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The Cubs Way
Cover of The Cubs Way
The Cubs Way
The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse
Borrow Borrow
The New York Times Bestseller
With inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions.
It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions.
How did a team composed of unknown, young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs' transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball.
Beginning with Epstein's first year with the team in 2011, Verducci will show how Epstein went beyond "Moneyball" thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called "The Cubs Way," he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics.
To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs' bench. A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge.
The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential.
Verducci chronicles the playoff run that culminated in an instant classic Game Seven. He takes a broader look at the history of baseball in Chicago and the almost supernatural element to the team's repeated loses that kept fans suffering, but also served to strengthen their loyalty.
The Cubs Way is a celebration of an iconic team and its journey to a World Championship that fans and readers will cherish for years to come.
The New York Times Bestseller
With inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions.
It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions.
How did a team composed of unknown, young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs' transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball.
Beginning with Epstein's first year with the team in 2011, Verducci will show how Epstein went beyond "Moneyball" thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called "The Cubs Way," he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics.
To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs' bench. A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge.
The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential.
Verducci chronicles the playoff run that culminated in an instant classic Game Seven. He takes a broader look at the history of baseball in Chicago and the almost supernatural element to the team's repeated loses that kept fans suffering, but also served to strengthen their loyalty.
The Cubs Way is a celebration of an iconic team and its journey to a World Championship that fans and readers will cherish for years to come.
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  • From the cover Chapter 1

    Prelude to Seven

    Three hours before the most important game for the Chicago Cubs in more than a century, the desk of Joe Maddon in the visiting manager's office at Progressive Field in Cleveland formed the cluttered tableau of a busy mind. Two opened, half-­eaten, oversized bars of Ghirardelli dark chocolate. Eight-­by-­ten photos of deceased managers Earl Weaver, Chuck Tanner, and Dick Howser. All seven of his color-­coded, two-­sided, World Series lineup cards, complete with every piece of statistical information he needs in the dugout, not to mention a shorthand homage to deceased family and friends. An iPad Pro with stylus, which he used to design the lineup cards. And his smartphone, which buzzed with a text from one of his hometown buddies back in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

    Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians, the two teams with the longest championship droughts in baseball, was drawing nigh.

    Maddon faced two major questions heading into Game 7: How could his hitters possibly dent Cleveland starting pitcher Corey Kluber, the ace who had held the Cubs to one run over 12 innings in his two starts in the series? And what pitching plan could Maddon cook up to get the ball to his closer, Aroldis Chapman, whom he had taxed in the previous two games?

    Maddon began this day with his usual daily meditation session. Then, as he does each game day, he mulled over what to do about his lineup over a cup of caffé Americano. He doodled ideas and batting orders on his iPad with his stylus, and when his lineup was ready he sent it, as always, to the recipients on his lineup chain: club president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, assistant general manager Randy Bush, assistant director of research and development Jeremy Greenhouse, first base coach Brandon Hyde, and director of media relations Peter Chase. The distribution of his lineup was done more as a courtesy, less for approval.

    About Epstein, Maddon said, "He's never vetoed anything. He'll just write back sometimes, 'Have you thought about this?' The last two years they've given me a lot of freedom to do what I think is right. And it's been really enjoyable. We include each other in everything, but when it comes down to on the field, in the dugout, the clubhouse, he gives me all kinds of freedom."

    Hyde then texted the lineup to the players, as he always did. If the lineup includes a significant change out of the ordinary—­such as a position switch or a day off for one his regulars—­Maddon will send a personal text to the player involved to open the door to a conversation.

    Maddon is an inveterate lineup tinkerer. He started a different rightfielder in three of the first four World Series games (Chris Coghlan, Jorge Soler, and Jason Heyward). But Maddon did not ruminate long over his Game 7 lineup. He stuck with the same one that he used in Game 6, and why not? His team had thrashed the In­­dians, 9–­3, while cranking out 13 hits. The key change he'd made for that game was to put designated hitter Kyle Schwarber in the number two spot, which moved third baseman Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and leftfielder Ben Zobrist down one slot each, to three-­through-­five. In Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, with the designated hitter used in the American League park, Schwarber had hit fifth. It was the first time he had seen major league pitching in 201 days after rehabbing torn ligaments in his left knee. Amazingly, within a single series Schwarber had turned himself into a legitimate threat at the plate after missing virtually the entire...
About the Author-
  • Tom Verducci is Sports Illustrated's senior baseball writer and a three-time winner of the National Sportswriter of the Year Award. He is also a two-time Emmy Award-winning game and studio analyst for FOX Sports and MLB Network. He was the co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's Tom Verducci narrates his account of the Chicago Cubs' World Series win in 2016, their first in 108 years. This audiobook is a must-listen for those interested in how a winning baseball team is built from the top down. It all starts with executive Theo Epstein, who in 2011 implements long-term comprehensive player development and personnel strategies. Verducci then profiles the players and managers who eventually have pivotal roles in 2016, while sprinkling in play-by-plays of the seven World Series games. Verducci's clear, enthusiastic voice delivers a lot of information straightforwardly and effectively. His overreliance on player quotes can be tiresome, especially since his own writing is quite strong, but his narration is solid. A.T.N. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse
Tom Verducci
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