Joe Maddon will be managing by the book next year, and the book is Managing Millennials for Dummies.
The Chicago Cubs manager will head to spring training just after his 65th birthday, a generation or two removed from his players and entering the final season of his contract.
“You always think this ‘for dummies’ thing is really rudimentarily written — it’s really well written and it’s really well researched,” he said Tuesday at the winter meetings.
“I’m learning about traditionalists, baby boomers, the Xers and then millennials. I’m really starting to understand this a little bit better.”
Maddon has spent more than four decades as a baseball manager, coach and scout. After brief managing stints with the California Angels in 1996 and 1999, he led the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-14 and then the Cubs since 2015. In his second season, he helped Chicago to its first World Series title since 1908.
“Whether anybody here agrees or disagrees with the generation and how they process things doesn’t matter because that’s the way it is,” he said. “And if that’s the way it is, just like my dad, that generation thought we were a bunch of babies, the boomers. The traditionalists thought: ‘They’re all soft.’ And then you think the Xers are soft. The Xers think the millennials are soft. It doesn’t matter. You have to figure out how to communicate and extract the best out of this group and make sure that you’re always on the same page.”
In addition to the Managing Millennials book by Hannah L. Ubl, Lisa X. Walden and Debra Arbit, Maddon has been studying Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan.
“You have to make your adjustments, and that’s what I’m working on right now, is to understand better how I could better serve these guys,” Maddon said.
Maddon claimed he doesn’t mind that Cubs president Theo Epstein has not given him a new deal.
“Theo and I have had some really good conversations. I totally understand where he’s coming from. I am not offended,” Maddon said.
“If you have a lot of self-confidence, things like that should not bother you — and I do. I’m going to do my job like you’ve always seen me do my job. I might alter it a little bit regarding getting out on the field a little bit more often. What we’ve done over the last four years I feel pretty good about, feel strongly about. Let’s just win the World Series and see how that all plays out.”
Maddon hopes to remain as Cubs manager beyond 2019.
“The concept that Theo and I have any kind of a disengagement or a lack of philosophical sameness is untrue,” he said.
“We have great conversations. And we’re definitely almost 100 per cent on the same page all the time.”