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Joe Maddon says Cubs' themed trip to Pittsburgh among best

PITTSBURGH -- If you're wondering which of Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon's theme trips over the years is his favorite, we might have found a winner with the trip the team is currently on.

"I had the idea, and I thought it would be good, but I didn't know it would be this good," Maddon said Monday. "This is one of the best ever. Why? Because of the buy-in. The guys totally bought in, man. They took it to another level."

Maddon is calling his team's short visit to Pittsburgh the "minimalist zany suit" road trip, but there are rules to the game.

"If they're seen without at least a part of their outfit on, it's $100 fine," Maddon said. "So I had my tie on today at Starbucks."

Maddon was a little confused as to whether pitcher John Lackey's cowboy hat was part of his suit, so Lackey got fined, while Jon Lester pitched in $100 in support. The manager was asked which of the suits were his favorites.

"Dexter [Fowler] with the shorts," Maddon said. "It's very unfair he can pull that off. I did like the boldness of [Anthony] Rizzo 's outfit. And I did like the cross-dressing on [Jake] Arrieta 's part, combining pink with a leopard."

This is the first theme trip of the season. Last year, the Cubs had their pajama trip on an overnight flight home from Los Angeles after Arrieta threw a no-hitter. Shorts are usually required on only one trip a year. Of them all, Maddon thinks the zany suits might be the best -- and that includes his years in Tampa Bay.

"And it's typified by [bullpen coach] Lester Strode sitting in front of me in the airplane -- sans alcohol, none -- singing his butt off because he thought he looked so hot," Maddon said smiling. "Hat on backwards, great-looking suit, tie tied perfectly, singing out loud on the airplane. That, to me, said it all."