Chicago Cubs made the right call in their new bench coach
By Jake Misener
In promoting first-base coach Brandon Hyde to the role of bench coach, the Chicago Cubs made the right call – avoiding any potential strife down the road.
On Thursday, the Chicago Cubs filled the biggest remaining vacancy on their coaching staff, bringing Brandon Hyde into the bench coach role. And, in doing so, they showed further support of their manager Joe Maddon, who drew the ire of fans throughout the season and postseason.
Maddon, who led the Cubs to a third-straight 90-win season, drew fire from some members of the media following the NLCS. During the series, he was asked about his coaching staff and he offered up nothing but praise. Within a week, John Mallee and Chris Bosio headlined the group Chicago let go.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer brought in the likes of Brian Butterfield as the new third-base coach, Jim Hickey as the pitching coach and Chili Davis as hitting coach. Then, rumors swirled over who would succeed Dave Martinez as Maddon’s right-hand man in the dugout.
All kinds of names were tossed around. Some believed fan favorite David Ross could return to the team he helped bring a championship to. Others pointed to former Boston Red Sox skipper John Farrell, whom Boston fired after an early postseason exit. In the end, these big names missed the mark and Chicago went with a familiar face.
Hyde represents a familiar face for Cubs players. He’s long been a favorite in the clubhouse, serving as the team’s first-base coach in recent years. Hyde previously held the same role under former Cubs manager Ricky Renteria – and with the then-Florida Marlins under Jack McKeon in 2011.
A vote of confidence in Maddon
It’s not just the familiarity that makes Hyde such a perfect fit for the role. He’s done it before – even here in Chicago. Maddon trusts him and respects his input – meaning the pair won’t have to start up a relationship from scratch come Spring Training. But, most importantly, the Cubs offered an irrefutable vote of confidence in their manager.
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Let’s be honest. Since the Cubs brought home that long-awaited World Series title, fans have been … hard to please. Every time one of Maddon’s decisions backfired, fans called for his head. Losing streaks instantly put him on the hot seat to too many people. Naming someone like Ross, Farrell or (an admittedly insane choice) Ozzie Guillen would’ve only made matters worse.
When your bench coach is, say Farrell, things get complicated. Imagine the Cubs drop 10-straight games. Things are looking dire. How do you think the public perception will be surrounding Maddon? People will be clamoring for his head, demanding Farrell take over the team.
Never mind the fact the Cubs are yet to miss the postseason under Maddon or that he played a critical role in each of the team’s successes in the last three years. On the North Side, it’s now all about ‘what you’ve done for me lately.’
And it’s disgusting.
Thank you, Joe
Without Joe Maddon, we don’t have the memories of Kris Bryant throwing across the diamond to Anthony Rizzo for the final out of Game 7. We may not even have three-straight LCS appearances. Sure, his decisions backfire from time-to-time, but Joe is one of the best in the game – and Cubs fans need to acknowledge that.
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Hopefully, these fans understand what the choice of Brandon Hyde means long-term. It shows Epstein and Hoyer trust Maddon with their brain child and its future. They, thankfully, have more sense than fans ready to make a change just because the Cubs didn’t repeat as World Series champions.