s kind of weird when you come into big league camp and it’s your first manager,” Bryant said. “I knew what type of manager Joe Maddon was just seeing him and he was really cool. They were weird conversations at first, but establishing that honesty and being real with one another only helped us throughout the year. He recognized when I wasn’t going well and he pulled me into his office last year. Those Spring Training conversations really helped propel our relationship.”

As a fan watching the game, Joe is a really cool guy. He’s calm in the dugout but when tensions heat up, he charges the mound and fights for his players. It’s entertaining and practical. He’s a student of the game that would have fit nicely in any era of the sport. Actually, I’m hesitant to call it a sport. To me, baseball is and always will be a game.

“You just have to keep an open mind, is the best way I can describe it,” manager Joe Maddon said.

His game management is second to none. He’s creative, inventive and knows how to keep things fresh. Mixing up where the pitcher bats and moving players around is what it’s all about and there’s no other manager in the game today that would have the ability to lead the Cubs to the next level like Joe Maddon.

“What I try to do is not miss anything,” he said. “I have done this for a while so you never want to go backward. The only threat of that is if you’re not eager and anxious. I still get butterflies in my stomach when you start out every year. I take that as a positive. I am not over anything. I want to be consistent, communicative and I need to read my guys properly.”

Maybe it’s that laid back thinking that helps Joe study the game and get the job done. He takes his time to know the players.

You better believe it.

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