It sounds like things are going to be a bit different for the Chicago Cubs in 2020 under new manager David Ross. One way of telling this is to hear just how honest some members of the team have been about 2019.
Javier Baez admitted Sunday that the Cubs had been too laid back at the start of games last season. He believes that approach ensured he didn’t feel ready at first pitch.
“It wasn’t something bad, but we have a lot of optional things,” Baez said, via Jesse Rogers of ESPN. “Not mandatory. Everyone kind of sat back on that, including me. I wasn’t really going out there and preparing for the game. I was getting ready during the game, which is not good.
“I got to the field, and instead of going outside and hitting BP, I would do everything inside, which is not the same. Once I go out to the field for the game, I feel like I wasn’t ready. I feel like I was getting loose during the first four innings. I should be ready and excited to get out before the first pitch, and I promise you this year is going to be like that.”
Baez added that many Cubs had taken the same approach, and that he felt that it led to the entire team being unready on some occasions.
The Cubs infielder isn’t doing it maliciously, but what he’s pointing out is likely a big reason why Joe Maddon was not brought back as manager. Maddon’s laid-back approach may have fostered a sense of complacency in recent seasons. It was exactly what the Cubs needed when he originally came in, and it helped win a World Series, but since then, it has not led to further successes. Maybe that’s why the Cubs put so much importance in how the new manager would address his team when deciding to hire David Ross as Maddon’s replacement.