While talking to ESPN recently, ex-Cubs manager Joe Maddon made some of the most enlightening comments yet on the end of his time in Chicago.
Speaking on why things ended, Maddon didn't hold back when discussing how things dissolved.
"There was just, you can say, philosophical differences," he said of his relationship with Cubs president Theo Epstein. "But he and I are still good friends. And I like the man a lot. It was just time for him to get someone else and time for me to work somewhere else. That's all. A five-year shelf life in Chicago is almost equivalent to five to 10 somewhere else. At the end of the day, man, there's nothing to lament there. That was the most successful five years that the Cubs have ever had."
Maddon spent half a decade in Chicago, most notably bringing a title back to the North Side for the first time in over 100 years. His final two seasons ended in underwhelming disappointment, however, as a Cubs team with much of the same roster failed to make it past the Wild Card round. After missing the playoffs entirely in 2019, both sides agreed to part ways. When asked to comment on Maddon's comments during the Cubs' Spring Training press conference, Epstein opted for, as he put it, the high road.
"I think every situation is different. Depends on the personality and the situation and the group and how much continuity there’s been versus how much change there’s been. I do believe — and I’ve been open about this, too, and it applies to all different types of leaders—there is a time when it might not be enough to change the message, but the messenger itself has to change sometimes. That can be to the benefit to the leader as well as the organization as a whole. I’m really proud of my association with Joe and that we hired Joe.
"If it reaches a point where your culture around the major league team is not what it should be—even though it’s difficult, even though it might be uncomfortable—you have to address it, you have to step in, you have to have those difficult conversations. That’s just what this case was."