Last week I got a barage of texts from a very good friend of mine after the Cubs gave up a late lead to the Dodgers in Game 1 of the series at Wrigley. Now I’ve known this guy since I was 16. We now live in different states. He’s always been a Cubs fan. But sometimes he can be a bit of a meathead.
Let me take you back to the game. The Cubs have a 1 run lead in the 9th, first game of a double header, since the previous day had been rained out. Joe Maddon calls on Justin Wilson to close. He doesn’t. He gives up the lead and the Cubs lose the first game. Disappointing to be sure. Then the texts start rolling in. “Maddon is senile.” “Where was Morrow?” There was more but you get the idea. Basically it was Maddon’s fault.
First of all, if my friend had actually paid attention to the broadcast, he’d have known that Brandon Morrow was unavailable. At the time we didn’t know why. Of course we now know he hurt his back and ended up on the DL. That’s your first lesson. Pay attention!
Second, why is it Joe Maddon’s fault? Instead of directing the venom where it belongs, at Justin Wilson for stinking, my friend, I’ll call him “Bill” (not his real name) wants to blame Joe Maddon for everything. This is a classic case of what I call playing the results. Had Wilson done his job and closed out the game, would Bill have given Maddon credit?
I hear this a lot in all sports. call it playing the results, Monday morning quarterbacking, whatever term you prefer. Oh by the way I woke up just this morning to a barrage of texts from Bill complaining about what happened last weekend in Cincinnati and the first game of the Dodgers series. Somehow it’s Maddon’s fault that the Cubs only scored a run. It certainly had nothing to do with Kris Bryant being hurt. Or maybe the Dodger’s pitcher was just really good. Nope. Must be Maddon’s fault. I was going to screenshot his texts and post them in this story, but the language wasn’t exactly family friendly.
Look, I get it. Nobody is more critical of Crazy Joe than I am. His lineup carousel drives me insane. The fact that Albert Almora still somehow hasn’t earned a place in the every day lineup despite hitting over .300 and being the best defensive outfielder on the team makes me want to throw things at the TV sometimes. He also assumes the role of Captain Hook way too often with the starting pitchers for my taste, never seeming to give the starter a chance to get out of trouble without going to the bullpen. So believe me, this isn’t a fluff piece for Joe Maddon. I also realize Maddon has forgotten more about baseball than I’ll ever know. He lead the Tampa Bay Rays, annual owners of last place, to 2 post season appearances, including a trip to the World Series. He’s led the Cubs to 3 straight National League Championship Series, including a World Series that they won. I don’t know if you know this, but that hadn’t been done in a few years. So yes, I can be critical, but I also respect the man’s track record. And by the way, IT’S STILL NOT EVEN JULY YET!. Yes, one of the texts I got from Bill actually said we won’t go to the playoffs this year. Don’t be like Bill. Don’t blame the manager every time something goes wrong. Let’s get everybody healthy and see what happens.