CHICAGO — Miss Wednesday night's postgame press conference with Cubs manager Joe Maddon?
Here's an edited transcript of what he had to say after the Cubs win over the Cleveland Indians.
MADDON: I do want to congratulate Cleveland Indians and Tito [Cleveland manager Terry Francona.] It's a difficult moment for them, but they are outstanding. I think on the surface, looking at it from my perspective, really evenly matched teams that play the game the same way. A lot of passion about it, a lot of respect for the game itself. And I know Tito, I know he's always been that guy.
It could not have been a more entertaining, difficult series to win. I think beyond all that, I want to believe and I do believe this is good for our game moving forward, that we're attempting to seize young fans and not just to play the game, but to be fans of the game. You cannot be more entertained than you were over these last seven games. It's incredible. Of course, I'm not saying that just because we won, but because it's true.
Next point, I want to congratulate the people of Chicago, our fans, our ownership, Theo and Jed, the team, the players. Listen, I am late to the party. I came here while all the heavy lifting had been done. I feel very fortunate to be given this assignment. It's the best. It absolutely is the best combination of everybody I just mentioned. Plus the ballpark itself, Wrigley Field, is without question the best venue in all of sports. So that's it, and of course, my beautiful wife Jaye sitting right here, who I could not talk into coming on the stage, and you guys are missing out.
Q. Why was Ben Zobrist the right choice for MVP?
MADDON: Who sets a better example of how to work an at-bat? And who sets a better example of just being a professional than he does? I mean, I've been around him for a long period of time with the Devil Rays, the Rays and then eventually here. Here's a guy in his mid 30s and his work ethic is incredible to watch, what he does after games, not before games, after games, to be ready for the next day and his dedication.
He's just a different cat. Everybody would like to have one of those on their team. We're just very fortunate to have him. He just probably exemplifies exactly how we want to play the game.
Q. How do you sort of narrow that focus to your 25 guys, not 107 years worth of team?
MADDON: Well, I haven't been here. I've been an American Leaguer. I never was in Chicago, Wrigley, until a couple years ago. But there's been a lot of burden placed, and I think, quite frankly, it's misplaced. The fact that it's today. It's now. It's present tense. And I totally respect what's happened in the past, and I totally respect our fan base. But if you just want to carry the burden with you all the time, tonight would never happen.
So for me, it was about in spring training trying to define this whole thing, and that's where really running toward expectations and running toward pressure was really important, I thought, as opposed to running away from it.
I think, my perception — and again I might be wrong — but that's what I think I've seen and heard about in the past. Everybody's waiting for the other shoe to drop. And you've got to expect something good to happen as opposed to that.
Both teams are good, and there's going to be an ebb and flow to the game. It has nothing to do with curses, superstition. It has nothing to do with what's happening today, nothing. If you want to believe in that kind of stuff, it's going to hold you back for a long time.
I love tradition. I think tradition is worth time mentally, and tradition is worth being upheld, but curses and superstitions are not.
So it's really great for our entire Cubdom to get beyond that moment and continue to move forward, because now based on the young players we have in this organization, we have an opportunity to be good for a long time, and without any constraints, without any of the negative dialogue.
You know me. We've known each other for a while. That's the best way. The burden has been lifted. It should have never been there in the first place, I don't think, but now we can move forward.
Q. Obviously the seventh game, everybody's pitchers are kind of running on fumes. I wonder if you had any, as you watched obviously the problems that Aroldis Chapman had, if you had any occasions to sort of second-guess yourself, Game 6?
MADDON: Chappy, he's our guy in that moment. We narrowed it down to four outs. I mean, if you want to really complete the thought process, their guys are really rested, and we hit them, whereas Chappy had just pitched yesterday, and I felt really confident because he felt great going into tonight.
So the Cubs beat up on Miller tonight and got to their other guys because the Cubs are good. The Indians beat up on Chapman tonight because the Indians are good. So that's the part of this game.
And I love it. Listen, I love it. I think barroom conversations are great. I used to hang out at Bellhops back in Hazleton [Penn.], and we used to talk about stuff all night long. I think it's wonderful. But sometimes people forget that both sides are good. And we demonstrated that tonight versus them. They demonstrated that versus us. We ended up with an 8-7 win. But quite frankly, everything was going according to plan, the way it all worked out. They scored runs on our dribbler in front of the plate, and a wild pitch scored two runs, which is really unlikely.
And I thought Jonny Lester was fantastic.
And then Chappy, he felt really good about that. He felt good about going in. He was very distraught after we took him out. But I give him credit for hanging in that next inning and doing what he did, and that permitted us to win. Don't overlook that.
Q. Your thoughts on another good offensive performance. All three catchers got a hit.
MADDON: Yeah, our catchers were fantastic. The three-headed monster, talking about the trilogy in their bullpen, we had the trilogy behind the plate. They all contributed wonderfully. They're all ready to play. Give Miggy [Miguel Montero] a ton of credit. Miggy plays so infrequently, and he had the big hit against [Joe] Blanton, against the Dodgers. He came up big again tonight. Always ready to perform. This series, he deserves so much credit for what he did, and how he handled the pitching staff through that final moment.
So we're very fortunate to be able to choose among the three. They all have their strong points. They've all done really well with different pitchers. But you've got to give Miggy a ton of credit tonight.
Q. There is a bit of a buzz about Jason Heyward's speech in the weight room during the rain delay.
What you know about that?
MADDON: The meeting, I walked off the field, the rain delay. It's crazy how things happen for a reason. I don't know. But I walk off and I see them all gathering in that little room down below there, and they had a meeting. And I'm upstairs just checking out the weather map and the boys. Like I told you, I hate meetings. I'm not a meetings guy. I love when players have meetings, I hate when I do. So they had their meeting and the big part of it was, we don't quit. We don't quit.
But it also, and I want to bring this up because you might have seen me after the game, he gave me time to grab my dad's hat. My dad's been there for the 2002 win in Anaheim, and he was here tonight. I had him stuffed on the back of my pants underneath my hoodie. Yeah, the hat, after the rain delay. I didn't want to put too much pressure on him.
So, it's incredible how this all plays out sometimes. You have to believe in order to see things, and I do believe. But it was great to have my dad there for two World Series victories.
Q. You're at the end of this crazy game. And by then your closer's going to be a guy with two career saves and zero career saves. How did you feel standing on the top stop watching it play out?
MADDON: I felt confident. Well, you saw [Carl Edwards Jr.] CJ get the two quick outs and all of a sudden it got away a little bit. So you have to have somebody prepared in that moment. But I do know one thing, I know CJ will be better for that next year. I do know that. And I love [Mike] Montgomery's curveball in that moment against a good right-handed hitter. So I loved all that. I felt good.
But we had other alternative plans working through that. We had [Pedro Strop] Stroppy ready. Eventually it was going to be [Travis Wood] Woody and then — no, Stroppy after that, and then we're going to get back to the top of the order and it was going to be [Justin] Grimm. So they were all laid out. We had everything laid out going into that last inning.
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