Chicago Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, has always been a little bit unconventional in his managerial style. He is, if nothing else, a colorful character, always quick to inject humor into any situation or try unorthodox things to break up the monotony of the 162-game season. For the most part, players take very well to Maddon’s managerial style. Both veterans and rookies alike seem to enjoy the quirkiness and antics of the 64-year-old skipper from West Hazleton, Pennsylvania.
One of Maddon’s favorite mottos over the last several years has been “Don’t let the pressure outweigh the pleasure”. However, Joe doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. Since arriving on the northside of Chicago Maddon has: instituted numerous themed road trips, brought a magician into the clubhouse, set up a petting zoo on the field before a game, and, from time to time, enforced what he refers to as American Legion days (no batting or fielding practice before the game). These shenanigans, while seeming unnecessary and silly, all have very specific purposes.
Maddon’s antics serve to remind the players that baseball is a game and it is meant to be fun. These examples help keep players loose and build comradery in the clubhouse. In addition, the themed road trips are a way to get everybody involved (#EverybodyIn) and remind the players not to take themselves too seriously. Also, as a fan, it is quite the sight to see the players and coaching staff departing for a cross country flight in their pajamas or “crazy suits”.
Maddon is often referred to as a mad genius for the way he handles his team both in between and during games. Whether you agree with his lineup or bullpen decisions, it is impossible to deny that Maddon’s leadership, both on and off the field have been a rousing success in Chicago.
Photo from nbcsports.com