The Rundown: Maddon on Cubs Being Hated, Rizzo as a Leader, Possible Andre Dawson Autograph Giveaway

You can hate me now, but I won’t stop now

Cause I can’t stop now, you can hate me now

Maybe someone slipped a little Haterade into Joe Maddon’s morning coffee or maybe Nas and Diddy were bumping in the Sloan Park clubhouse before he headed out to face the media Wednesday. Whatever the case, the silver-maned manager was more than ready to talk about playing the role of Public Enemy No. 1.

“It’s all about that,” Maddon said. “Just go back in history. I’ve often talked about the Dodgers when I came up in the minor leagues. Their uniforms were whiter than everybody else’s. They thought they were better than everybody else. And then they went out and they won all the time.

“I hated it, but I liked it at the same time. I think the Yankees have developed that kind of a culture. It’s not that you feel as though you’re just going to show up and throw your gloves out there and you’re going to win. That’s not the point. You gain this confidence based on winning, and there’s something to be said for knowing how to win.”

Darn right there is. And now that the Cubs can finally say they’ve been there, I suppose we should expect them to act like it. Some people might try to tell fans to do the same, but the wait was too long to spend only the duration of the shortest offseason in club history celebrating the World Series.

So be obnoxious — lord knows you would have been without my permission — and rest assured that your team will display the humble confidence the rest of you hooligans may lack.

Rizzo’s leadership role

In keeping with the theme of learning how to win, Maddon also touched on his All-Star first baseman and his role as the team’s rock.

“When I first came here it was always mentioned that he’s one of the leaders on the team, or is gonna be one of the leaders. I thought it was unfair to make him or label him as a leader at that point. He’s too young, not enough experience, had not really been involved with a winning group. So it was unfair to him, I think.

“I also believe that the people that Theo and Jed brought in the last couple years are the ones that have really permitted him to grow to the point where now, yeah, he understands what it takes to be a leader. He understands winning.

“But there’s definitely a growth component to that too. For me it’s about your ability to show up every day and care about the next guy maybe a little bit more than you care about yourself, especially when that person may not be on top of his game and needs your help. So I think Rizz is able to do all that and he’s aware of all that.”

With all due respect, Joe, I think Rizzo understood what it took to be a leader when he puffed out his chest and threatened to kick the Reds’ collective ass back in 2014. For what it’s worth, my favorite part of the video below is that you can almost never see Rizzo’s face because they blur out his mouth every time he curses. Which is a lot.

The Cubs sucked and their first baseman was a fresh-faced 24-year-old with nary a bit of weight to his resumé (though he did play in the All-Star game a week later). So to see Rizzo step up in defense of his teammates near the end of an otherwise meaningless game said a lot.

Kris Bryant may be the league MVP, but Rizzo is the sun around which this Cubs team orbits.

More news and notes

  • The Rangers and Blue Jays were kicking the tires on Edwin Jackson, but decided not to offer the 33-year-old former Cub a contract. Wait, E-Jax is only 33? Seriously?
  • While getting our house ready for the market, I came across an autographed 8×10 photo of some random former Expos player. Immaculate though it is, the signature is really hard to make out. Forced to guess, I’d say it’s something like Andrew Darson. Whatever.

  • Okay, so I really do know who Hawk is and I really do want to give this away because I have another one just like it. It’s totally legit and I was there when he signed it at an Indianapolis Indians game a couple years ago. I’m still working out the details, but thinking we’ll hold a drawing that will require a charitable donation of some sort to enter. Stay tuned.
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