When I chat with any Cubs fan and the topic of Cubs head coach, Joe Maddon, comes up, the consensus is always extraordinarily positive. Simply put, we love Joe! There couldn’t be a better fit for the Cubs. When asked about the pressure that comes along with trying to win a World Series with a Chicago Cubs team that, well….has had a hard time of it, he shrugs his shoulders and just says, “I just don’t vibrate that way, man”. And honestly, I think that’s the absolute truth of the matter for him. It’s something he’s acutely aware of and something he doesn’t really believe needs any consideration when trying to accomplish the goal of winning a World Championship.
In fact, Joe has single-handedly created a winning attitude and culture that I like to call the “Cubs Culture”. The Cubs Culture is one where guys want to play, and sometimes they want to play for less. Watching these guys in spring training feels more like watching the grown up version of the movie Sandlot. That comes from Joe.
People say he’s a mastermind, a genius, but I think it’s much more simple. This is just a man who understands other men, specifically, professional baseball players. He’s been around the game long enough to know the in and outs, long enough to understand the psyche it takes to be a winner. And if there’s any area that he is a master of, it’s in the way he relates to his players and gets results.
It’s been said that Joe has had this vision for a long time. There’s a great article in the Chicago Sun-Times that talks about how Joe wrote a paper 30 years ago on the concept of creating a culture where guys want to stay and play for a team so much that they’d be willing to take less money to do it.
And that, my friends, is the essence of it all. In a world full of crazy huge contracts and guys standing in line to score the next “biggest contract ever”, Joe has found a way to relate to players enough to get them to look past the almighty dollar. More importantly, Joe has found a place that is a perfect fit for him and his philosophy. That place is with the Chicago Cubs and with a fan base that would jump off any and every bridge to score a World Championship. Joe has found his home.