Cubs

How 'Try not to suck' became the rallying cry for Joe Maddon and the 2016 Cubs

How 'Try not to suck' became the rallying cry for Joe Maddon and the 2016 Cubs

It's been almost five months since T-shirts became another chapter in the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.

Korked Baseball suddenly found itself embroiled in a minor controversy as Busch Stadium ushers wouldn't let Cubs fans enter wearing the "Try not to suck" Cubs T-shirts in St. Louis because of the perception the phrase was offensive.

Joe Maddon used his platform through the Chicago media to question the decision of the Busch officials, and the Cardinals eventually relaxed and decided to allow the T-shirts into the ballpark.

And thus the "Try not to suck" campaign had found all the fuel it needed and the fire is still burning strong as the Cubs invade Busch Stadium again Monday night.

"No better publicity than being denied to wear it in a particular ballpark," Maddon said. "I thought that was great. The moment I heard about it, I said, 'Man, the sales are going to jump really good from that particular moment."

It was back in January when the slogan started to take shape as a fan asked Cubs infielder Javy Baez at Cubs Convention what advice Maddon gave when Baez made his season debut in September 2015:

"Try not to suck," was Baez's answer, prompting an uproar inside the jam-packed Sheraton Grand Chicago ballroom. 

"I remember him sitting there in that little office in the old clubhouse," Maddon said, "and he's sitting there right across the desk there and just trying to loosen him up a little bit. I knew about his past - I got to know him; I went to see him down in Puerto Rico a couple years ago - and I just wanted to try and relax him a little bit.

"That's what that's all about. We all, as professionals, one of the main things you do on a daily basis is try not to embarrass yourself. So how do you do that? By trying not to suck.

"Take it with a light heart. ... I want them to just go out there and play like they're in Little League. Like a bunch of kids having a good time. Don't worry about making mistakes."

[WATCH: How The Hazleton Way shaped Joe Maddon]

After Baez made that snapshot story public at Cubs Convention, Cubs hitting coach John Mallee and Korked Baseball co-founder Joe Ferro (who puts on hitting clinics with Mallee around the country over the winter) decided to take that catchy phrase and create a T-shirt.

Maddon and the Cubs players sported the T-shirts in spring training and the public ate it up.

The Korked guys created an entire series of "Maddonisms," including "Do simple better," "Embrace the target" and "If you look hot, wear it."

"The website officially launched on March 4 and on March 6, the entire Cubs team was wearing the 'Try not to suck' shirt," Korked co-founder Jacob Chandler said. "It just skyrocketed. We didn't expect to do half of what we've done this year. It's just blown up.

"It's raised a lot of money for [Maddon's] charity, which is really the biggest thing we're pushing for - raising money for other charities."

Check out the entire collection on KorkedBaseball.com, which helps raise money for Maddon's Respect 90 foundation.

Cubs reportedly interested in Troy Tulowitzki

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USA TODAY

Cubs reportedly interested in Troy Tulowitzki

According to MLB Insider Jon Heyman, the Cubs are one of the teams interested in free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The 5-time All-Star will be holding a workout soon, with Chicago being one of the six teams reported to have a scout present at his workout.

Heyman did mention that while the Cubs aren’t necessarily the favorites right now, we will know how good of a chance they will have soon. Tulowitzki and his team are reported to be narrowing down their list to (at least) 6 teams.

Last season Tulowitzki played 66 games for the Blue Jays, batting .249 with 7 home runs and 26 RBI. For his career he is a .290 hitter and is looking for a bounce-back season after dealing with complications from bone spur injuries in both heels over the years.

Toronto has to pay the $38 million left on Tulowitzki's contract, freeing up other teams to sign the veteran to a more reasonable deal. Since the Blue Jays went the route of cutting him, teams can offer Tulowitzki a league minimum salary.

For the Cubs, he represents-however small-a chance to extract great value from a veteran player, which would be a big bonus considering how the Yu Darvish signing backfired in year one.

Tulowitzki is likely to be searching for playing time on a legit title contender, so if he can provide any solid offensive production going forward, he and the Cubs could be a solid match.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings recap

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Winter Meetings recap

When nothing happens in Vegas, it stays in Vegas. Luke, Kap and Tony talk about the Cubs lack of moves during the Winter Meetings.

In this episode of the Cubs Talk Podcast with Luke Stuckmeyer, David Kaplan and Tony Andracki:

00:10 - What happen in Vegas stays in Vegas and this year that means nothing. Luke, Kap & Tony talk Cubs lack of moves at Winter Meetings.

00:50 - Where the heck is all the money? This was supposed to be a wide-open window - we step on the accelerator.

01:25 - Cubs keep throwing money at the problem (Chatwood, Darvish) and it has become a cautionary tale.

02:50 - Are the Cubs playing at the shallow end of the kiddie pool?

03:50 - Tony talks about the volatility of the relief market.

05:15 - Where is the bullpen market? Brewers are making moves, but it's still "crickets" for the Cubs.

06:20 - Tony: Other than bullpen - Cubs have to address backup middle infielder most of all.

06:57 - Daniel Descalso rumors. Kap describes him as a grinder who fits the leadership mold.

07:47 - Luke is a little worried about Steve Cishek. He threw a career-high 70 innings last season.

09:34 - The guys talk about the possibility of a "second deadline" for the Winter Meetings to force clubs to make more moves.

11:06 - Luke: "I wanted to see Machado and Harper walking down the strip and making it rain!"

12:45 - Cubs still have so much to address. Some Cubs fans are starting to get a little itchy. Teams in the division are making moves. What about us?

14:45 - Question: Is Anthony Rizzo the third-best 1st baseman in the Central Division?

15:50 - Prediction time: What's biggest move the Cubs will make before opening day? Kap believes that Ian Happ will not be a Cub before the regular season starts.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast

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