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Wild at heart: Joe Maddon turns Wrigley Field into zoo for a day

CHICAGO -- Joe Maddon brought his own brand of Animal House to Wrigley Field on Tuesday.

Known for his quirky events to keep players loose, including a recent pajama party, the Cubs manager teamed up with the Columbus Zoo to bring a slew of animals to the park for players and their families.

"Travis [Wood] was putting a lot of pressure on me for not having a lot of animals in the clubhouse this year," said Maddon, who had a snake brought into the clubhouse when he was manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. "You bring them for the kids but the grown-ups are equally impressed."

Kids and adults alike were able to pet a sloth, hold a baby snow leopard, waddle with a penguin and hang with a pink flamingo, Maddon's personal favorite.

"I'm a big pink flamingo fan," he said. "My goal in life is to eventually own a bar called the Pink Flamingo."

The flamingo, and most of the other animals, even made an appearance at Maddon's pregame news conference.

Considering the Cubs are one of the youngest teams in the league, there wasn't a huge age difference between the little kids who enjoyed the animals and the players, who enjoyed playing with and holding the animals.

"I loved the snow leopard," rookie Kyle Schwarber said.

Javier Baez added: "The sloth was cool. He was friendly."