You’ve probably heard the old saying that is used for the bride to be in a wedding – “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” It’s funny thinking about it and how well it actually sums up the relationship the Chicago Cubs and their manager Joe Maddon have.
Breaking it down line by line, hopefully you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Something old: Well, I’m not trying to call Joe Maddon old, but he is the second eldest manager in Major League Baseball. Instead of his age, what I’m referring to is the fundamentals that he values and that a lot of teams and players have ignored.
The value of working a count to your advantage – getting the pitching to work in your favor and not his. Sitting back and waiting for your pitch to be delivered, and if you don’t see it, you simply take your base and let the next batter try his luck.
The fact that he wanted his team to work on bunting and the hit-and-run situation or small ball as it is often referred to today. Not every team can load their lineup with sluggers who can knock 40 plus homers in a season.
Hitters also go into power droughts, so you cannot always rely on waiting for the big shot.
You have to manufacture runs and the best way to do that is a perfectly timed hit-and-run. Not only do you get a head start on getting your runner closer to scoring, you also eliminate a possible double play scenario.
While Maddon is very much in touch with the younger generation, he still shows a lot of the old school mentality to baseball that still works very well in today’s game.
Something new: New is this team, in more ways than one. Maddon is new to the Cubs, but a lot of the players are also very new. A lot of what this young team is seeing is all new to them. The way Maddon lightens up the clubhouse after a win is something very much like a party.
Maddon has also implemented a 30-minute rule. “I just think it’s very important to celebrate,” Maddon said. “I want us to win hard for 30 minutes. I want us to lose hard for 30 minutes and then move on.” *via Mark Gonzalez ChicagoTribune.com
The belief of this rule is that players who let the loss stay with them for a while after the game that it may carry over into the next and doing this will hopefully avoid any prolonged losing streaks.
Maddon is also new to the National League and the style of game actually better suits his managerial style.
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Something borrowed: Everyone in baseball borrows from one another. If I new system works, another manager will start to use it on their team to see if they’ll have the same results. The something borrowed in this case for Maddon is the pitcher batting in the No.8 spot.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made this into a regular practice in his final few years with the Cardinals. The idea of it was to give the top of the order batters a better shot at having someone on in the latter parts of the game.
You also have the potential of having better hitters on top of each other the second and third time through the lineup.
A lot of it has to do with situations and Sabermetrics, but if you have just one hitter get on base, you’ve already changed the lineup and you could have the No.9 hitter leading off an inning later on which will lead to more table-setters for the Anthony Rizzo‘s and Kris Bryant‘s to bring in.
Something blue: Okay, obviously the Chicago Cubs color of choice is blue. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Of course you could also say that a manager the caliber of Maddon with this loaded young Cubs team has the potential to make a lot of other teams “blue”.