CLEVELAND – Joe Maddon’s social-media policy can be summed up in less than 140 characters: “Just don’t get caught.”
The Cubs manager has an anti-rules philosophy, more than 236,000 followers on Twitter and a laissez-faire attitude in the clubhouse.
Maddon hadn’t heard about the Pablo Sandoval Instagram incident until a reporter explained it to him during Thursday’s pregame media session at Progressive Field. As an ideas guy, he sounded interested in the story.
The Boston Red Sox benched Sandoval for “liking” an attractive woman’s pictures during Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. This became the perfect storm for a last-place team, an aggressive media market and the new guy with a five-year, $95 million contract.
Barstool Sports, a Boston-centric website, noticed the interaction between “kfp48” and “diva_legacy” on the photo/video-sharing application. Sandoval admitted to checking his cellphone while using the bathroom in the middle of the game.
“Seriously, what are you going to do?” Maddon said. “When I was in the minor leagues – a rookie-league manager – there was a rule that you had to monitor (the) one inch of red on my socks…back here with the stirrups. You’d come out every day worrying more about that than what you’re supposed to be worrying about.
“I don’t want to worry about things like this more than the things I’m supposed to be worrying about. I want them to exercise good judgment. I would believe that everybody in there would tell you that’s not the right thing to do.
“It really is harmless, but it sends out all the wrong messages, especially when you’re not playing well. Then it becomes amplified even more. Just don’t do it.”
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Unlike the Red Sox, the Cubs don’t have a formal team rule against using cellphones during games. Or a mobile-device shutdown 30 minutes before first pitch – something Hall of Famer Paul Molitor instituted during his first year managing the Minnesota Twins as a way to sharpen concentration.
“That’s a situation where I really like to believe that the guys will police one another,” Maddon said. “And if they feel like somebody’s not getting ready, call ‘em on it. I’d much prefer that method as opposed to something written on a piece of paper and me telling them how to act.
“You should know how to act. Act properly. And if you’re not, the guy sitting next to you who’s professional is going to say: Listen, man, put it down.”