Maddon wants Cubs to keep eyes on prize

Maddon wants Cubs to keep eyes on prize

After winning 97 games last season and getting to the postseason, Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn't think his players will have any more pressure to deal with this season. His goal is to make sure they "embrace the target" and stay focused on the simple aspects of each day.

There will be no discussion about ending any curses, real or imaginary, associated with the Cubs, who have not won a World Series since 1908.

"I've never really dealt with the word 'curse' -- I don't believe in those kind of things," Maddon said on Monday at the Cactus League Media Day, "but I understand why people would talk in those terms. What it's about is how we handle the day properly."

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Maddon, who won the National League Manager of the Year Award last season, his first with the Cubs, said he knows some may think he's spouting sports psycho-babble. He's simply not changing his approach from a year ago.

"The expectations are as a team," Maddon said. "As a team, my expectations are to get to the playoffs, win the division, and then play the last game of the year and win it. That's the expectations of all of us. When it comes to expectations, you have to understand one thing -- what matters is our expectations and nobody else's."

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