Maddon appreciative of wily Szczur's athleticism

Cubs outfielder brings football mentality to field; pair finalizes NCAA wager between alma maters

Maddon appreciative of wily Szczur's athleticism

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Szczur and Cubs manager Joe Maddon have established the prize for their friendly wager over the first round NCAA men's basketball game between their respective schools, Villanova and Lafayette.

Villanova, the top seed in the East Regional, is a 22-point favorite over 16th-seed Lafayette, and they play Thursday.

Whoever loses has to wear a hoodie sweatshirt of the winning team. But there's more. Szczur suggested if Villanova not only won but beat the point spread, Maddon would owe the outfielder a bottle of wine.

Szczur's solo home run

"He's pretty confident I'm going to be wearing a Villanova hoodie," Maddon said. "I think he's also confident that he's going to have to give me a bottle of wine. It was all him. I love the intellect behind the bet. He thought of it himself. I said, 'I'm in.'"

On Tuesday, Szczur crashed into the left-field fence chasing after a ball, and ended up with a little cut above his eye. Maddon wasn't surprised.

"The way the guy looks, the way the guy plays, that football background, it all makes sense," Maddon said of Szczur who played wide receiver, running back, wildcat quarterback and on special teams for the 'Nova football team. "He's a joy to be around. We've got a lot of guys who teams like to have because they're good players and people who go about their business. He's totally himself."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.