THE CHICAGO CUBS – “TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD” #23

Joe Madden the Cub’s Manager created a culture of being laid-back and indicating that ”TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD” when playing weaker teams in the league . The reference recognizes the Meatball Series of Music, but Theo Epstein will be changing that culture, and replacing it with a degree of “urgency” that will be challenging to Joe and the Cub’s players. I am a great Joe Madden fan, because he made a 60+ year dream come true by winning the first World Series in over 108 years and bringing back memories of non-urgent baseball. I remember the culture of “wait until next year” that my friends and I became used to believing – it never happened.

I would like to share some of the challenges that Joe will face in 2019 and ones that will contribute to “wait until next year and years to come”. We won a World Series only three years ago because we were hungry and Theo has to get a return on the investment the Rickett Family has made.

  1. Joe has not received an extension to or a renewal of his $6MM a year contract. Why not? He deserves an extension, based on winning 95 games this year.
  2. Theo might have some other things that he wants to change based on the finish in 2018.
  3. Joe is 65 years old – very few Major League Managers exceed that age. Maybe there is no more “urgency” left in his approach to the game. He’s been known to publicly share his feeling about art and every day he rode his bike to work. Strange behavior for a manager who is now expected to change to urgent everything he does.
  4. Joe is in the 6th & last year of his contract, therefore, he Is a “lame duck” manager unless Theo addresses this issue with a minimum of an extension.
  5. Joe won 95 games, but all that matters is winning the the Division, the League and the World Series. No team enters the last week of season with a four game lead and loses the Division by 1 game, and expects that things are not going to change. Every one of the 162 games count, just as every month, quarter counts in business where goals and forecasts are expected to be achieved.
  6. Theo didn’t pull any punches when he had a meeting with the entire organization the day after the final game. The message was clear –there will be changes and a high focus on “urgency” or else. The ”or else” was a hint that Theo might not be extending or renewing Joe’s contract. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Joe leave the Cubs before the 2019 season starts.
  7. Just as every business has to have a high focus on the development and training of all employees, so do the Cubs that have a lot of players who need to be. trained and developed. As in business, this step will fall on the leaders in the dugout and not in the front office.
  8. The first thing I would recommend to Joe, would be to develop a 1st &2nd half plan which goes over the key facts such as the schedule so that there is no misunderstanding that every series of games will count, and that it doesn’t matter what the schedule is. These athletes are well paid and they can’t be publicly complaining about the schedule. A well developed plan will outline all the solutions the club is going to implement – what, where and when. The plan should be reviewed by both dugout and upstairs management. Any critical strategies should involve players.
  9. IF A PLAN IS DEVELOPED – it should be focused on day-to-day plans for every game, but also reflect on first & second halves of the season. Contingency plans have to be specific, yet they also have to flexible due to the high rates of injury that every club experiences.
  10. My prediction for 2019 is that Joe will have to win it all in order to retain his job and get a new contract or extension. We are now waiting for 2019 – a year that does not look promising unless the Cubs display a degree of urgency and start producing hits as we know they can.
  11. Will Joe change the culture from “two-out-of-three to three-out-of-three ain’t bad”. Every game counts in baseball as does making goals every day in business. You must grow in volume and profitability, and you can’t go another 108 years without winning a World Series if you are the CUBS. Good Luck in 2019 –GO CUBS!!