Sportress of Blogitude

Joe Maddon has no issue with Bryce Harper’s approach to the game

joe-maddon-cubs

In some respects, Joe Maddon is as old school as they come as it relates to the game of baseball. On the other hand, the Chicago Cubs manager’s unorthodox and sometimes eccentric approach to managing a major league baseball team is certainly an aspect of what makes him one of the best in the business.

With the Cubs set to face the Washington Nationals in a four-game series, Maddon was asked how he feels about Bryce Harper, one of the more flamboyant and charismatic — not to mention most talented — players in the game.

“I have no problem with the guy enjoying playing the game,” Maddon said of Harper, via ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. “I think he respects the game and his place in the game.”

The slugger sparked a national debate with comments in spring trainingconcerning how baseball has become a “tired” sport. He also has embarked on an unofficial quest to make baseball fun again, as demonstrated by his approach to the game.

Specifically concerning bat-flipping — a hotly debated issue — Maddon has no issue with it to certain extent, unlike Goose Gossage.

“Depends on who’s doing the bat flipping,” Maddon said with a reported half-smile.

Concerning Gossage’s rants during spring training, Maddon believes the kind of curmudgeonly, old-school mentality exhibited by the Hall of Fame pitcher stems from, well, getting older.

“That’s the thing we forget,” Maddon said. “That’s what’s so disappointing sometimes growing up in the era that we did and then you see people that are in charge and they’ve forgotten what it was like when we were a bunch of goofballs for lack of a better term.

“It bums me out when I see that. It really does. You’d like to see there was an evolution of thinking moving forward.”

Maddon of course has carved out quite the off-the-wall reputation while simultaneously being hailed as one of the best minds in baseball. Known for his offbeat behavior off the field throughout his managerial career, Maddon has been known to employ irreverent motivational tactics to keep his players loose (additional examples here and here and here).

Whatever one thinks of Maddon’s unique approach, one thing is certain: It works, as evidenced by the Cubs being an MLB-best 20-6 after sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates this week.