Two days ago, our two co-editors talked about Joe Maddon‘s Anthony Rizzo decision, talking about desperation. We come before you to admit we were wrong.
It was never published, nor made public. But two days ago, words like ‘desperation’ and ‘worrisome’ were thrown about by both our co-editors. And, yet again, the Chicago Cubs’ Joe Maddon made us look (and feel) like damned fools.
On Tuesday, Anthony Rizzo took the second pitch of the game, depositing it atop the center field batter’s eye at Citi Field. As a team, the Cubs put up 14 runs – a season-high. Furthermore, the club blasted five long-balls, also a best for the campaign that has largely haunted fans coming off a World Series title.
Okay, sure. One game. I can swallow my pride and admit I was wrong for a single game. Chicago picked up a win and snapped their Citi Field losing steak. What’s not to like?
It’s remarkable, really. The Cubs won that championship last year, thanks, largely to the decisions made by Maddon in the dugout. Not just in the postseason, but during the team’s 103-win regular season, as well. Simply put, the team doesn’t accomplish what it did without him.
Cue Wednesday night.
With Chicago waterlogged as storms rolled through the area, we all watched take two of the Anthony Rizzo experiment. Boy, it did not disappoint.
Except this time, it wasn’t the second pitch Rizzo saw – it was the first.
The Cubs’ first baseman tied Kris Bryant for the team lead with his 15th home run of the season, giving Chicago an early edge over Matt Harvey and the New York Mets. The next batter, Ian Happ, wanted in on the fun, blasting a homer of his own – his second in as many nights.
In Joe we trust
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We all talk about the impact Theo Epstein made on this franchise. He reshaped the organization top-to-bottom from a baseball operations standpoint.
He drafted many of the team’s young budding stars. After ending the ‘Curse’ in Boston, he did the same in the Windy City – all but ensuring a spot in Cooperstown when he wraps up his career in baseball.
But what about Joe Maddon?
The Chicago skipper complied 232 wins so far with the Cubs – which, even with this year’s .500 play, comes out to a .600 winning percentage.
He’s continually pushed all the right buttons at the helm of this team. While critics like to point out the close calls in the Fall Classic, there’s no disputing his impact on this team.
So, with your latest decision playing out to perfection, we say this, Mr. Maddon. Our hats are off to you. Thank you for what you’ve done and continue to do for this team and this city. And, someday, we hope Cubs fans follow our lead and learn to eat crow.