Cubs October Coaching Liquidation Leaves Mark on Joe Maddon’s Image

“The Chicago Cubs 2017 season may have ended on October 19 with an 11-1 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS, but for many of us, disappointment in the team’s performance during that run lingers. The bullpen struggles, the anemic hitting, 2016 National League MVP Kris Bryant’s admission that the team was “tired” after a no more than usually grueling season. Writer Steve Greenberg of The Chicago Sun-Times wrote on October 18, “Sadly, the whole world can tell…It’s almost like this team is out of gas, wheezing to the finish line, already half in bed and going to sleep.”

Cub fans of all philosophies agreed that changes need to be made in advance of the 2018 season. However we didn’t get much time to consider what those changes could and should look like before the organization embarked on its own version of “Black Monday,” the “Savage Last Full Week of October.”

Perhaps the purge was unavoidable. But what’s especially jarring – and has become the central storyline as opposed to a narrative about the team refining and retuning – is Joe Maddon’s long-running and very recent insistence that all was well in the clubhouse.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

Advertisements

NLCS 2016: Dodgers, Leave Your Brooms in the Closet

marquee

“The series which begins tomorrow is, of course, also a shot at redemption for the Cubs. The club with the best overall 2016 regular season record found themselves swept by the Mets this time last year. While the Cubbies did Wrigleyville Nation proud in 2015, Joe Maddon’s guys were ultimately outmatched. In the first-ever postseason meeting between the two teams, a short-staffed and exhausted Chicago pitching squad underwrote an NLCS in which the losing team never held a scoring lead.

Yet and still “Wait ‘til next year” finally felt like more than meaningless consolation. Except for one lackluster pre-All Star Game stretch early this summer, the Cubbies have dominated the game. So much so that it’s almost (almost!) easy to disregard last year’s New York humbling. Theo Epstein and company have painstakingly shored up at the field, bat and bullpen weaknesses that stood between the Cubs and the World Series in 2015.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

Cubs Give Fans the Greatest Gift: Time

cubs

“The Cubs’ first playoff match doesn’t happen until October 7. There are weeks left of the MLB’s regular season – 19 days of joyous, easygoing rest. The Cubs are the best team in baseball and with few exceptions, these guys are an endearing, likeable bunch. I’m just shy of middle age but well-read and acquainted with many a senior fan. There’s never been a better year to be a member of Wrigleyville Nation.

The playoffs and their requisite nail-biting, restless tension will be here soon enough. Let’s try something new, shall we Cub fans? Let’s enjoy the triumph and continue to embrace the target. There’s no reason to disregard Manager Extraordinaire Joe’s Maddon’s directive, stressing about events that haven’t yet occurred. I write these words for myself as much as the other anxiety-riddled citizens of Cubs Nation.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

After Mid-August Rest, Jason Heyward Comes Back in a Big Way

heyward

“Since returning to the lineup, Heyward has five multi-hit games in eight starts, including the one-man devastation handed to the Giants. As concerned Cub fans have come to realize, baseball Zen-master Maddon knows more than any of us. He said of Heyward’s high-performance turnaround, ‘I really believe when a very good major league player may be struggling, if he just sits and watches a major league game being played and then understands, `I’m one of the best’,” it does something internally.’

With the Cubs inches away from a single-digit magic number, Heyward’s resurgence is great news for Wrigleyville Nation. It’s also a huge potential migraine for other playoff contenders. Fansided’s Robert Davis editorialized, ‘As Cubs fans begin remodeling for their ‘Clinch Parties,’ it may be best for managers around the league to redo their approach to Chicago’s lineup.'”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

Just What Exactly Have the Cubs Given Up to Get Chapman?

CubsWin

“At the risk of going full-bore Pollyanna, we were supposed to be better than this. The Cubs organization should have wanted no part of Chapman. We have dance party rooms and petting zoo field days. Violence and recklessness are not the Maddon/Epstein values. Right? To follow my work is to know I want to the Cubbies to prevail as much as any other diehard. It’s in my very bloodstream. But not at the expense of moral degradation.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

Maddon & Company Embrace Target with Red Hot Memorial Day Winning Streak

Joe M

“Holy cow! What a ride we’re enjoying. It seems as if the boys in blue took the pre-season advice of Manager Joe Maddon – and are running all over the competition with it. More than an approach to avoiding the team’s historical arc toward self-destruction, Maddon’s directive to ‘embrace the target,’ has removed the fear of success from a battered organization. And its fan base.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.

 

Post-Schwarber Injury, Maddon & The Cubs Prove They’re Karma Chameleons

Cubs

“Then Schwarber was carted off the field. The 23 year-old lefty hit 16 home runs in 69 games for the team last season, and was anticipated to be an integral part of the Cubs 2016 offense. As he left the diamond with the help of trainers P.J. Mainville and Ed Halbur, you could hear the collective groans inside the park and out. This is how the implosion starts, right?…

In a highly competitive NL Central Division, the Chicago Cubs are off like a shot with a 14-5 record that puts them ahead three and a half games over the Cardinals. It is but April and there’s much baseball to be played, but the Cubs are so stacked with talent, from the office to the dugout to bullpen and field, that the old cynicism model appears hopelessly outdated.”

Read the full post at Wrigleyville Nation.