Chicago Cubs: Will 2019 mark the end of the band?

(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) /

Is Joe Maddon’s decision to become more of a field coach a signal that this could be the last season for the Chicago Cubs famed skipper?

This week, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon told the world he is going to be more of a hands-on, field coach in 2019. He is doing so in response to the challenge laid down by the president of baseball operations Theo Epstein that everyone must come to the ballpark with an increased sense of urgency next season.

Maddon not only plans on spending more time on the field but minimizing or even ending his media slapstick routine performed before most Cubs games.

"“That will be the part that will be different,” Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’ve always kind of stayed free of coaching because I really want to stay out of coaches’ way so they can do their job. I’ve always felt that is the right way to do it. But this year I’m going to get a little more hands-on involved in actually coaching. I think that’s where the comment came from. …. I actually want to do less before the game talking to the media and whatever and try to get on the field more often.”More from Chicago Cubs NewsCubs: Adrian Sampson is forcing his way into the conversationProjecting the Chicago Cubs bullpen to open the 2023 seasonCubs fans are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnelJustin Steele has evolved into a frontline starter for the CubsThe future of first base is murky right now for the Cubs"

Yeah, right. Who is this imposter and what have you done with the real Joe Maddon? After years of being a senior manager, Maddon is ready to mix it up on the field with the specialty coaches?

Maybe we’ve been so used to seeing Maddon puff through his lineup card and pontificate to the media that we can’t imagine him doing anything else. Can Maddon change it up in 2019 and bring home the big prize? If so, he may just become a legend.

What is interesting in this every silver cloud has a dark lining scenario is; what if he can’t do it? What happens if Maddon gets on the field and dances for Epstein around the batting cages and the Cubs come out flat and lethargic in 2019?

Maddon may be the first to leave the band with no contract to fall back on. The two-time Manager of the Year would be more than a free agent in 2019, he’d be unemployed. Of course, Maddon’s departure would surely be followed by other key Cubs in that kind of disastrous season but Maddon hopes that none of that ever happens as he told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune when asked if he could envision managing elsewhere after his contract was finished.

"“Not really, no,” he replied. “I hope not. I don’t want to. We’ll see how long everybody wants to stay together — keep the band together — and then I don’t even know what the next thing (would be). I know my age indicates it should be, but hopefully keep it rolling right.”"

Next. Cubs have excelled on depth-type moves recently. dark

As if the 2019 season wasn’t going to be a pressure cooker enough with the trades and pitching controversies, now Maddon will sacrifice his pride on the field of battle in a defining moment to keep the band together a little longer.

Maybe the band’s got one more hit in them after all.