Per the new Chicago Cubs interview protocol, Mike Maddux today met with the media after his interview. He was, by all accounts, commanding, intelligent, and funny…
Maddux conceded that he’d spoken with his brother, Greg, about the Cubs’ job and about whether Greg would have a role on the coaching staff should Mike get the job, but declined to elaborate, calling it a “private, family matter.” Translation: Mike would love to have Greg on staff, but it’s too early to tell if that’s a realistic thing for Greg to do.
Maddux hammed it up when discussing flashpoint pitcher, Carlos Zambrano. When asked how he would deal with Zambrano, Maddux joked, “First thing you’ve got to do is meet him. I heard he’s a big teddy bear. Might take him up and just burp him.” When Zambrano’s size was pointed out, Maddux was resolute. “Strong back, baby,” he said.
When discussing Zambrano seriously, Maddux said only that he was “the best thing since sliced bread” seven years ago, when Maddux was coaching the Brewers.
On why he came to interview with the Cubs after declining to interview with the Red Sox, citing family concerns: “Chicago’s a neat place. I like being in Chicago.”
On becoming a manager, as opposed to a pitching coach: “I’m very happy with what I do, I enjoy what I do. I’m administering to half the team in Spring Training during the season. People have reached out to me [to interview]. It wasn’t something that I’ve reached out to other people. I think it’s kind of cool to be considered.”
On being a successful manager: “To be a good one, experience would come in. Are you good your first day? Time will tell. I think passion, you have to have passion. Work ethic. Respect of everybody you work with, respect from your players. Be demanding of your players, too.”
On what he would look for in a pitching coach: “Somebody who could put up with my second guessing.”
On his impression of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer: “I can’t do an impression of them.”
Ok, but seriously: “Young. Bright folks. Much like what I deal with in my current position. The new age general managers, front office guys, highly educated, very motivated, but very true and very honest and that’s about all you can really ask for is people who are honest, people who share your passion. Even if our educations are far apart, I’m pretty damn proud of my high school education. I went to college, too. Very entertaining. We had a good time together, I think.” Ba dum, ching.
On how the makeup of a roster impacts winning or losing: “When people talk about more talent – [like,] ‘They have more talent than we do,’ it doesn’t matter, because you’re talking about the most talented guys in the world. The guys that play for the Cubs, the guys that play for the Phillies, the Brewers, the Padres, they’re the best players in the world, the best talents. So the talent is there. It comes down to the best makeup guys.” Maybe it’s a semantical debate on the meaning of the word “talent,” but I’m not sure Theo and Jed would agree that there aren’t some players who are more talented than other players, and whose performance is therefore better, all other things equal.
On the greatest song to hear: “I despised the song, ‘Go, Cubs, Go’ after they kicked our butts.” Your heart can change, Mike.
On the history and mystique of the Cubs: “I’ve always admired this town. it’s a very, very unique setup, and a historic park. Whoever becomes the manager of this ballclub is in a good spot.”
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