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Hugs between Joe Maddon and Aroldis Chapman in September turned into Chapman’s public criticism over his use in the playoffs by November -- despite the Cubs’ first championship in 108 years. | AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Cubs’ Maddon to critics: Check the scoreboard

SHARE Cubs’ Maddon to critics: Check the scoreboard
SHARE Cubs’ Maddon to critics: Check the scoreboard

It took more than a century for the Cubs to win that championship in November.

And barely two months later, their first manager to win a World Series since the year the Model T debuted is starting to wonder how much of the next century he’ll keep getting the same questions and criticism over how he used his personnel in the final games of the World Series.

Some of the public criticism and private grumbling came from players on the team during and after the postseason, but Maddon expressed little concern about lingering issues and pointed out the obvious: The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions, and not just in some sci-fi movie.

“Honestly, I find it humorous that people want to go there,” said Maddon, whose heavy use of closer Aroldis Chapman with big leads in Games 6 and 7 drew the most public scrutiny even after the Cubs came back to win a Game 7 thriller in 10 innings.

“There’s nothing I can do about perceptions and interpretation,” he added. “That’s up to the brain and the mind and the heart of the beholder. My interpretation is what I did, and I had that planned before the game began.

“If people want to focus on one moment where I totally disagree with them and I can’t convince them of that, there’s nothing I can do about.”

Maddon, who spoke Wednesday during his annual “Thanksmas” dinner event for some of Chicago’s homeless, constantly welcomes second-guessing.

If anything, the part that bothered him appears to be that some of the criticism of his postseason managing came from within his own team, including Chapman in public comments after he re-signed with the Yankees last month.

“Personally, I don’t agree with the way he used me,” Chapman said to New York writers, citing being left in a 9-2 game in the ninth inning in Game 6 and being “tired” by the time he was asked to pitch two innings of Game 7.

“It’s too bad he had to say that,” Maddon said. “There’s really nothing to it as far as I’m concerned. We had talked about his usage, and he was all for it. And I just know one thing: that we could not have won it without him. We’re grateful for everything that he had done here, and I just wish him nothing but the best in the future.

“But everything that occurred in those last couple games was planned out in advance. And as it turned out, it turned out pretty well.”

Maddon said he doesn’t envision needing clear-the-air conversations with any players, including bullpen guys who might have felt underused or overlooked in the postseason.

“I’m always open about conversations with anybody,” he said. “I don’t really feel it’s necessary to have any conversations. After all, we did win the World Series, and everybody did participate, and everybody had a role.”

Maddon did say he might talk with catcher Miguel Montero about some of his public comments after the season, but only in the natural course of conversation during Cubs Convention.

“I don’t have any specific time planned,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll talk. Miggy likes to talk.”

During an interview on ESPN 1000 after the World Series, Montero said he was “disappointed” with his limited role during the playoffs, having felt “left out a little bit.”

He had only 12 at-bats during the postseason, but one resulted in a game-winning grand slam against the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series; another, a run-scoring single during the winning rally in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series.

“We could not have won it without [Montero and Chapman],” Maddon said. “It’s unfortunate that they felt they had to discuss it that way, but from my perspective, I appreciate everything they’ve done.”


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