Chicago Cubs: Is there any doubt that Joe Maddon is NL Manager of the Year?
There is no question that Joe Maddon should claim the NL Manager of the Year Award
The Chicago Cubs are on a mission. The Loveable Losers are still loveable–but they are no longer losers. The Rickett’s family organized a trust in Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeoad that has built something special. They’ve turned years of mediocrity and ridicule into a true winner, a team you can root for. And at the center of it is the never ordinary Joe Maddon. Pajamas on a flight, “Zoo day” for the players and their families, no batting practice, work less–is there any doubt that Maddon is the reason for the success?
There shouldn’t be.
This isn’t a turnaround season for this franchise but a culture change. I have friends that turn to the doom and gloom every time the Cubs drop a game or two. “Here we go again, Cubs are going to let us down.” But they haven’t. They don’t. They just keep pressing, driving up our faith and belief that this is about more than just a Wild Card game. This team believes in Maddon. Even I wondered if he could be as he was at his introductory press conference day in, day out. Couldn’t be possible, could it?
Maddon is as true an individual that you may ever find in the game of baseball. He means everything he says, he sugarcoats nothing, and his different managerial tactics aren’t just for show. There’s a meaning behind every one of them. The Cubs are a third place team–with the third best record in ALL of baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals are nearing 100 wins. The Pittsburgh Pirates have a chance. The Cubs can’t hit that mark, but I see no reason Maddon shouldn’t stake claim to the NL Manager of the Year award.
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How can I say that when the Cards are about to win 100 games? You may argue that Mike Matheny has had to survive the loss of Matt Adams, Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday, etc. Lots of missed time from key players. But is this really Matheny making this happen? No. As much as it pains me to say it, it’s the organization. The Cardinals have been doing this for years. Someone goes down, the next man in makes a name for himself. Matheny has done a fine job, but where did you see the Cubs finishing this year?
I can almost guarantee if you thought third place, it wasn’t with this record. I had many conversations on how many “wins” a manager accounts for. I promise you it was a single digit number I had in mind. Joe has gone far beyond that. He brought Starlin Castro back from the edge of oblivion to be a key component of this team. He’s put his faith in Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta more often than not and been rewarded. He’s built Addison Russell from a ninth hitter being protected by the pitchers spot to an offensive threat.
I lost track, how many wins do those account for? Do we even know? Doesn’t matter.
Maddon has earned the NL Manager of the Year award. This team has far exceeded all expectations, and it’s a direct result of Maddon himself. Be it his managerial style, his sabermetrics “sheet”, his post game celebrations or his laid back demeanor–it’s because of Joe. In Joe we trust.