11/9 Maddux: Cubs are unique
Mike Maddux did call his brother Greg before coming to Chicago to interview for the Cubs managerial opening.
“I think this was a unique situation, the first time we ever talked about anything like this,” Maddux said Wednesday after his interview session with Theo Epstein and Co. “[Greg] gave me a little background of what’s going on. It was very, very helpful.”
Greg also could be part of the deal. Maddux said he discussed the possibility of his brother joining him on the coaching staff if Mike did get the Cubs job. But that’s a family matter that will be discussed later. First, Mike Maddux would have to be offered the job, then decide if he wants to relocate his family again. Maddux withdrew from consideration for the Red Sox opening because of the long distance between Boston and his current home in Texas. Both his daughters are in school in the Dallas area. Why did he say yes to the Cubs?
“Chicago’s a neat place,” Mike said. “I like being in Chicago.”
What does it take to be a big league manager?
“Opportunity, No. 1.,” he said. “To be a good one, experience would come in. Are you good your first day? Time will tell. I think passion, you have to have passion. Work ethic. Respect of everybody you work with, respect from your players. Be demanding of your players, too.”
But being a manager isn’t something Maddux thought about.
“I’m very happy with what I do, I enjoy what I do,” said Maddux, who was the Rangers pitching coach. “I’m administering to half the team in Spring Training during the season. People have reached out to me [to interview]. It wasn’t something that I’ve reached out to other people. I think it’s kind of cool to be considered.”
He also showed his sense of humor in answering questions.
“What would I look for in a pitching coach?” Maddux said. “Somebody who could put up with my second guessing.”
How would he handle Carlos Zambrano?
“How would I handle him? I don’t know him,” Maddux said. “The first thing you have to do is meet him. I heard he was a big teddy bear. I might pick him up and just burp him.”
“I saw Carlos Zambrano from across the field seven, eight years ago and he was the best thing since sliced bread,” Maddux said. “He beat you on the mound, he beat you at the plate, he beat you in the field. He would even steal bases. He was a great competitor. He was the best pitcher in the National League. That’s what I have in my mind about him. I’ve seen him dominate.”
What was his impression of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and the group?
“I can’t do an impression of them,” Maddux said.
Pause for laughter.
“Young. Bright folks. Much like what I deal with in my current position,” Maddux said. “The new age general managers, front office guys, highly educated, very motivated, but very true and very honest and that’s about all you can really ask for is people who are honest, people who share your passion. Even if our educations are far apart, I’m pretty damn proud of my high school education. I went to college, too. Very entertaining. We had a good time together, I think.”
Maddux, Epstein, Hoyer and staff went to dinner Tuesday night, then wrapped up the interview on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Does Maddux have a theory as to why the Cubs have not won a World Series in so long?
“When I was with the opposition, I did everything I could to keep the Cubs from winning,” he said. “I’ve never been here and analyzed it. I never played for the Cubs, always played against them. I’ve always admired everything — and I despise the song ‘Go Cubs Go’ after they kick our butts. I’ve always admired this town. It’s a unique, very unique set-up, very historic. Whoever becomes the manager of this ballclub is in a good spot.”
And, as he left the interview room, he struck a pose from side to side like a model for the cameras.
– Carrie Muskat