Cubs: David Price believes in method to Joe Maddon’s madness


Cubs: David Price believes in method to Joe Maddon’s madness

DETROIT – The gimmicks didn’t get old for David Price, who remembered Joe Maddon coming up with “Pajama Day” when the Tampa Bay Rays did one of their cross-country overnight road trips.

“I had a onesie on,” said Price, who is 6-foot-6, 210 pounds and a Cy Young Award winner. “That is hands down the most comfortable flight I’ve ever been on.”

As Price kept talking about the importance of having fun and being yourself, you immediately thought about Maddon’s anti-rules philosophy, the completely different vibe the star manager has brought to the Cubs.

And how the idea of playing again for Maddon must be appealing to the Detroit Tigers ace, who’s positioned to become a free agent after this season and command a $200 million contract.

“He’s a very unique manager, and I think he was perfect for our team in Tampa,” Price said. “It’s kind of the same way in Chicago right now. We were an extremely young team. We had a ton of talent when Joe came to the Rays. He does a really good job of just making sure that everybody in that clubhouse is comfortable and loose and relaxed.

“Whenever you have young guys, that’s what you need. You want those guys to be comfortable coming to the field. And when they’re comfortable at the field, in the clubhouse and in the dugout, you’re going to get the most production out of those players.”

[RELATED: Cubs and David Price look like a perfect fit in free agency]

There are already enough reasons why the Price-to-Chicago rumors make sense, but Wednesday night’s 12-3 victory at Comerica Park couldn’t have hurt the perception that the Cubs are a team on the rise.

“He knows what we did down there,” Maddon said. “He’s watching what’s going on right here, right now, and he knows how I like to do things.”

Will your relationship matter in free agency?

“I don’t know,” Maddon said. “David and I are friends. I’ve often said in the past he’s probably one of the best teammates I’ve ever been around. It’s just something that’s a process that has to be worked out, and I just wish him the best with it because he’s a unique individual.”

With the Tigers already in Chicago to face the White Sox last weekend, Maddon pointed to Price driving down to Champaign on Sunday to watch his old team – Vanderbilt University – eliminate the University of Illinois on Monday and advance to the College World Series.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Maddon said. “I’ll just say he’s a great teammate.”

Whatever Price ultimately signs for, that number will follow him for the rest of his career. Maybe a familiar face like Maddon could help deflate some of the pressure with some zoo animals in the clubhouse and bigger and better team-building stunts.

“Not everybody enjoys it or wants to do it, but everybody does (it),” Price said. “Whenever we were in Tampa, we would always pass out awards for best dressed and stuff like that. Guys would definitely pull out their wallets to make sure that they had the best-dressed (look). They went above and beyond.

“That’s what it’s about – it’s fun. You get to laugh at each other. It pulls that team a little bit closer, and I think Joe understands that. That’s why he does it.”

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound


Maddon gets funky with bullpen, calls catcher Chris Gimenez to mound

The Cubs continued their recent struggles, suffering their third straight loss to the Cincinnati Reds. 

But the game was not without its fair share of drama. The matchup was a back-and-forth affair, up until the Reds blew the game wide-open in the bottom of the third inning. This included a grand slam by Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, the first home run of his career.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon turned to the bullpen following Cincinnati's third inning explosion, and things did not get much better from there.

With the Cubs down six runs in the bottom of the eight inning, Maddon brought in catcher Chris Gimenez to pitch. 

This was not new territory for Gimenez, who despite being a catcher, now has 10 MLB pitching appearances to his name. 

Down six runs, Gimenez didn't have a lot to lose. But Reds first basemen Joey Votto hammered a fastball in the zone for his eighth homer of the year.

Gimenez had a career ERA of 8.00 before Saturday's appearance, and he certainly didn't do much to help lower that figure.

According to ESPN's Jesse Rogers: "Including one today, Cubs relievers have allowed 41.1 percent of inherited runners to score in June, sixth most in the NL." 

A tired bullpen is certainly cause for concern for the Cubs, who are locked into a battle in the NL Central with the Brewers and Cardinals. Maddon was surely hoping to keep his bullpen arms fresh with the move, seeing as the game was already out of reach. 

So yes, the game did end in a 11-2 win for the Reds. But with a grand-slam by a pitcher—on his first career HR no less—and four-seam fastballs from a catcher, Cubs baseball always keep things interesting.