wasnt supposed to get this far. So if they wo | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » General » General Chat
cx888 Jun 14
Pressure. Cheap Stitched Titans Jerseys . Expectations. I want our guys to thrive on those two words for the years to come.-- Joe Maddon, manager/philosopher-king of the Chicago CubsCHICAGO -- Suppose you were trying to accomplish something that hasnt been done in your lifetime, and hasnt been done in your parents lifetime, either. And very possibly hasnt even been done in your grandparents lifetime.Ask yourself this: How would you handle that? Would you pretend it was no big deal, nothing worth talking about, nothing worth thinking about?Or would you admit to yourself what you know is true -- that this is huge. Bigger than Yao Ming. Bigger than the Willis (nee Sears) Tower. Bigger, really, and more life-changing than anything you had done in all your time on this planet.Think about what you would do. And if you spend enough time thinking about it, congratulations. Now you know what its like to be the Chicago Cubs.On Saturday night, on the North Side of Chicago, they will kick off a potentially epic National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Except that for the Cubs, this is more than just a baseball series.After all these months and all these games of grinding away, they have put themselves on the precipice of altering the course of millions of lives. And not just their lives -- but the lives of several gazillion Cubs fans who have waited forever for this moment.Four wins away -- four -- from reaching a World Series for the first time in 71 years.Eight wins away -- eight -- from setting all the ghosts free, from ending 108 years of torture and heartbreak.Its all within their grasp now. Its no longer some cool goal lurking over the horizon, but actually right there in plain sight, within their view.And heres the thing: For the first time since, well, when -- 2003? 1984? 1969? -- the world expects them to do this. Pretty much from the moment the starting gates burst open, theyve been the best team in their sport, which means that, theoretically, this is their time. They just have to be strong enough, tough enough, talented enough and lucky enough to meet their moment over the next three weeks.So we ask you again: If you were in their shoes, how would you be looking at those expectations? Would you deflect them? Or would you embrace them?That would be an overwhelming question for some people. But its safe to say Joe Maddon isnt one of those people. Expectations? Pressure? Bring them on. And dont bring one without the other.My original, initial message to the boys was that, Why would you ever want to be in a situation that doesnt require a little bit of pressure added to it, or expectations? the Cubs manager sermonized Friday at Wrigley Field. I would not want to go into a season having zero expectations and zero pressure applied to you because youre going to finish fourth or fifth in a division. I mean, thats a bad way to live. So, I wanted our guys to understand that those words are going to be applied to us on an annual basis, and you need to embrace them.As far back as spring training, Maddon rolled out his mantra for a season to remember: Embrace the Target. Its a fascinating little slogan, isnt it? The target is that title theyre chasing. But the target is also them. If 29 other teams are looking at them as the team to beat, thats not scary. Thats an honor. Embrace it -- and all that goes with it.And so its fuel, man, Maddon continued. Why would you not [use those expectations for fuel]? Thats the baseball fossil fuel right there -- is expectations and pressure. Why would you not want to be affiliated with that or associated with [that]? I dont get it.He makes it sound so cool and so simple, you might think it would be easy to hear those words and jump on board. But humans arent all wired that way. Humans arent all built with that bring-it-on DNA. And some of those humans play baseball. So it sure is a good thing that Joe Maddon is one of the great spinmeisters in America.I always tell him hed be a great used car salesman, one of his favorite bench energizers, Chris Coghlan, said Friday. Hed tell you 14 stories about this one car, and then youd go, Well, I really want that one, but after these 14 stories, Ill take this one.And thats the Cubs. Theyve bought the car. Theyve bought the stories. Theyve bought into Embrace the Target and all that goes with it.What Ive always enjoyed with Joe, Coghlan said, is how he can articulate it to people, because most people suppress it. They try to do whatever they can to suppress that pressure. And really, I dont think, in a humanistic way, we can do that. Youre just deceiving yourself.When you know somethings truthful and you try to lie to yourself constantly about it, at the end of the day, you know in a deep root of your heart that its truthful. So if its truthful, you cant get rid of it, and you know that.Is there ever really a day that goes by that someone on the Cubs isnt hearing about those 108 years of emptiness? Of course not. Even if every single citizen in the city of Chicago made a pact not to mention it anymore, this team is fortunate to be surrounded by hordes of great media minds who figure out some way to ask about it approximately every 16 seconds this time of year.So the pressure and the expectation is truthful, Coghlan said. You knew that when you came in. You knew that when you signed these guys. You knew that when you went to the NLCS last year, and then you signed [Jason] Heyward, you signed [John] Lackey, and when you got [Jon] Lester and all those guys. So to try to tell a group of individuals that, Hey guys, the target is on us. Theres a lot of pressure here. Youre chasing history -- 108 years. And you know what? Lets just lie to ourselves and pretend thats not really there? It wouldnt work.And so what I think happens, and I totally agree with Joe on this, is that it ends up empowering you because your mindset embraces the truth. And then it goes, You know what? This is true. Everyone expects us to win. And we expect to win. Everybodys coming for us. So lets embrace it. And lets use it for ammunition.This is this teams second straight trip to the National League Championship Series, and a year later, many of the faces are the same. But those expectations? Not even close to the same.Last years Cubs were that team that wasnt supposed to get this far. So if they won, awesome. And if they didnt, hey, what the heck, what a fun year.So even though they wound up getting steamrolled by the Mets, that was one October sweep that didnt throw the entire franchise into a state of depression, for a ch