Chicago Cubs: Set a different tone
Before the Cubs’ 5-1 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night, Maddon continued to profess his belief in what the team might be able to achieve (subscription required):
"“I’m committed and believe that this group can be what we thought it can be,” Maddon said before a dreary 5-1 loss to the Pirates. “That’s my job and I take that very seriously. I take it to heart. That’s why I talked to them like I just did. That’s why I communicate with them the way I do. That’s why I’ve been really so much more involved, teaching-wise, this year. The drama and everything else is not for me to evaluate. For me, it’s to lessen the drama, to be the absence of drama. I want us just to play and get the best out of every one of these guys.”"
But sometimes, drama and adversity are needed to inspire performance. After all, the Cubs were below .500 at the All-Star break in 2017 before they led the league in runs scored and run differential in the second half.
So why does Maddon continue to be so “matter of fact” when things are –very clearly–not ok?
No, the Cubs are not legitimate World Series contenders right now. They are nowhere close to beating the likes of the Dodgers or Braves in a playoff series. And yet, all anyone hears is this same talk of “potential” that Cubs fans have been listening to ad nauseam.
Urgency is needed. If an incredible June from a leader like Jason Heyward cannot inspire the team, where is that urgency going to come from?
It needs to come from Maddon, who has three more months to prove his worth.