Despite the mess in 2019, the culture is still strong inside the Chicago Cubs clubhouse, and having that foundation is invaluable.
The 2019 season has officially come to an end, and it has been capped off by the break-up with the best manager in the history of the Chicago Cubs, Joe Maddon. Whether you agree with the decision or not, I think we can all understand that change is needed for this group.
One of the components of this team that impressed me throughout the season was the culture inside the clubhouse. No matter how bad things got, the team stayed positive, and never stopped believing until it was officially over. Watching the leadership on display is one of the few positive takeaways heading into the off-season, and we have an optimistic outlook for the future as a result.
Maddon was a huge component to the atmosphere in the clubhouse, so it will be crucial that whoever the Cubs bring in to take his place is able to keep that feeling of brotherhood alive.
The leaders of this baseball team never showed any quit, and despite the disastrous finish, you can’t help but love this group no matter how tough things may get. The core of this team demonstrated their passion and heart during the downward spiral.
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Anthony Rizzo came back from a wicked ankle injury two days before the minimum rest period in order to fight for a division crown in a giant four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. No one has ever questioned Rizzo’s toughness, but watching his epic and unexpected return sent chills up your spine.
Javier Baez broke his thumb, and with a sweep to the Cardinals looming, he picked up a bat and went to the plate and said afterward, “I would do anything to help my team.”
In the same game, Baez showed his heroism, and Kris Bryant was shown running his heart out on a routine double-play ball. He had a nasty injury to his ankle on the play but showed his commitment to the finish line. The day after a devastating sweep in the biggest series of the season, he said that he wanted to get right because he believed the Cubs still had a chance. A true example of professionalism and a never quit mentality.
These are just a few of the many examples of how the Cubs have the atmosphere in the clubhouse that every other team in the MLB wants. Losing NINE games in a row with the playoffs on the line was enough for many teams to check out, but the Cubs came back each and every day still believing that they could right the ship.
Significant changes are coming to this off-season, but the Cubs should not and do not need to blow it up. Do not touch this core. For the fans on twitter who think they have all the answers and want Bryant traded, find another team to root for.
A more significant trade would be beneficial no doubt, but Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, Willson Contreras, and even Kyle Schwarber should not be pieces in any talks. The Cubs have built a championship mindset, and the culture is still there.
The biggest takeaway from the 2019 season is that the Cubs have players worth believing in. They believe in themselves and everything that this team has become, and if they are confident they can return to glory, the fans should be behind them. The winds of change are blowing, and with the group inside the clubhouse, that can be a good thing.