The Rundown: Joe Maddon Visits Javier Baez in Puerto Rico, Ernie Banks Memorial Begins Wednesday in Daly Plaza

In what may be our first glimpse of Joe Maddon in managerial action, the Cubs skipper was in Puerto Rico this weekend to watch Javier Baez — and offer support.

Forgive my likely overreaction, but this is pretty cool.

“Being a new member of the Cubs organiation, being the manager and Javier being such a big part of our future, I thought it was important to come down and show support and start building that kind of relationship so he could trust me, also,” Maddon told El Nuevo Dia (video).

I’m looking forward to seeing Maddon’s day-to-day managing — in-game decisions, lineup constructions, etc. But I’m also interested in seeing how he interacts with the players on a more personal level.

Coincidentally or not, Baez had himself a nice weekend in Winter Ball. On Saturday, he was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Last night, he was 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI, one run, and one walk.

In the two games before Maddon’s visit, Baez went 0-for-9 with six strikeouts.

Obviously, we can’t say Baez performed better solely because of Maddon, but if the new Cubs manager can have even a slight effect on relaxing players and getting more out of them throughout the season, I think that can really add up over the course of a year.

Ernie Banks memorial

A public memorial honoring Ernie Banks is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday at Daly Plaza in Chicago. Banks passed away from a heart attack on Friday, the Banks family attorney announced yesterday.

The statue of Mr. Cub that usually sits along Clark avenue, but had been move for refurbishment during the Wrigley renovations, will be transported to the memorial.

I’m glad the memorial will be taking place this week, and I really look forward to seeing what the Cubs do during the season as a means of rememberence. I would assume there will be a patch for the players to wear.

Jesse Rogers writes that the Cubs could schedule a yearly double-header in honor of Banks’ famous “Let’s Play Two” saying. Some fans have suggested it should take place on Sept. 17 (the day of Banks’s debut in 1953).

I think a yearly double-header would be a great gesture if it’s feasible scheduling-wise.

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