Joe Maddon on Cubs Breakup: ‘I Didn’t Want to Be Back Either’

All we’ve heard from the Cubs for the past year is that players needed to be more focused and accountable, with comments from Theo Epstein and Mark Loretta serving as tacit indictments of Joe Maddon. Nearly every reason given for hiring David Ross spoke to things the Cubs felt they weren’t getting from his predecessor since at least late in the 2018 season.

But according to Maddon’s recent comments, the parting of ways wasn’t just a matter of the Cubs choosing to move in a different direction. Back in Tampa for his annual Thanksmas charity event, the Angels skipper shared a few thoughts on his departure from Chicago.

“I didn’t know how the end of the season with the Cubs was going to work out either,” Maddon told Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone thinks they knew, but they didn’t, and I didn’t either. When it got down to the last couple days it was really obvious to both sides.

“I didn’t want to be back either. It was more of a bilateral than a unilateral decision.’’

To what extent that’s Maddon kind of setting up his own narrative you can judge for yourself, but he certainly didn’t leave on poor terms. Not only was he able to step straight into a tailor-made situation in Anaheim, but one of his former charges took over for him.

“I love that David’s there” Maddon said. “I spoke with him the night before his press conference and we had a great conversation. All these other semantics and descriptions, I don’t necessarily agree with all that. We’ll see how it all works out. But I’m really into David being really successful. I do want to play them in a World Series, because it would mean both sides are successful. And I want us to win the last game, which I think is only appropriate.

“I love David, I think he’s going to do a great job actually, and I love a lot of the players there. I’ve got more thought- provoking, tear-provoking outreach from some (Cubs players) at the end of this season than I’ve ever gotten before.’’

Even the most amicable breakups have a small kernel of bitterness or jealousy, though, and Maddon may have veiled some of his own in the discussion of his business ventures. After talking about how well his Ava restaurants are doing in Florida and North Carolina, he noted that they’re hoping business picks up at Maddon’s Post next to Wrigley. The plan is to keep the place open, of course, it just sounded like a subtle dig.

And with that, we close the book on Joe Maddon’s time in Chicago, at least until the Angels come to Wrigley in a couple years.

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