Chicago Cubs: Joe Maddon believes in his guys to the fifth level

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

A look at the stages

"Stage 1 – I’m happy to be here.  You see this in mostly new players.  At the big league level, some new players get so caught up in the excitement of the big stadiums, the number of fans and the awe they have of players played with and against.  They finally reached their dream but unfortunately, some cannot seem to get through the awe in order to move to the next stages."

When one thinks of this stage, much-hyped former top prospects that never pan out may come to mind. Thankfully, since Theo Epstein took over on the North Side, this hasn’t been as big an issue as in the past.

"Stage 2 – Survival mode.  After experiencing a taste of the big leagues, many players never want to play anywhere else (the minors) again.  Everything they do is an effort to stay at their current level.  They know that one bad week can result in them being sent down so every at-bat gets magnified in their head.  Their emotions tend to exist on the extremes.  A good game makes them euphoric.  A bad game causes panic.  These ups and downs can wreck havic on the mind of a player."

Tommy La Stella two years ago. He was set to head to Triple-A Iowa. Battling personal matters, the organization showed a tremendous amount of flexibility, eventually keeping him on the roster. He, of course, became a fan favorite in recent years for his efforts as a pinch hitter.