CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cubs arrived back at Wrigley Field late Sunday, after their season ended in a whimper with a 9-0 loss to the National League Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
But hanging over all that, of course, was the news that Joe Maddon – the first manager to take the Cubs to a World Series victory since Frank Chance in 1908.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein announced before the game Sunday that Maddon and the Cubs would be parting ways. Maddon’s contract officially ended after the game.
“In a way, bad news but also good news at the same time – we’re both going to move on. Cubs are going to flourish. Hope I get a chance to do this somewhere else,” Maddon said in the interview. “But there’s no tears shed. It’s a good moment for everybody, and we’re both excited about our futures.”
When the Cubs returned to Wrigleyville Sunday night, Maddon did not have anything to say. But as CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reported, Maddon’s actions spoke louder than words.
Just out of camera view, Maddon was seen hugging, shaking hands, and thanking many of the players, coaches, and team staffers. It was an emotional scene.
Meanwhile, Wrigley Field looked empty all day Sunday. Perhaps that was fitting for those feeling empty knowing Maddon would soon be a Cub no more.
“We’re all in mourning,” one woman said.
They were mourning a man who did the unthinkable – leading the Cubs to the top of the baseball world after 108 years of futility.
“He carried them,” said Roland Marshall of Chicago. “You know, he brought the best out of them.”
That included four straight postseason appearances and the most wins in the majors, from 2015 until 2018. Those were accomplishments that had many a fan hoping Joe would say it isn’t so.
“I think they’re making a mistake,” said Becky Welter of Carpentersville.
But some say the affable former manager of the year’s time had come.
“I just think, for some reason, that the chemistry wasn’t right, and it was time for him to move on,” said Dan Delahanty of Chicago.
But others think now is not the time, and that parting ways with Maddon is downright maddening.
“It’s a sad day for Chicago,” a woman said. “We’re here to celebrate him, his last day.”
She and three other women then said in unison: “Thanks Joe. Thanks for the World Series. We’ll miss you.”
There were quite a few fans out here to welcome the team back after a season that wasn’t quite as successful as anyone had hoped. Kris Bryant did come out for a while and mingled with the fans.
But the loudest cheer erupted not for any of the superstar players, but for the superstar coach who made history in Chicago.