What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Today’s Take: The Chicago Cubs need to part ways with Joe Maddon.
The Argument: I know Joe Maddon did something as the manager of the Chicago Cubs that hadn’t happened since places since the Ottoman Empire and the Belgian Congo existed. Hell the entire rise and fall of the Soviet Union happened between the times the Cubs won their last two World Series in 1908 and 2016. Even though that last one was only three years ago, this is a classic case of “that was then, and this is now.”
The current reality is that with one week left in the 2019 baseball season, the Cubs face the very real possibility of missing the post-season entirely despite having one of the most loaded line-ups in all of the game. The reality gets even more concerning for the North-Siders when you consider this is the second year in a row the Cubs have decidedly under-performed. There was no reason for the Cubs to be in one-game play-off with the Milwaukee Brewers last season, and there’s no reason why this team shouldn’t be enjoying a five-game lead in the NL Central right now.
Sure, Maddon-o-philes can point to the thin nature of the starting rotation, the veritable absence of an dependable bullpen, or even the recent spate of injuries, but the fact remains the Cubs are where they are right now because they don’t win when it matters and they can’t win on the road. There was a time when neither of those things were true, and that was when Joe Maddon showed his value.
Go back to that World Series in 2016 when the Cubs were down three games to one, and Games Six and Seven were in Cleveland. That was when Maddon’s ability to maximize the potential of a young, inexperienced team proved it’s value, just like he had done years before in getting the Tampa Rays to their sole World Series appearance. In both cases, he got young teams without any real post-season experience to win when it mattered and win on the road; the difference being the ’16 Cubs had a bit more “star power” than did the ’08 Rays.
But the difference that matters now is why Maddon’s “mojo” doesn’t work for the Cubs anymore. The Cubs in 2016 were a young and largely inexperienced team. Since then, the Cubs have seen the top of the baseball mountain, and now they are a team loaded with top-dollar-quality veteran talent. The things that connect with young players who haven’t seen much of October is Maddon’s long suit, but that stuff doesn’t work with guys who have been through a few pennant races.
The bottom line is there’s still time left for the Cubs to take down another title, but Joe Maddon isn’t the guy to hold that window open for them.
Change my mind.
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