Mets' Mess Reminds Cubs Are Lucky To Have Maddon

Joe Maddon's cool demeanor helps prevent unnecessary drama.

Bruce Levine
June 25, 2019 - 12:59 pm
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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The Mets drew notoriety across the MLB landscape because of a ugly incident in the Wrigley Field visitors' clubhouse after a loss to the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.

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Mets manager Mickey Callaway and pitcher Jason Vargas both confronted a beat writer amid a heated exchange in the postgame locker room. It was triggered when the writer said, "See you tomorrow, Mickey," which Callaway took offense to amid a time his team continues to struggle. Vargas later threatened the reporter with physical harm, and both were fined $10,000 by the Mets on Monday, though not suspended.

The incident also served as a reminder of this: The Cubs are lucky that manager Joe Maddon handles his media responsibilities so openly, so positively and so adeptly. His ability to do so prevents unnecessary drama and helps his Cubs stay focused.

"I never feel the questions are adversarial," Maddon said about media members questioning his decisions. "I never feel that way. Sometimes it appears to others that you are taking a shot at me, but I never feel that way. You people are doing their jobs. Sometimes I may not like what is being written. That should not matter. If I am really confident in my convictions and what I am doing, that should not bother me. If you try to hard to explain yourself sometimes, it sounds like you're an excuse. I rather just take it than try to explain it because it never really comes out right. It is part of the job."

Maddon went on to explain that he learned from a key mistake in this realm, recalling an episode that helped him formulate his approach. He remembers that he was a managing in the minor leagues around age 27 when he lost it with a writer. He later understood he was in the wrong.

"We were a rookie ball team and gave up like 22 runs in a game in Medford, Oregon," Maddon said. "The writer really chopped up our A-ball team. I did not like it, and I said something to him. I got a call from the league president and told me not to do that. So I never did again. We did win the league championship against the same Medford A's in the same ballpark, so it was kind of a great vindication."

Cubs players have taken Maddon's lead, understanding well that media responsibilities come with the territory and that it's best to handle them in a stand-up manner, no matter the situation.

"There are disagreements in the workplace all of the time," veteran infielder Daniel Descalso said. "You are not going to like everyone you work with or are around on a daily basis. Media has a job to do. As players, the easiest way to handle media is to stand up and be accountable. Answer questions when asked and understand everyone has a job to do."

Reliever Brandon Kintzler echoed the same sentiment.

"Everyone has a job to do," Kintzler said. "Everyone in the media has to ask a tough question. If you don't, you are not a good reporter. People who read you guys or listen to you want to know the answers to the tough questions. We as players and coaches need to understand and take the emotional part out of it. You must understand nothing good is going to come out of firing back at reporters. Learn to be professional and move on."

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