Cubs’ Joe Maddon: “It’s not about survival, it’s about winning”


Maddon hopes to change the culture of Cubs’ baseball, and it starts simple. Fundamentals.

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon knew that he was coming to a team that had finished in last place the past two season, and lost 101 games three years ago. What he wants his players to realize is that it’s about playing the game the right way, not impressing him or other members of the Cubs’ staff.

"“It’s guys being more concerned about survival as opposed to doing the right thing,” he stated. “If we’re going to change the culture here, they have to understand when you show up at the ballpark every day, it’s not about survival. It’s about winning.” h/t Jesse Rogers,"

There’s no question about the level of talent within the organization, and currently on the 40-man roster. But at times over the last few seasons, some of that talent would leave you scratching your head as to what they were thinking on the field.

“You can’t create magic. You don’t deserve magic until you play the game properly. You don’t deserve it coming your way.”

Starlin Castro is probably who will come to mind first, and it’s a reputation that he earned. And they’re mental errors. The occasional bobble on a ground ball or errant throw can be overlooked. But the mental side of the game is where Maddon wants to see this club improve.

"“The part that I cannot cope (with) standing in the dugout is when you’re not a good fundamental team. That bothers me. And that can change. Experience or not.”"

Maddon may be a “player’s manager”, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a teacher, or that he’ll coddle a player just because they’ve been here before. He expects execution–for the game to be played the right way. Right now, that’s not what he’s seeing on the field.

From the start of the spring, the Cubs made it clear that everyone would have to earn their spot. Now, guys like Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Jon Lester aren’t really included in that. But the prospects who came up, stayed and finished the year in Chicago? Nothing is promised.

The idea wasn’t to put pressure on players to perform, but for them to understand they need to keep working, keep doing the little things that got them there–because it wasn’t simply going to be handed to them.

It’s a transitional period, not just for Maddon but the players as well. Many are on their third manager in as many years. Philosophy, expectations–all these things have differed from one skipper to the next. Maddon knows that things will start to iron themselves out before the spring is over, and from there the club can start pressing forward with their goals.

“You can’t create magic. You don’t deserve magic until you play the game properly. You don’t deserve it coming your way.”

Right on Joe.

Next: Maddon not a fan of players admiring their home runs