ST. LOUIS – Instead of trolling Cardinals fans with a Snake Plissken eye patch and an "Escape from St. Louis" dress-up theme, Joe Maddon wore sunglasses and a Cubs hoodie to his media briefing late Thursday morning.
"We're concluding our second spring training," Maddon said, sitting in Busch Stadium's visiting dugout. "We got one in Arizona and we got one in Missouri."
Instead of giving the Cubs the courtesy of getting settled in Chicago — and rescheduling Wednesday's rainout for another mutual off-day — the Cardinals kept the defending World Series champs in St. Louis for a sixth straight night.
"Yesterday concluded my week in the Four Seasons health spa," Maddon said. "I got a workout in every day. I got a steam in every day. I got a Jacuzzi in every day. And I got a nap in every day. So after going seven weeks of spring training with one day off, basically, you get three off in a week here in St. Louis. It's just the insanity of what we do."
Maddon apparently didn't find any inspiration on TripAdvisor.
"Didn't really go out often," Maddon said. "We went out one night to Carmine's and I was considering The Hill last night, but could not motivate myself at all. So I went and ordered off the kids' menu – grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and club soda. So I had a big night."
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Maddon did notice the stretches of sunshine on Wednesday in St. Louis and how the rain stopped long enough for the Cubs and Cardinals to probably play Game 3.
"It appears that way, yeah," Maddon said. "The information all indicated that it was going to rain heavily all day, and everybody made their best guess, which I appreciated, because the worst thing to do is hang around all day — game started, game stopped, game started, game stopped — and that's what it read like.
"The intel we got was that it was going to pour all day. It's an imperfect science regarding weather prediction. Yeah, I'd rather have a day off in Chicago, no question. But that was the call and I'm good with it."
It only took two games — a walk-off loss and a one-run win — to show that the Cubs have the Cardinals' attention and the rivalry still creates drama and excitement.
"They've been definitely intense games," Maddon said. "I'd like it to be, in essence, Game 163, 164, from the end of last season. I want us to always play the same game. I've talked about that from Day 1. So if you're feeling the same game, that's good. That's a good thing. I don't want to differentiate between games in April or August or September.
"I've always been amused by the fact: ‘Well, it's early, it's April.' They don't count as point-five. They count as one-plus or one-minus. It's the same game. And I want our guys to be able to react in that way.
"There's only one variable right now – a week in a hotel in St. Louis. That's not easy. People have to understand you're totally out of your routine at that point."