Last Sunday’s episodes of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” were particularly notable for highlighting Dennis Rodman’s vacation during the 1997-98 Bulls season.
Rodman left the Bulls midseason for a 48-hour trip to Las Vegas, and after not returning in time, Michael Jordan went to Rodman’s apartment, finding the Worm and bringing him to practice.
Bulls head coach Phil Jackson permitted Rodman’s vacation, and according to former Cubs manager Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein presented a similar offer upon hiring him in November 2014.
“[Epstein said] he thought it’d be wise if I, at some point ,just took a little brody, just took a couple days,” Maddon told NBC Sports Chicago on the Cubs Talk Podcast. “Which, of course, I never did.
“But that was conceptually a pretty good thought. And there’s nothing wrong with it. We play 162 [games]; we don’t get days off.”
Although he never took Epstein up on his offer, Maddon used a Jackson-like approach to manage Tommy La Stella leaving the club in 2016. La Stella, disappointed at being demoted to Triple-A in a numbers crunch, went home to New Jersey.
The Cubs didn’t release La Stella as many clubs might have and were understanding of the situation. He eventually reported to Iowa and rejoined the Cubs in late August.
How the Cubs would have navigated Maddon taking a midseason break is uncertain, but the idea is unique and represents the organization's forward-thinking.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.