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 Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Belonging, winning – living the dream

"Stage 3 – I belong here. I can do this.  This stage is when the player starts to relax and understand that a bad game is not the end of the world.  They focus on putting in their work everyday and accept that good and bad days are going to occur.  Come what may."

In the last year or so, it seems like guys like Albert Almora, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ have started to hit Stage 3. They go through ups and downs, but, ultimately, put in their work on a daily basis.

"Stage 4 – I want to make as much money as possible.  When players see that they have a chance to stick around for a while, many start to think that they may just be lucky enough to make this a career.  Because they know how quickly someone can leave the game, they start to focus on making as much money as quickly as they can.  Too much focus on external parts of their career can create unnecessary distractions.  For kids in amateur ball, getting your name in the paper or some other public accolade might be the equivalent."

Jake Arrieta. After nearly falling out of favor in Major League Baseball, the right-hander turned his career around in Chicago. He went from fringe big leaguer to 2015 National League Cy Young winner. With the Cubs, he became one of the best big game hurlers in all of baseball.

"Stage 5 – All I want to do is win.  According to Maddon, this stage is the most enlightened.  Players who get here recognize that consistently doing everything to help a team win will make them 1) more happy to be here, 2) allow them to stay, 3) increase their confidence that they belong there, and 4) make them money."