Cubs

Maddon on Cubs arriving early to spring training: 'It's overkill'

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Maddon on Cubs arriving early to spring training: 'It's overkill'

MESA, Ariz. - The official report date for Cubs pitchers and catchers was Friday, with position players due to arrive Feb. 23.

But a lot of the Cubs couldn't wait until next week to get going.

[RELATED - Embrace the Target: Joe Maddon wants Cubs to run into the fire]

Jason Heyward - the Cubs' biggest acquisition of the offseason - has already been in Arizona for more than a week, while Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist were among the other position players who showed up before their report dates.

"You can only go so long without playing baseball, especially since some of the signings we've had and the excitement surrounding our team right now," Bryant said. "Who wouldn't want to come early? We're all excited to get out here and we really can't wait to get going."

Bryant also thinks the early showing in spring training is a direct result of the way the season ended for the Cubs last year.

"A lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff is good, too, just getting here early, getting our workouts in and pushing each other," Bryant said. "We're holding each other accountable.

"A lot of that comes back to how we ended last year and we didn't end the way we wanted to."

Heyward was impressed with how many younger guys showed up early and feels that speaks to how hungry everybody in the organization is.

He said he shows up early to spring training every year to get into a baseball atmosphere and Bryant believes that mindset speaks to Heyward's character.

Manager Joe Maddon, however, has a different opinion - though he did admit the eagerness and excitement of the players is admirable.

"I'm not an advocate of guys showing up early," Maddon said. "I'm actually, like, sitting in the RV, reading reports about what's happening or seeing photographs of guys working out.

"I don't think it's necessary. Come on out, maybe get a little running in, talk to the dudes, just get acclimated a bit.

"But this is all overkill as far as I'm concerned. There's plenty of time to get it down."

This is the same guy who holds "American Legion Week" in August every year, where he locks players out of the clubhouse hours before the game, stressing a need for rest and recuperation over batting practice and ground balls.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

As it stands right now, the Cubs will be working out for almost two weeks before embarking on five weeks' worth of games ahead of the season opener on April 4.

"I just don't want anybody to comment that spring training is too long," Maddon said. "They just made it longer.

"Everybody is always saying spring training is too long and then they show up two weeks too early. I don't get it. It's incredible.

"There's plenty of time. One of the parts of my message this morning to my coaching staff was we do have time to not rush anybody. The two biggest concerns are that we're ready on the first day and that nobody's injured.

"... Spring training is long enough. All this other stuff, to me, is way over-exaggerated."

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist provides a hilarious glimpse into how he's spending a free October

Ben Zobrist won't win the Comeback Player of the Year award this winter, but maybe he can take home a Grammy for Best New Artist?

The Cubs veteran infielder/outfielder posted a hilarious video on his Instagram Wednesday night showcasing how he's been spending October after the Cubs were unceremoniously ousted from the playoffs after on the third day of the month.

It's a fantastic music video of Zobrist lip-syncing to Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" while he nearly knocks the TV off the wall of his home by swinging the bat indoors pretending to hit off Clayton Kershaw and frolicking around a field that looks shockingly similar to Hershel's farm from the second season of "The Walking Dead":

View this post on Instagram

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year.... I will wait for you....

A post shared by Ben Zobrist (@benzobrist18) on

Zobrist also posted a lengthy caption on his perspective on the Cubs' disappointing end to the season:

It always takes me a few weeks to process the season and begin the offseason. Here are my thoughts.....along with a unique way of making light of the postseason that should have been......... (special thanks to @dimtillard for help with Video) 
Maybe you feel the way I do. It was a very quick and abrupt ending to a good season for us. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. But let’s not forget all the good that happened. This game and this team gives us something to pass the time, to express our love and passion, to feel the joy of the wins and the pains of the losses, and it calls us to unity when we so easily can be divided about so many other things. Each game is a microcosm of life. The game itself is not
Life, but it helps us deal with life in a way. I’m thankful for even the painful losses at the end. The game can be a great teacher. 
I felt privileged to play with this team and play for our fans all year. We were stretched and we grew in new ways as individuals and as a group and that is always a good thing. We strive to win championships, but more often the process is the goal. We will be stronger because of all that we went through this year. 
What will I do now? I will travel and watch my wife crush her book tour. I will be in and out of Chi-town. I just got back home to Franklin, TN. I will find joy in raising and watching my kids grow and continue becoming their own person. I will rest and begin preparing for next season. I will work hard in mind, body, and spirit. I will help other players with @patriotforward and @showandgo. I will focus on personal growth and charitable endeavors and become a better man, teammate, friend, and player. 
To Baseball and Fans: For the next 5 months until I play next year....
I will wait for you....

Come for the Zobrist lip sync, but stay for the 37-year-old using a bat as a guitar while wearing a sleeveless shirt and rocking an old-timey top hat.

A year ago, Zobrist completely reshaped his offseason workout plan after three straight years of playing deep into October. It appears he's added another new trick to his winter workout — hopping over fences even though there is a clear opening just a foot away.

Hey, whatever works...

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Manny Machado’s value and other Cubs offseason wish list items

Did Manny Machado’s value take a hit at all after he openly admitted hustling isn’t his “cup of tea”? Our Cubs team (David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Tony Andracki, Jeff Nelson) debate that, plus the potential fit of Machado or Bryce Harper for the 2019 Cubs and beyond.

[MORE: The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason]

The crew also runs down the top items on the Cubs’ offseason wish list – ranging from bullpen help to infield depth to a set leadoff hitter – in what may be the most impactful winter in Theo Epstein’s tenure in Chicago.

Listen to the podcast here or via the embedded player below: