Joe Maddon Talks Alumni WAR, Pipe Dream of Beating Cubs in World Series

I’m not sure what kind of pipe Joe Maddon’s been smoking since moving back to California, but it’s been giving him some interesting ideas. He revealed during Thursday’s introductory presser in Anaheim that he’s invented an entirely new form of measuring the impact of former players on the current squad, which may or may not have been heavily influenced by a Christopher Lloyd picture. Sounds like some OG Kush was involved too, but that’s not for me to speculate on further.

“I believe there are wins in the alumni,” Maddon said of the impact of Angels past. “I do. That’s another form of WAR.”

Luckily for Maddon, he won’t have to rely on the ghosts of Garret Anderson and Tim Salmon to aid Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani next season. That’s because Tommy La Stella will be back at full strength after last year’s All-Star campaign was cut short by a broken leg. Oh, also because owner Artie Moreno has vowed to pump more money into the payroll.

With a little luck and some of that patented Maddon magic, maybe Anaheim can even get back to the pinnacle of the sport. And with even more luck, they’ll get to face the Cubs when they do so.

“I could not be more proud of that group,” Maddon said of his old team. “I wish them nothing but the best. And the ultimate goal — you wanna talk about a pipe dream — was that we play them in the World Series and beat ’em. That would be my pipe dream right there.”

Pick it, pack it, fire it up.

In all seriousness, it makes sense that Maddon would want that. It’s not that he’s necessarily looking for some measure of vindication, though a Chicago handshake with a shot of sodium pentothal might have him admitting as much. More than anything, it’s about winning with his new/old team while getting the chance to compete against the team that made him an icon. Who wouldn’t want that?

As someone who now has an Angels logo tattooed on his arm, I know I would love to see the Halos duking it out with the Cubs. Oh, you didn’t know about that? Stick around and I’ll explain it in a subsequent post.

I was pretty sure heading into the the 2019 season that Maddon was not going to brought back on a new deal, but hearing his introductory presser served to seal for me that it was the right decision. And not just for the Cubs, but for Maddon too. Every coaching or managerial relationship has a certain shelf life, some of which are shorter than others, and Maddon’s schtick seemed to have passed its expiry in Chicago.

We can argue all we want about what percentage of blame lies with which party, but the fact of the matter is that the dynamic wasn’t working. Now the Cubs and Maddon each get fresh starts, presumably with the ability to be a little more free to do what they’d like and how they like it.

So maybe you can just put that in your pipe and smoke it. Or, you know, don’t.

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