By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The raw emotions of the Cubs fan base heading into the National League Championship Series for the second consecutive year can be difficult to explain beyond the borders of the city.
The Cubs fans are deserving of plenty after years of losing, but then again, by whom?
This Joe Maddon-led team is different from the other playoff clubs that have failed to deliver the goods. That said, there remains the pressure and expectations until a championship is won.
“You see I have a different take on things,” Maddon said before the start of Game 1 against the Dodgers on Saturday night. “I want to believe our guys will treat these games like July 15 or August 15. I know I am. There is nothing I can do differently and nothing they can do differently. We all have the same common goal in mind, both us and the fans. If you look at this from the wrong perspective, it can interfere with what you want to do.”
Calm — before, during and after the storm — is what Maddon has preached to his players since arriving in November 2014. The fans may have a more hardened view of present reality than Maddon and company. The Wrigley faithful want to believe this is their time and this is the club to take them to baseball’s promised land.
“With our fans and our ballpark, it’s like postseason on a nightly basis,” Maddon said. “I said from the beginning, I am so impressed with this place and how our fans react every night. Obviously there is more at stake now. I can’t deny that. I still don’t want us to change anything. I don’t.
“There is nothing more to delve into for our guys. There is no more prep necessary. BP will remain optional, which if you were here in August would have been exactly the same. We have not reported early or had extra meetings. Again, this is the time for absolute simplicity. If you choose to get more than simple, you could set yourself up for a fall.
“I don’t want anything to be different. The message from spring training on is play the same game tonight we have been playing all year.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.