For Cubs' Maddon, life definitely not a cliche

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Joe Maddon gets a hug from Hector Rondon after the closer got the save to preserve his manager's first victory with the Cubs.

    Joe Maddon gets a hug from Hector Rondon after the closer got the save to preserve his manager's first victory with the Cubs. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 4/9/2015 8:03 PM

You gotta love a baseball manager who avoids clichés like, well, the plague.

Sorry about that use of a cliché there.

 

Joe Maddon has been at Wrigley Field less than a week as manager of the Cubs and already he has wowed the media and the public with some fun conversational give and take before and after games.

Reporters covering the Cubs had it good during the last decade or so, listening to Dusty Baker and then Lou Piniella on a daily basis.

Maddon is something else altogether.

There's not a question he won't field, and often, his answers can take awhile. But there's always a payoff in the form of something interesting, informative or funny -- and sometimes all three.

Maddon also differs from a lot of baseball lifers in that he avoids giving the typical baseball answer. And when he does slip into the jock-speak brought to big-screen life in the movie "Bull Durham," he catches himself. After Wednesday's 2-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, Maddon was asked about starter Jake Arrieta, who worked 7 shutout innings.

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"Do I have to go cliché?" he asked. "No, I don't go cliché. Really, it is about one game at a time. I just did it. I really want our guys to understand that, really try to work the process. Jake's really good at that. His work is spectacular.

"If you want a good video … actually this guy should probably do the next kind of Jane Fonda workout video, on the male side of things. Put his leggings on. This guy's work habits are incredible, and he deserves everything that he's gotten."

There was more this week, so much more from Maddon.

He's going mobile:

During his introductory news conference last fall, Maddon talked of tooling around in his RV, which he calls "Cousin Eddie."

He seems to really like Cousin Eddie. Here's how much:

"We want to go to Europe this winter, possibly," he said. "Hopefully I'll get a chance to go back to Europe. The problem going to Europe, this RV is getting in the way. I was easily, easily, going to travel every winter, and I have. But I like driving this thing so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's killing me because I would just prefer driving that to going to Rome right now. That really upsets me that I'm at that level. I'm very disappointed in myself. Maybe by the end of the summer I'll get over that."

Now if he could only drive Cousin Eddie to Rome.

Maybe they can drive his car:

Before Wednesday's game, Maddon was asked about the Cubs' team defense.

"It's a thing, to me, that should be a more constant component of your game, that should be able to show up on a daily basis. You have to make routine plays routinely. I used to refer to it as a boring defense, where there's no chrome.

"Just catch the ball and throw it to first base. Just catch the ball and get it to the relay and cutoff man. That's what you want. You want a really boring, efficient defense. And that's our goal."

After the confab, I mentioned to Joe that today's players might not know what chrome on a car is. Google Chrome, maybe, but chrome bumpers? Not so much anymore.

Of course, he had an answer.

"When I bring my Chevelle up here, they'll see chrome," he said.

Can't wait to see that car.

Yeah, but it's Masters weekend:

The subject of pitcher Jon Lester not throwing to first base was a hot topic for a day or two. Someone pointed out that the term "yips" was used to describe Lester's mindset.

"That's a golf term," Maddon retorted.

And finally ...:

You've heard it all this week about Wrigley Field and its bathroom problems. It just so happened that Maddon had family and friends in for Opening Night, when fans had to find relief wherever they could find it.

Maddon said his family was OK, for the most part.

"There was a slight issue with purchasing a hot dog and its proximity to something that looked like beer," he said. "Otherwise it was OK. Otherwise it was perfect."

And we'll forgive him if he lapses into cliché when he summarizes the Wrigley situation.

"I'm so thrilled to be here," he said, sounding like a first-year ballplayer. "So I'll take the gaps or whatever you want to call them. It's OK. I would hope and I don't think the people would ever get so spoiled just to not appreciate Wrigley Field. It's undergoing a facelift right now -- temporary inconvenience, permanent improvement. It's a great road sign.

"I love that road sign. For me, driving in here on a daily basis, I just feel honored, and I mean that sincerely, to be here. I'm sure the faithful, who have been here for 100 years, it might be more inconvenient for them. You're looking down the road to the very near future, it's going to be spectacular."

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