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Evan Longoria on Maddon: he’s doing for Cubs what he did for Tampa in 2008

There aren’t many places that Joe Maddon has gone in his professional baseball career that he wasn’t praised for his coaching ability. In fact, the job he’s done rearing a youthful Cubs roster into a playoff contender is something many saw coming.

In an interview on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike,” Tampa Rays third baseman Evan Longoria lavished praises on his former coach and said Maddon’s time in Chicago has been very reminiscent of his time with the Rays.

“He’s a really good leader. He’s really good at bringing players together and getting guys going in the same direction. I think what he does best, and what your seeing in Chicago, is putting all those young guys in the right frame of mind.

“That’s what he did for us in 2008 — taking an inexperienced group of players who haven’t had much big league experience at all… At that point you see a bunch of guys play up to their potential.”

“The guy’s a genius at what he does. Longoria said. “I think everyone would love to see the Cubs win a World Series.”

For whatever reason, Maddon is a veteran at bringing out the best in young, promising players. Maybe it’s his cool, calm approach to the demanding game of baseball, where every upstart prospect is expected to be the next Mike Trout. Or maybe it’s his fun-loving demeanor that younger players resonate with?

Regardless of the reason, Maddon has his Cubbies playing sensational baseball as they look for glory in October. Even if this isn’t the year the Cubs win it all, fans won’t be too mad at people telling them, “it’s always next year.”