The Balance of Preparation and Normalcy and Other Bullets

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The Balance of Preparation and Normalcy and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

joe maddon beardThe regular season at Wrigley Field concludes today with the makeup game against the Royals. It was a pretty great year at home for the Cubs, and for fans, who got to see a transformation of the ballpark before their very eyes – doesn’t it seem like forever ago that there were construction workers (and only construction workers) moving about in the unfinished bleachers during games?

  • It doesn’t sound like Joe Maddon is planning on making any grand changes to the way his team approaches this final week of the season, even with the second Wild Card spot clinched and the top Wild Card spot unlikely (ESPN). Maddon’s been here before with young teams, though he usually doesn’t have quite this much time between the clincher and the playoffs. You want to see guys get rest, but not lose sharpness. You want the young players to stay focused, but not feel a build up of pressure. It’s gotta be a tricky balancing act, but Maddon has earned our confidence throughout this season.
  • This Cubs team will not lose the Wild Card Game because of a lack of preparation or because of over-preparation. You can’t treat the game like it’s just any other – it won’t be played like that – but you also can’t allow your players to act like it isn’t the same sport they’ve been playing their whole lives. You’re not looking for anyone to decide to play hero and then try and act accordingly; you just want them to be the guys that got the team there in the first place … and no worse for the pressure.
  • “Never let the pressure exceed the pleasure.” Joe Maddon said it on day one.
  • It seems unlikely that he’ll be able to get himself into a position where the Cubs could put him confidently on a playoff roster, but Jason Motte is still working his way back from the shoulder strain that shut him down in August ( He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow.
  • Very cool of the Cubs to properly honor Aramis Ramirez, who is retiring after this season and was a huge part of the team for a long time:

  • Respect 90:

  • If you missed anything from this weekend, catch up here.
  • The Cardinals and Pirates square off this week, and Scoreboard Watching has some thoughts on that.
  • In case you’re wondering: yes, all things Arrieta is going to get its own post.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.