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


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.

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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."

Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world


Cubs, Bears, Bulls among the top 25 wealthiest sports teams in the world

What Chicago sports team is worth the most money in 2018?

As reported by Kurt Badenhausen in a Forbes article about the 50 richest teams around the globe, the Cubs are the most valuable organization in the Windy City.

Chicago’s North Side baseball team ranks as the 16th wealthiest team in the world, valued at $2.9 billion, an 8 percent increase from 2017. The Cubs are the third-most affluent franchise in Major League Baseball, behind the New York Yankees ($4 billion) and the Los Angeles Dodgers ($3 billion).

This year, the baseball club owned by the Ricketts family surpassed the wealth of the Boston Red Sox ($2.8 billion), who the Cubs were ranked behind last season at $2.68 billion. In the span of a year, the North Siders gained two spots in the top 50 from 18 to 16 on the list.

What could be the reason for this increase?

Could it be that the Cubs are in first place in the NL Central? Or could it be the incredible performances from players like Jon Lester and Javy Baez?

Whatever the reason is for the Cubs’ prosperity, the team is doing something right.

The club also surpassed the Bears on the list this year. In 2017 the Bears (worth $2.7 billion last year) were tied with the Red Sox as the 16th most valuable sports team on Earth. The McCaskey-owned football team has fallen to a tie at 17 with the San Francisco Giants, both valued at $2.85 billion in 2018. The Bears even increased by 6 percent in the last year, making the Cubs’ jump seem greater.

The Bulls, owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, are the last team from Chicago to make the cut. They stand at 23 in the top 50, tied with the Denver Broncos. Both franchises are worth $2.6 billion. Chicago’s NBA team even fell a spot from 2017, but they still increased their value by 4 percent (worth $2.5 billion last year).

The Bears are the seventh richest team in the NFL, while the Bulls are fourth wealthiest in the NBA.

It looks like rough times are ahead for Brewers relief ace Josh Hader

It looks like rough times are ahead for Brewers relief ace Josh Hader

The Brewers' best pitcher is in some serious hot water before the second half of the MLB season gets underway.

As he was serving up a 3-run homer in the All-Star Game Tuesday night, Josh Hader's Tweets from 2011 were aired publicly and the result was...not good.

Hader's Tweets as a 17-year-old reflected racist and homophobic remarks, among other issues. (A summary of his Tweets can be found at Deadspin.)

After the All-Star Game, Hader was immediately put in front of reporters to respond to the Tweets and admitted he will accept any punishment that comes his way — including any possible suspension:

He won't be suspended by the league and will instead under go sensitivity training, but this absolutely could affect Hader mentally moving forward. 

Case in point:

He can ask teammate Ryan Braun how to deal when fans turn on you, but it's going to be a lot more difficult for a 24-year-old in his first full big-league season to deal with any hate that comes down. 

Hader has been the Brewers' most valuable pitcher all season, going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and a ridiculous 16.7 K/9. 

But over the last month-plus, he's been...human.

Ever since Jason Heyward turned on a 98 mph Hader fastball to tie the game in Milwaukee on June 11, the Brewers' relief ace has a 2.84 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 13.5 K/9.

Still great numbers, to be sure, but not the Superman-esque line baseball fans came to expect from Hader after the first couple months of 2018. (Plus, the All-Star Game homer he served up to Jean Segura, but that obviously doesn't count for anything.)

With the Brewers already chasing the Cubs by 2.5 games in the division in the second half, they can't afford Hader's slump to worsen.

Though Cubs fans may be rooting for that...