Joe Maddon: Young Cubs must continue to 'aim high'

CHICAGO -- With so many rookies and young players filling prominent roles this season, the conventional wisdom early in the year was the Chicago Cubs wouldn’t be serious contenders for a postseason berth until 2016 at the earliest.

That’s why there’s been a lot of recent talk in Chicago that the Cubs -- who entered Sunday with a 2 1/2-game lead on the San Francisco Giants for the second wild-card spot in the National League -- have had a successful season, regardless of what happens the rest of the way.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon, though, respectively disagrees and believes his team shouldn’t consider not making the playoffs a success.

“The nice story would be that we get to the playoffs and are very successful in the playoffs,” he said before the finale of the four-game series with the Giants at Wrigley Field. “That would be the really nice story.

“I’m also pragmatic. I understand what everyone is saying. In a sense that is true, but why would you want to be satisfied with that? You get to this particular juncture and you’re seeing our guys are maturing on a major league stage right now. Let’s just keep it rolling.”

The Cubs should have a bright future with the current core of youngsters, but tomorrow is promised to no one. They’re contending now, so Maddon believes they should go for it.

“Like we’ve been talking about all year, aim high,” he said. “The threat of not aiming high enough is that you’re going to hit your mark always. I want us to aim high.”