MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon met with his “lead bulls” on Sunday to go over team rules as 11 players and their boss discussed everything from a dress code to kids in the clubhouse.
“The biggest topic of discussion was shorts or not on the road,” Maddon said after the meeting.
Maddon isn’t a stickler for a lot of written rules, instead preferring a common-sense approach. He believes players know the line not to cross. He used last year’s policies -- his first on the team -- as a guideline. They worked out pretty well.
“You have like a force field, not an actual fence. Guys know if they go past a certain point you might get stung a little bit, but you don’t have to see the fence there,” Maddon explained. “I like that.”
The Cubs manager has always had a more liberal stance on team policies, learning early on there are enough organization and league rules for players to follow that there’s no reason to add to them. It starts with the dress code for road trips.
“If you think you look hot, you wear it,” Maddon said smiling. “I’ve always rallied against the fact that [the] previous generation really frowns upon non-collared shirts, which I’ve never understood. They’ve always been in favor of the collared shirt and that being more acceptable than the non-collared shirt. I’ve never understood that logic when it comes down to dress.
“The $5,000 suit on the airplane ride makes no sense to me.”
As for kids in the clubhouse, a controversy which popped up on the White Sox last week, Maddon says they’re usually not allowed from three hours before the game until after it's over, but it’s hardly a steadfast rule. The key is not abusing any team policies, as Maddon was quick to point out it’s not fifth grade, high school or even college. That’s when more stated rules might be needed.
“Exercise common sense with all this stuff,” he said. “There are so much archaic stuff that baseball stands for.”
Maddon and players even discussed family on the road as the manager believes it can be unfair to send a spouse home on her own instead of coming on the team plane. It was this kind of back and forth with nearly half the team which will set the foundation for the season.
“It’s unusual to have that many guys on a team that you feel like you want to put in that meeting,” Maddon explained. “The interaction was fantastic. I love the fact they’re willing to tell me what they think in front of me. I take that as a compliment.
“I’m here to manage the team, not make rules. I learned my lesson with that to not go nuts about it.”