You might've heard, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon moonlights as a T-shirt salesman.
The team that leads Major League Baseball in T-shirts just added a new one to the batch Friday afternoon, though the mid-May 44-degree day did not make for great T-shirt weather:
NEW SHIRT ALERT: pic.twitter.com/Y754sr7AlF— Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) May 19, 2017
Embrace the Suck is a blend of two phrases Maddon used as rallying cries during the championship 2016 season: "Embrace the Target" and "Try Not to Suck."
It's also a military term that the Cubs have been hoping to employ since spring training ever since Joshua Lifrak — the organization's director of mental skills program in the minor leagues — brought it to the manager's attention.
"[It means] exactly what it says," Maddon said. "... It's been a military phrase for probably the last 20 years. I had never heard about it before. It also includes Embrace the Target, Try Not to Suck — it's a morphing of those two phrases and we've been working with the military in order to be able to utilize it where we can sell it and use it for our team phrase."
Maddon and the Cubs are teaming up with KorkedBaseball.com again to sell the shirt and will split the proceeds with the military as well as Maddon's Respect 90 charitable foundation.
"Embrace the Suck" originated from the U.S. Army and is linked to the Navy Seals. It's also being used as a rallying cry for the Atlanta Falcons as of this week after head coach Dan Quinn used it to refocus his team this offseason following a collapse in the Super Bowl.
For the reigning world-champion Cubs, the phrase is remarkably applicable during the first 40 games of a season that has not lived up to expectations set forth by a team that won 200 games across the last two years.
"The message could not be more appropriate than it is right now regarding the start of the season," Maddon said. "We're embracing the suck, we're trying to continue to move forward.
"Militarily speaking, I would imagine if you're fighting or in a difficult situation, it's never any good. But nevertheless, you have to embrace the moment somehow."
The Cubs spent last year embracing the target on their backs as the preseason favorite to win it all. They're still getting everybody's best shot as they were in 2016, but the 2017 team has yet to click on all cylinders and is still trying to settle into a groove.
So how, exactly, do the Cubs Embrace the Suck?
"It's never going to be the same path," Maddon said. "To this point, it's not run exactly the way we've liked it to. But again, to really expect utopia on an annual basis in the baseball industry is difficult and not really a good method.
"I want our guys to understand: Maybe we haven't done our best work to this point, but that's a good thing. To really stay focused and understand that the better days are coming.
"More recently, we've had three good days, but it's gonna take a lot more than that to get back to where we want to be. So the concept of embracing the target, try not to suck and then embracing the suck, to me makes all the sense in the world."
Of course, the Cubs are coming off a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, their first sweep since Sept. 19-21 of last season (also against the Reds at Wrigley Field).
The panic is gone — for now, at least — surrounding a Cubs team that is now 21-19 and has a chance to knock the first-place Brewers out of the top spot in the NL Central this weekend.
"We're over .500," Kris Bryant deadpanned, "so everybody can stop freaking out now."