All good things must come to an end. Whether you were a fan of Joe Maddon managing the Chicago Cubs or not, everyone can agree that Maddon accomplished what seemed to be the impossible while in Chicago.
Maddon was with the Cubs organization for five years. In those five years, the Cubs played 811 games. Over 811 games, the Cubs had a record of 471-339 and one tied game with a win-loss percentage of .581. Over all five seasons, the Cubs stayed above .500. The team also averaged finishing the regular season in second place over those five years.
In Maddon’s first season with the Cubs in 2015, he got the ball rolling with the team. The Cubs regular season ended with a record of 97-65, finishing in 3rd place in the NL Central. Although 3rd place is not idea, the Cubs were able to play in the Wild Card game due to their record.
The Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card Game, advancing further in the playoffs. The Cubs then beat long-time rivals the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, allowing the Cubs to play in the NLCS. The luck ran out when the Cubs were beaten by the New York Mets. Although the Cubs did not go all the way, fans knew this was not the end for the team. They were onto bigger and better things in a matter of time.
2016 was the year notorious for North Side Chicago baseball. The Cubs ended the regular season 103-58, with one tied game. Of course, the Cubs were the first team to clinch the division and also had the best record in MLB that year. The rest is history. The Cubs struggled against the Cleveland Indians throughout the World Series, but thankfully, the Cubs came out on top, ending the 108 year drought.
In 2017, the Cubs ended their regular season with a record of 92-68, and again, ending in first place in the NL Central. Unfortunately, the hopes of winning the World Series back-to-back came to an end when they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.
The 2018 regular season ended with the Cubs finishing in second place with a regular season record of 95-68. Chicago was quickly out of the playoffs after losing to the Colorado Rockies in the Wild Card game.
This past season, the Cubs ended with a record of 84-78 and finished in 3rd place. This was the first year since Maddon took over that the Cubs did not make the playoffs.
But again, all good things must come to an end. The last two seasons did not end how fans would have liked. Many fans wanted something new and wanted Maddon out.
Whether or not you are a fan of Maddon and how he managed, one thing’s for sure. Without Maddon, I do not think these last five years would have gone as well as they did.
Sure, the Cubs have had incredible players over these past five years, some of them possible future Hall of Famers. Maybe the Cubs would have won the World Series without Maddon, but I do not think they would have been consistently as good as they were with Maddon. At least there is a familiar face taking Maddon’s place.
David Ross was announced a few weeks ago as the new Cubs manager after a month-long process. During his time as a player, Ross played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago Cubs.
Ross played his last two seasons with the Cubs in 2015 and 2016 before retiring in 2016. Ross, a catcher, was not the best catcher on the team at the time. Ross was getting older, but Cubs fans took him in with open arms. Ross quickly became a fan favorite due to his lovable and friendly personality.
Ross also had a close relationship with many of his co-players. Ross played with pitcher Jon Lester when the two were still playing for the Boston Red Sox. The two won the World Series while with Boston. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and third baseman Kris Bryant also had a close bond with Ross, viewing Ross as a father figure. The prior relationships bring up questions about Ross’s ability to manage his friends.
Will Ross be able to be a tough manager when needed? Will his friendship with the players get in the way? Ross has put these questions to rest, claiming he will handle all the new responsibilities properly.
On another note, this is Ross’s first season managing. Is Ross capable of being a good manager? Other managers in the running for this position have had prior experience, so why not hire them? Hopefully when Ross takes over, there will be no doubt that he can manage a baseball team. I mean, there has to be a reason Ross was hired, right?