By Bruce Levine–

CHICAGO (CBS) — The fun of covering a manager like Joe Maddon is he may say or do something on a daily basis that will just blow you away. On Monday night, it was a 10-minute delay in the action that distracted Clayton Kershaw into a rare late-inning bases on balls gift.

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Maddon protested the game on a technicality, that a power outage of a bank of lights in left field had his batters hitting at a disadvantage.

Although there was little, if not zero, chance to win his case, Maddon made two different trips to the umpires. He pleaded his case with his own version of Muhammad Ali’s famous “rope a dope” diversion. Ali invented the deception to distract then-champion George Foreman and frustrate his game plan. In both instances, the physical action caused a mental breakdown of the opponent, a fact that Maddon not only didn’t deny but admitted he had been trained to take advantage of.

“I am really grateful it took me so long to get to this moment,” Maddon said about his 40-year life in baseball and his long journey to become a big league manager. “I was 51 when that happened and I did all those different jobs in the minor leagues. So you get to that moment like yesterday — you are able to be there while you are recounting other things you have done in the past. You know (by experience) that is the right thing to do. You know you may be upsetting some people, but that is part of the process mentally. I have to do the right thing for the guys in my dugout. What helps us win that game, that is all that matters.”

Such was the case and result of Maddon’s cameo and award-winning performance Monday. What he’s brought to the table so far has helped the Cubs win countless games that seemed to have momentum going toward a certain loss.

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So I asked — how many wins a good manager was worth to a team?

“My whole take is this is something we do, that you really can’t put a number on,” Maddon said. “You can’t quantify what happens in a clubhouse, individual conversations, how relentless is the coaching staff in teaching overall technique. You also have to have the players who are able to fulfill those requests. The best thing a manager can do is attempt to put players in a position to be successful.”

The answer Maddon refused to give is a manager can lose a lot more games than he can win, by a lack of communication. Maddon and his coaches have prepared their players to be ready to seize the moment. Proof of that is the most walk-off wins in baseball and the best extra-inning record (7-3) in the majors this season. (Update: The Cubs won another extra-innings game Tuesday night after this story was initially posted, to move to 8-3 in such games and 39-30 for the season.)

Maddon’s into all thought processes this side of voodoo. He believes in good and bad luck impacting games as well.

“Both happen,” he said. “A ball can land two inches fair or foul. Things like that just happen. A line drive is caught or it goes off of someone’s glove. I believe in magic — I believe it has to be earned. I believe baseball magic is earned. I think when you stay in the moment, I allude to the great focus we had (Monday). That is when magic starts to arrive. I believe in chemistry, and I believe in all the intangibles other people don’t believe in.”

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Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.