Skip to main content

Maddonisms: Cubs manager Joe Maddon's best quotes

"Try not to suck" and a few of Joe Maddon's other best quotes. 

When Joe Maddon was introduced as Cubs manager in November 2014, he concluded his press conference by offering reporters a shot and a beer as a nod to the “Hazelton Way” and blue-collar upbringing in Pennsylvania. In the two years since, he has taken a similar approach to interview scrums and press conferences, delivering countless memorable quotes. 

After Maddon's 9=8 slogan caught on in Tampa Bay ahead of the Rays' 2008 run to the World Series, “Try Not to Suck” has become the unofficial motto of the 2016 Chicago Cubs, who are on the verge of winning the team's first World Series title since 1908. 

As Maddon tries to deliver Cubs faithful a World Series title, take a look at some of his best quotes.

Try not to suck

The four words became popular after the Cubs wore t-shirts bearing the phrase during a March spring training workout. Fans Jacob Chandler and Joe Ferro designed the shirts for an apparel company that they owned and were able to pass them along to Maddon. The shirts went on sale and portions of the sales go to charities, including Maddon’s own foundation.

The meaning?It's Maddon’s hope for the Cubs in 2016. Plain and simple. If the Cubs do not suck, they may be able to end the 108-year World Series drought.

Outside of Wrigley Field, t-shirt vendors have adapted the phrase to say “Try not to suck-tober” for the postseason.

Embrace the target

Heading into spring training, the Cubs were projected to be among World Series favorites, and Maddon wanted his team to accept the “theme” for the 2016 season. He pulled the phrase from Tom Clancy's book Clear and Present Danger.

Baseball in Wonderland: History, title on line in Game 7 that will be unlike any ever played

Respect 90

The message was painted along the first-base line in Spring Training and is the only phrase in Maddon’s Twitter bio. In April, he explained and tweeted that he was “going to make daily push for our players to respect that hard for 90 feet, and the respect will come back to you.” The phrase derives from a plane ride in which Maddon was stuck in the middle seat of the flight and heard the woman next to him say, “Whatever you put out there will come back to you.”

Do Simple Better

A simple approach to day-to-day tasks will lead to success. In August 2015, Jon Lester told his teammates to not think of high expectations and "play stupid" since the Cubs were considered to be in a "rebuilding" phase. Keeping things simple helped fuel the Rays' 2008 success, and Lester took notice.

I'm just a little stitiou

Maddon may not believe in the Cubs curse, but he channeled The Office when he was asked why he elected to wear the same pair of socks as the Cubs won nine-straight games in August. Michael Scott utters the famous line in the episode “Fun Run” after hitting a fellow employee with his car.

The Process is Fearless

It might be the manager's most famous motivational saying. “The process is fearless, because I don't want to spend time on the outcome,” Maddon explained in April. “For me, it’s really about staying in the moment and not worrying about the outcome of the game or managing toward the outcome. It doesn't do anybody any good.”

In Game 6 heroics, Addison Russell shows why he’s key to Cubs’ title hopes

Never let the pressure exceed the pleasure

Maddon uttered the phrase in his introductory press conference with the Cubs in November 2014. This year’s team has dealt with high expectations after posting the best record in the regular season at 103–58, yet the Cubs still manage to look like they’re having fun. It always been part of Maddon’s plan for success. Clearly, it's working. 

If you look hot, wear it

Maddon does not have a strict dress code policy for his players on travel days, but simply asks for them to look hot. He wore this mantra on a pink shirt. He always believed that a $5,000 suit for a flight never made much sense.

You have to have a little bit of crazy to be successful

Another gem from Maddon's introductory press conference, which he embodies.