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Soundoff on New Cubs Manager Maddon

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

StreetWise vendors know their sports! StreetWise volunteer Bill Coats and vendors Russell Adams and John Hagan (below, left to right) talk about the Cubs’ new manager.

SportsWise John: Everyone in Chicago is talking about the hiring of Joe Maddon. Go figure, Joe Maddon, the manager of the Chicago Cubs, a team that is supposedly on the rise. But they feel they have to get another manager after only year of work from Renteria. My question for you, Russell, is, do you think Rick Renteria got a fair shake after one year as the Cubs’ manager?

Russell: No, he didn’t. It’s not right. He got a contract. Let the man finish it out. But he got paid, so I guess he’s OK. I think it’s a raw deal, though.

John: So how does it affect the business aspect of it, Bill?

Bill: I think the real question is, does a manager make that much difference to a team? Did Los Angeles win because of Jackson becoming a coach? Or did they win because they had great players?

John: I think, to some extent, they did win with Jackson because without him, they were in playoffs every year, but they weren’t making it to the next level. So sometimes you do need that coach, especially with a couple of high-profile players like Shaq [O’Neal] and Kobe [Bryant] at the time … I kind of believe it does make a difference. A coach can prepare, a coach can know when the time runs out and what discipline the team needs, the right kind of discipline.

Bill: So Russ, you objected to the way Renteria was treated, but do you think that Maddon will make a difference?

Russell: Well, I think he’ll make a difference. He’s known for motivating players, his techniques. I think he’ll make a difference. I remember one game I watched years ago, the bases were loaded for the other team, and he said, ‘walk the guy.’ … The bases are loaded … He walked the guy, and the run came in. But the next guy came in, and he struck him out. So he does things like that. You never know what he’s going to do.

Bill: So he’s done unconventional things … Anyhow I think it’s too bad the way they had to handle it, but it sounded like they did do the best they could to deal with it as professionally as they could. They went and talked to Renteria before they announced it publicly, so he wouldn’t be the last to hear. He was gracious about it, but what choice does he have? … I think the next level for the Cubs would be to play .500 baseball. But the average Cubs fan, as far as I’m concerned, and it seems the management line is building up these expectations beyond what is even plausible. I don’t really believe it’s plausible that the Cubs next year, willy nilly with all the Double-A ball players, are going to win against St. Louis.

John: Good point. You don’t know how good the players are going to be in the first place. I mean, they talk about such and such being so good. I remember that with the Mets back in the 1980s too. They had so many of these good players, like Gregg Jefferies, Ron Darling, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, etc. But how many World Series have they won? So you can see the manager does make a difference in that.

Have comments or questions for the SportsWise team? Please send them to cconnolly@streetwise.org.

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