It was only a matter of time before the “team meetings” started. I’m not sure that I was prepared for two team meetings in one day, but that’s what the Cubs did yesterday.
First, manager Mike Quade held a team meeting to address the sloppy play and the mid-game fight between Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez.
“We just put things to bed and made sure things don’t fester and kind of get a recommitment to cleaning up some of the mistakes we made,” Quade said Thursday. “It’s not just about saying we need to clean some of this stuff up, it’s offering solutions and ideas that we think may help clean things up.
“That doesn’t mean it happens overnight,” Quade said. “You want to make sure people are committed to the work they’re doing, that they understand the differences in Arizona and the things that go on here, be it pop ups or the speed of the infield, all the things that this place presents. You just emphasize particularly the defensive end of it.”
Quade was the only one who talked at the meeting. He was glad to see some of the players were as ticked off as he was by the sloppy play.
“I’m glad people are [upset],” he said. “We need to channel that anger at the opposition and within ourselves and that’s all. Just handle it the way you need to handle it. I think we put that to bed and as far as I’m concerned, we did.”
He did not call Silva and Ramirez into his office, opting to let the two resolve their differences. That doesn’t mean he wants to see more altercations.
“Look, if we were going to have everybody fighting who has made mistakes this spring, we’d have the cage match of all time,” Quade said. “Let’s be honest — it hasn’t been good. It’s surprised me because I’ve been happy with the work.”
All fine. It’s a delicate balance for managers when it comes to team meetings – sometimes, they’re necessary; but in order to have maximum impact, you can’t hold them every time the team takes a collective dump. Given the absurd performance of the team thus far in Spring Training, I have no problem with Quade popping his meeting cherry this early. Let’s hope it has an impact.
But one meeting wasn’t enough, because Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena called a players only meeting shortly thereafter.
Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena called a players meeting, stressing the need to stick together, after manager Mike Quade had spoken with the team about the shoddy defense and the dugout scuffle Wednesday between the two veterans.
“Just the veterans talking, so we know we’re all on the same page,” Byrd said. “We have some big dogs on this team now — big-name guys who have been around for a long time.”
Byrd wouldn’t go into details but he said it was no reflection on Quade, who gave his approval.
“He’s righting the ship, doing exactly what he’s supposed to do,” Byrd said. “He basically laid the ground rules out. Everybody understands there is nothing else to be said. I mean, you can keep bringing it up, but it means absolutely nothing.”
Glad to see that the subject of the players’ meeting was focused on the in-fighting issues, as that’s the kind of subject players are more likely to be receptive about from other players. And was there ever any doubt that the two leaders on this team would be Marlon Byrd and Carlos Pena?