In just his third season as manager, Joe Maddon took the Tampa Bay Rays, previously the sad-sacks and punch lines of Major League Baseball, to the World Series. Maddon’s new employer, the Chicago Cubs, will expect and accept no less. If fact. they’ll want a little more. Maddon’s Rays lost the 2008 World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.
Baseball’s newest $5 million a year manager has not been put on a schedule to win yet. But you may be sure that if it does not include lots of wins, Maddon’s Chicago honeymoon will be a short one. The Rays, then called the Devil Rays, wanted a winner when they hired Maddon before the 2006 season. But the team had only been in existence for eight years, and expectations for the then unknown guy out of Southern California on his managerial starter job were, to say the least, modest. But the Cubs are a different kettle of cleats.