Cubs

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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.