Chicago Cubs: Maddon will rise above the criticism from World Series moves
Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon has heard it from everywhere. From former players to fans, analysts and more. Some of the decisions made down the stretch were “controversial”, especially those revolving around Chapman. It really has gotten humorous, and a bit obnoxious.
Chicago Cubs‘ manager Joe Maddon has helped guide the team to back-to-back playoff appearances. He led them to a division title, the best record in baseball, and eventually their first World Series in 108 years. So it makes complete sense to question his decisions in the final few games over what he did over the past two seasons, right? No. No, it doesn’t.
First, Maddon has admitted he dropped the ball in Game 6 after the Cubs took a 9-2 lead heading into the 9th.
"But it was one of those moments, I thought to myself to tell ‘Bos’ (pitching coach Chris Bosio) to get somebody ready in case we were to score a couple of runs. All of a sudden, Rizz (Anthony Rizzo) hits the (two-out, two-run) homer (in the ninth) and we’re scrambling to get Stropey ready. It was one hitter too late for me."
This is the thing about managing. The eye of perception is ALWAYS on you. Win or lose. I watched most if not every Cubs’ game this season. Maddon had a trust in Aroldis Chapman he didn’t have with every reliever. And over the course of the season, be it performance or injury, some of the trust in other relievers was lost. There was no Game 8. Maddon was going to have to live with the decision he made, and he knew that.
Out of the woodwork they come
Cubs’ fans have questioned the decisions but in the end, we’re ecstatic they won. Period. Throughout the past two seasons, “In Maddon we trust” would be seen from Cubs fans. This means that while a decision might be questionable, we believed in the end, it was the right one. Former Cubs’ pitcher and San Francisco Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow didn’t adhere to that philosophy.
"“The Cubs won this thing despite over-managing from Joe Maddon,” Krukow said. “It was awful. It was the arrogance that he was trying to put his signature on what was gonna happen. And it happened despite taking out Hendricks early, taking out Lester early, putting in Chapman when he was tired.”"
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Everyone is entitled to their opinion, regardless of their profession. And this might be a case of “sour grapes” as the Cubs eliminated the “team of destiny”, ending their even-year streak of titles. But to think that Maddon was trying to put his signature on it? These Cubs teams have his signature all over them already. Maddon had taken Kyle Hendricks out of his starts early on many occasions. This wasn’t new, regardless of Hendricks ascension to a Cy Yong finalist.
Speak up or zip it
Did he ride Chapman hard? Maybe. He did the same with Travis Wood during the season. Eventually, he backed off him to get him more rest and it worked out. For Chappy, the rest was the offseason. Did Wood or Chapman ever say “I can’t, I’m tired”? Never. They’re competitors. They want the ball every chance they can get. And to be honest, if the Cubs had signed Chapman? You would have never heard about this, in my opinion.
Maddon has united this team. Some of it seems like gimmicks, but they’ve bought in. Not every decision will work. Even Theo Epstein has admitted that. But it’s also those mistakes that can help bring a team together.
"“But in a great organization, people pick each other up to get to the point where you can win. That’s what we did. The players have picked me up a lot over the years when we haven’t gotten things right, and the whole postseason everyone was picking each other up. What matters is where we got in the end.”"
Next: An early preview of the NL Central
Maddon will rise above this. The team will help him to rise above it. The Cubs won the World Series. Not Maddon. He was part of something bigger. The reason they were able to do this is because they understood that from the start.