When his team reports to spring training each February, Joe Maddon, Cubs Manager, has always had a message for his Cubs.
“Try not to suck” was a hit.
“Embrace the target” was another home run.
But what about this year?
Before this Cubs’ first full-squad workout on Monday, according to CBS, the 64-year-old shared his most recent, inspirational phrase: “Everybody in.”
“It’s a great slogan,” Maddon said. “After all, we are all trying to be this altruistic team person who puts the group ahead of the individual. That is pretty much what it is talking about.”
The Cubs are looking to accomplish their fourth straight playoff appearance — which would be a first in franchise history.
“We are going to do all of our work,” Maddon said. “They are all hard workers. Beyond all that, I want them to be concerned on a daily basis about their enthusiasm and energy. If we can understand showing up mentally every day with a lot of energy and life, that will let us get off to a good start. Energy, enthusiasm and execution — it’s the same stuff (I always preach), but I am trying to present it in a different way. This is my fourth year doing it here. You never want the message to grow old. The essence of getting to a point across is to be able to say the same things in different words.”
To really drive home this year’s slogan, the Cubs were shown a video by the San Antonio Spurs that focused on teamwork as well as camaraderie, per the suggestion of outfielder Jason Heyward.
And of course, there were plenty of cuts of Cubbies being great teammates too.
At Cubs camp on Monday, another topic of discussion was the league’s new rule of limiting mound visits to six per game as part of a pace-of-play initiative. Maddon does not believe this will impact the club much though catcher Willson Contreras has the habit of going to the mound again and again.
“I honestly don’t think it will impact us,” Maddon said. “We just have to figure a better way or a different way of communicating. There are so many signs that do occur that you are not aware of. We will have to get a little more in-depth about signs. Not complicated, just more of them for different moments. It will be a new normal. You learn how to do it, and you do it. There will be a lot of arguing and consternation, but we will figure it out properly.”