By Bruce Levine–
MESA, Ariz. (670 The Score) — Cubs manager Joe Maddon always has a message and catchy phrase when his team reports to spring training each February. “Try not to suck” may have been his best, and “embrace the target is another of past marketing fame.
Prior to the Cubs’ first full-squad workout Monday, the 64-year-old Maddon revealed his most recent message: “Everybody in.” Once again, the phrase serves as
“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 eyeing their fourth straight playoff appearance. They’re looking to accomplish that for the first time 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 further illustrate this year’s slogan, the Cubs were shown a video presentation that revolved around teamwork and camaraderie by the San Antonio Spurs. It was a suggestion of outfielder Jason Heyward and also included cuts of Cubs players being great teammates themselves.
The other topic of discussion at Cubs camp Monday was the league’s new rule of limiting mound visits to six per game as part of a pace-of-play initiative. Maddon doesn’t believe it will impact his club much, even though catcher Willson Contreras has the tendency to go to the mound often.
“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.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.