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April 13, 2015


Will Joe Maddon FINALLY Get The Cubs Over The Hump?

by Larry Leek
Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon

Chicago Cubs, Hire Joe Maddon,

After YEARS of obscurity and mediocre success the Chicago Cubs have new hope on the horizon. A Hope that they may finally have a shot at becoming legitimate for the first time in over 100 years and that hope comes in the name of former Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon.

Since they officially became the Chicago Cubs in 1901 and now the oldest franchise in the country, after having success early on by winning four pennants & two world series from 1906 thru 1909, losing the world series in 1906 to their cross town rival White Sox, before winning their first championship in 1907 against Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers in 5 games. Since that time the Cubs have suffered thru one of the worst franchise losing streaks of ALL time. Even though they have been to a total of seven World Series, their last in 1945 it’s been 106 years and counting since they won their last world championship. Though they did have success in 1984, 89 & again in 2003, 07 and 08 winning the NL East and Central division’s. But for most of their lengthy life span they have enjoyed nothing but the worst that a franchise and its LOYAL fans could ever have to suffer through. Having decades and decades termed with such terrible names as the cursed years and the dark ages (which lasted from 1947 thru 1981 for example). Everyone remembers the Amazing Mets of 1969, but few probably realize it was the FALL of the cursed Chicago Cubs that played as equal a role as the Mets did in their amazing season. The Cubs started out that year 11-1 was still in first place thru the All-Star game before collapsing in the end, finishing 92-70 on the season eight games behind the Mets who finished at 100-62 and back then of course there was NO wild card teams in the post season which meant NO POST for the Cubs. Now the Cubs have new hope with the acquisition of new Manager Joe Maddon who ran the Tampa Bay Ray for the previous nine seasons from 2006-2014, having six winning seasons between 2008 and 2013. Maddon turned the team around in 2008 after losing seasons his first two years as Tampa Bay’s manager. That year Tampa Bay finished with a 97-65 record and the Rays went to their first and only World Series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games. From the 2008 season thru 2013 Tampa Bay managed to win the AL East twice in 2008 & 2010, making the post season a total of four years also in 2011 & 2013. Before managing the Rays, Maddon had brief stints with the California Angels in 1996 managing just 22-games finishing with an 8-14 record and also the Anaheim Angels in 1999 managing only 29 games with a 19-10 record. So with good success managing a team from one of the lower market areas like Tampa Bay, Cubs fans have to be considerably optimistic about their future at least to the tune of possibly some NL Central titles and maybe more. The BIG question is NOT will the success come but WHEN?

This Is Whats On My Sports Mind on this subject.

Being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan all my life, I can certainly understand to a degree Cub Fans frustration, since the Pirates went into hibernation back in the mid eighties before finally returning to the post season again in 2013. But the Pirates have enjoyed so much more success than the Cubbies through out their existence, there’s NO comparison in the two franchises. Even though I was a Pirates fan growing up, once cable TV introduced me to the Superstations and Chicago’s WGN, it didn’t take me long to learn about the Legend that was the Cubs announcer Harry Caray. Just watching and listening to Harry’s enthusiasm during games and his ever famous rendition of Take Me Out To The Ball Game, you couldn’t help but want to see the Cubs go all the way JUST FOR Harry. Sadly it never happened and tragically Harry died on February 14th, 1998, never seeing his dream come true. Now perhaps the Cubs have their best chance at returning to the post season since Lou Piniella managed the team, winning the NL Central in 2008 & 09 and who knows maybe Maddon can take them even further. My Sports Mind tells me that he can and WILL. How far you ask? I think Maddon now has the financial backing to get even better quality players than he ever could have at Tampa Bay, the question is can he get owner Thomas Ricketts to open that wallet DEEP and WIDE? Hopefully Ricketts bought the team in 2009 with the WILL to win but the first six years have NOT proven that. The Cubs enjoyed a winning season (83-78) in Ricketts first year as owner, but since then they have had losing seasons each year including a dismal 61-101 record in 2012, 66-96 the following year and finishing 73-89 last year. But I do think that Maddon will be the difference maker there, however like in Tampa Bay it won’t happen over night OR at least I do not expect that it will, though Joe is great at getting the most out of his players even when the payroll is not that high. In My Sports Mind, I predict that by the 2017 season you will (Or should) see a dramatic difference from the current Cubs team and the team that’s to come. But depending on Ricketts devotion to winning and how much he’s willing to spend in order to do so will ultimately determine the level of success Maddon and his players can have. If Ricketts is ALL in, I think Maddon can take the Cubs one step further, to the plateau the Rays never realized. I just hope that should that happen under Joe Maddon’s reign or whenever that if there’s anyway possible, the Good Lord above could arrange it so that Mr. Cubbie himself Harry Caray can be there to witness it.

So Whats On Your Sports Mind on this subject?



3 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Scoone
    Apr 13 2015

    The Cubs are still the Cubs. Can one man turn 100+ years of failure around? The signing is at least a step in the right direction, but it will take a lot more than that for the Cubbies to be competitive. I’m neutral on the team, being neither a fan or a hater. My team is the Orioles. We’ve had almost 30 years of failure, which is nothing compared to the Cubs woes. And at least we’ve made the playoffs a few times along the way, including 2 of the last 3 years. The Cubs are probably the worst team in baseball right now, so there’s nowhere to go but up. Will they improve? Probably. Will they make it to the top. Highly doubtful.

    • Apr 14 2015

      Yea you are right about the O’s John, BUT there was a time when the O’s were very good year after year when Earl Weaver managed the team. In Baseball & Football one man DOES make a difference and that one man is the Head Coach or Manager. I’ve seen it SO MANY times in my life, college & pro where teams would be terrible for years until they finally got a good Coach & in NO time in many cases they were winning. Joe Maddon has the ability to bring the Cubs success on the diamond as long (as would be in EVERY case) as he gets the proper backing from the owner & as far as the Cubs are concerned, that would be my ONLY ?….

  2. Apr 14 2015

    In college Basketball the same is true as far as the Head Coach but NOT so much in Pro Basketball, but to some degree.


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