Joe Maddon may not be Manager of the Year — or a Game 7 hero — but Cubs still see a future Hall of Famer

Joe Maddon may not be Manager of the Year — or a Game 7 hero — but Cubs still see a future Hall of Famer

Dave Roberts deserved to be the National League’s Manager of the Year because the Los Angeles Dodgers exceeded preseason expectations, overcame a wave of injuries and made so many different clubhouse pieces fit together.

The Dodgers used 15 different starting pitchers while getting fewer than 150 innings out of Clayton Kershaw. Roberts worked with a sprawling front office, creatively manipulating the lineup and the bullpen while incorporating young talent like Rookie of the Year Corey Seager, guiding the Dodgers to 91 wins and a division title.

The Cubs woke up on Opening Day as Major League Baseball’s most talented team on paper. Except for Kyle Schwarber shredding his left knee in early April — which would heighten the World Series drama later — the Cubs stayed remarkably healthy. Winning 103 games looked more like a continuation of 2015, when Maddon won the Baseball Writers’ Association of America award.

When the BBWAA revealed the voting on Tuesday night, Maddon (70 points) finished a distant second behind a first-year manager (108 points) in a contest that has a lot to do with perception and external factors and closes before the playoffs even start. Roberts received 16 of the 30 first-place votes, with Washington Nationals manager/ex-Cub Dusty Baker placing third with 66 points.

It also says something about the fundamental nature of the job — particularly in the age of Twitter and Big Data — that Maddon could guide the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908 ... and still get criticized and second-guessed for how he handled that classic Game 7 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

“Listen, we won the World Series,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “I know there’s a zero-percent chance we win 200 games over two years and win the World Series without Joe.

“That’s the nature of the postseason. The managers take on almost an oversized persona because the camera’s on them the entire game. Every move they make is going to be dissected.”

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Like pulling Cy Young Award contender Kyle Hendricks with two outs in the fifth inning at Progressive Field — to bring in Jon Lester with a runner on first base and intensify the focus on his yips. Or having superstar closer Aroldis Chapman throw 97 pitches in Games 5, 6 and 7 combined. Watching Javier Baez fail to execute an assigned squeeze bunt in the top of the ninth inning compelled Jason Heyward to call a players-only meeting in the weight room during a 17-minute rain delay.

“Listen, I’ll be the first person to admit,” Hoyer said, “when Chapman came in with a man on first and two outs in the eighth inning, nowhere in my psyche was the game going to be tied two batters later (on Rajai Davis’ homer). Chapman hadn’t given up a home run as a Cub. So I think, in a lot of ways, what happened was something that was totally anomalous to what had happened throughout the season.

“But Joe is a world-champion manager for the first time — and he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame someday.”

Maddon clearly deserves credit for helping create the environment where all these hyped prospects could become All Stars, deflecting attention away from his players with his money quotes and long media sessions and deflating some of the pressure around the team with his “Embrace The Target” mentality.

It’s also so much easier to write about an 8-7 World Series Game 7 in the press box — or make those decisions from your couch — than actually deal with the human beings in the dugout. On Wednesday night, a Cub will win the Cy Young Award for the second straight year, unless Washington’s Max Scherzer beats Hendricks and Lester in a three-man race that didn’t have a clear-cut frontrunner like Jake Arrieta in 2015. It would be a shocking upset on Thursday night if Kris Bryant doesn’t follow up his Rookie of the Year campaign with an MVP award.

Maddon had been a two-time Manager of the Year with the Tampa Bay Rays, a small-market franchise that couldn’t keep its young core intact or win bidding wars for elite free agents. Maddon’s managerial resume already includes six playoff appearances in 11 years, including seven seasons with at least 90 wins, and the Cubs still feel like this is just the beginning of their run. Those crazy 10 innings in Cleveland should be good material for a Cooperstown speech.

“It was an amazing game,” Hoyer said. “I’m sort of glad that’s how we won the game. I think it was an appropriate way to end a 108-year-drought. We sort of stared into the abyss for 45 minutes or so — and ended up coming out the other side.

“It’s a more appropriate way than having a nice, clean 6-3 win. But I think I probably have more gray hair now. I probably have ulcers. And it probably took some minutes off my life. But I do think it was probably more appropriate.”

Glanville Offseason Journal: Traded in the offseason, but life goes on


Glanville Offseason Journal: Traded in the offseason, but life goes on

My mom’s father, my grandfather, in his North Carolina accent, used to ask me nearly every time I saw him.

“You still hittin’ that ball?!?!”

He knew my brother took extensive time to groom me in the game of baseball as soon as I could walk. So he recognized early on that my passion for the game only grew with time. So when he passed away during the offseason nearing midnight into Dec. 23, 1997, it was tough. I could no longer answer his question with a baseball career update.

He passed away in the same hospital where the legendary Negro League player, Buck Leonard, would pass away less than a month sooner. It is just so happened that Leonard’s passing coincided with the day my grandfather was first admitted into the same facility. I took it as a sign as I reviewed baseball and family history thinking about how I could honor my grandfather through both.

1997 was not the offseason I had envisioned. After coming off my breakthrough major league season, my first full season as a major leaguer with the Chicago Cubs, I had hit .300 and earned a chance to be in the starting lineup nearly every day. We had an exit meeting that year in the Astrodome. Cubs general manager at the time, Ed Lynch, was blunt and honest.

He explained very clearly that the organization tried to give the everyday job to “everyone else but you,” but was complimentary in how I was able to take advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself.

I was a speedy center fielder that was in left field for most of the season after a revolving door of our top outfield prospects didn’t quite do enough to lock down the every day role. A platoon gave me a chance to play against lefties, which grew into against righties too.

The talent was deep from my vantage point: Ozzie Timmons, Robin Jennings, Pedro Valdes, Brant Brown, Brooks Kieschnick, Scott Bullet and so on. There were a ton of a good outfielders, and when the smoke cleared, I was the one holding the starter trophy. I was hoping the offseason was a time where I could cement that status as a Chicago Cub.

So I went into the offsseason with hope. Hope that only strengthened while I was on Lake Shore Drive and heard Ed Lynch on the radio talking about my season and how the expansion of the league (1998 the league added the Rays and the D-Backs) was going to force him to make tough decisions about who to protect from the expansion draft.

He conceded that I would be seeking a significant raise after my season. Then, the minimum salary was $109,000 (I made a little more than that in year two) and because of my strong year as a second season player, Lynch was making a reasonable conclusion. I knew my agent was happy.

My grandfather’s health had been declining over time, so his passing was not a shock, but before I fully digested the loss, the phone rang around 12 hours after I got word that he was gone. Who was calling?

I took the call in the basement of my parent’s house. This was while I was in the midst of a sea of unwrapped Christmas gifts strewn all over the ping pong table, the main wrapping station in the Glanville household during the holidays. My first thought was it must be my mom, who was in North Carolina pivoting from savoring his last hours to working on funeral arrangements. My brother was with her. It already was an awkward holiday from our geographically broken family.

It was Ed Lynch on the line, telling me that I had been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.


I fielded all of the media calls the rest of that day. It was an all-day affair. Between the fresh news of my grandfather’s passing, the shock of being traded after finally breaking through as a starter, and the exhaustion at the idea of learning a new organization, I was not that thrilled.

In fact, one member of the Philadelphia press core finally asked me why I was sounding so unenthusiastic about being traded to the team I loved growing up as a kid. So I had to tell him about my grandfather’s passing and the reality sinking in that I was about to celebrate my first family Christmas with our nuclear family broken into pieces.

For the first time during the holidays, there was this divider in my family. Separated by life’s harsh terms. My father and I were home and my mother and brother were not. My dad and I celebrated at a long-standing friend’s house, a thousand miles from my mom and big bro, and a million miles away from truly accepting that I had been traded.

I had just completed my sophomore year in Major League Baseball and it was a moment when I felt like I had figured out some of my mechanics of the game. I was learning how to be consistent, learning the ropes about managing life in season and now offseason.

I was being traded to a team whose organization brought me great joy in 1980 as a die hard fan, a place where I could start in center field, but this was different. This was the business of baseball. The day I became a movable commodity, traded away for present value in Mickey Morandini. The Phillies were betting on my next chapter being my best years.

Can they do that? Just trade me away without asking me? Of course they can. Wait, why can they?

My 1980s memories of that Phillies championship was more than about the trophy. It framed an era. By my following that team since I was five or six, I saw that team build, I pulled my hair out when the Dodgers kept knocking them out in the ‘77 and ‘78 NLCS. But most of all, they had the same personnel. A core of players, nearly untradeable. Garry Maddox, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Larry Bowa and so on. They were practically glued together for several seasons.

But in the modern game of the late '90s, that dream of being drafted by a team, growing up with that organization, winning with the Cubs and retiring a Cub was no longer possible. That was how the game was evolving.

Although I was a big leaguer, I still was a fan. I still was caught off-guard even after I knew the Cubs protected me in the expansion draft. I understood that at all times, lurking were many ways in the game where I could change teams. Some voluntary, most not.

I realized that the offseason was not just this big training session to get ready for the next season. It was also a chess match of competing value. What you are worth versus what you think you are worth. The 2018 Cubs have many players asking that question. Will Kyle Schwarber be traded? Will Kris Bryant sign?

All players will experience life hitting them in the face when they least expect it. During that downtime, the reflection time, the break. That is why it can sting so much. And loss spares no one in this game, even after you hit .300. The rumors alone can eat you up.

I would attend my grandfather’s funeral and reunite with my mom and brother days after the trade. I took a moment during the time with family to make one simple declaration to the sky above.

“Granddad, I am still hitting that ball.”

Just this year, instead of Cubs blue, I would be wearing Phillies red.

Cubs fans collective rage measured in one word


Cubs fans collective rage measured in one word

Baseball is an emotional game, both for those on the field and those merely spectating. Cubs fans are no exception to this notion.

TickPick looked into how often fans used expletives on Reddit during the 2018 MLB Postseason. According to the study, Cubs fans used the f-bomb on Reddit more than any other team.

Despite playing in just one postseason game, Cubs fans ranked first in frequency of using f-bombs per postseason game played at 432 occassions. Of course, the Cubs' playoff run ended quickly with a 2-1 loss to the Rockies in the NL Wild Card Game.

There were 1,911 f-bombs used on Reddit during the Wild Card Game, including 48 when Javier Báez hit an RBI-double in the eighth inning to tie the score at 1-1.

Red Sox fans "placed" second in f-bomb frequency/game with 342, an interesting note considering a) the Red Sox played in 13 more playoff games than the Cubs and b) they won the World Series. 

Reddit users directed the fourth-most "f _ _ _ you's" at the Cubs as a team, trailing just the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox. Individually, no Cubs ranked in the top 5 in "f-you's" directed at players, for what it's worth. 

Playoff baseball! You've got to love it, right? The full study can be found here.

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