JOE MADDON: Working relationship is great. Andrew and I are really good friends also. He obviously gave me the opportunity to manage, him and Matt Silverman in a hotel, one of those little conference rooms in Houston prior to the World Series in 2005. Right? So we went down there, talked, and it was definitely -- we hit it off immediately. A lot of commonality. Like I told him after that, at that point if that was the one job that I had not gotten it, I would have been disappointed. Because I thought the fit was that good. But beyond that, we hung out together. We stay in touch all the time. I know his family really well. His mom's a trip. I really enjoy the whole group. So Andrew and I are very close. Second part of that?
Q. Is it fair to wonder whether or not you would be here?
JOE MADDON: Sure, I mean, that opt-out kicked in by him leaving, so and I remember the conversation I had with him when that all occurred, I was in my RV, actually, began in Pennsylvania, then eventually got the news driving through Virginia. So, I was really happy for him. Because being the age that he is, getting that opportunity to go to a market like that, I knew how much he wanted to do something like that. It was a perfect fit. So I'm really happy for his success. We really are very good friends.
Q. Do you consider it a benefit that it's possible you don't see Kershaw for Game 3?
JOE MADDON: Well, they said the same thing about Bumgarner. In Game 3. Here's what I got: Tomorrow's Saturday. Let's play Saturday's game. That's all I'm concerned about. We had some time to create our roster, we have to -- Jonny's pitching, we have to create the makeup of the bullpen, the bench, that is exactly where my focus is right now for -- with all due respect to every wonderful pitcher in the game of baseball, I'm just worried about tomorrow. So, that's how I operate. That's how I want our group to operate. The moment we start getting ahead of yourself a little bit, it can bite you quickly. So, that's it. Kershaw is outstanding, there's no question. He's one of the best in the last 50 years or whatever. But that's just one pitcher. We have to worry about tomorrow's pitcher.
Q. Watching the playoffs, all the closers being used in different innings, 5th, 6th, 7th. Do you see this as an anomaly for this season, or is this going to be the way playoffs are in the future?
JOE MADDON: I think that for the most part it's been kind of that way in the past where you want to use your bullpen slightly differently in the playoffs. I think it's getting more play right now in regards to coverage and you get all the different TV shows, where people are generating this kind of concept (indiscernible) of the world. This is stuff that's been out there. I think it's just becoming more prominent and being spoken about more. And then, thus, you're seeing more of it in the game. But I always believe that you're going to utilize your bullpen differently this time of the year. Then again, you have to have guys that are valuable and amenable. Seriously, I mean it's not -- like Mike coming in this early, you give a lot of credit. That's not something he's not used to doing, and he did it very well. And then Jefferson to be able to almost pitch three innings. That's stuff that you don't normally do. It would be difficult to do that during the regular season on a consistent basis and not really -- I think it would be much more difficult to be consistently successful by moving people around that often and having them throw that much. However, this time of the year's a different animal, and I think that I get it. It's the way it should be.
Q. You haven't seen the Dodgers for a while. Just general thoughts on them and the series.
JOE MADDON: They're veteran. They know what they're doing out there, obviously. When threw Ruiz pinch hit for Utley, that's different. You don't see that every day. I was looking at their roster, and they do, they have -- I know Howie very well, Kendrick. Howie is one of -- had Howie with the Angels. I know him well. I think they have one of the best players in the game in Seager at shortstop. He is an incredibly good talent. Especially at the plate. He's different. Turner at third base, he's the kind of guy -- he's Long Beach guy, so you know how they play baseball. And even Utley's from Long Beach also. That's just a little pocket out there that I've always been impressed with. So they're tough, the word "grind" is used excessively this time of the year, actually during the season, but right now you're grinding all the time, but I think that they have that within their fabric, they are grinders. Their pitching, bullpen could really match up. Significant lefties and righties. They're good. They're very good, and they provide -- with all the left-handed hitters in their lineup, their ability to move it back and forth, which is expected. That's very good. It's been planned out that way.
Q. You used the defensive shift this year less than any team in the majors, yet you're defense was historically really good. How do you account for that?
JOE MADDON: Well, the shifting less I think primarily that's just -- it's only counted when the shortstop moves on the other side of the second baseman or the second baseman moves on the other side. I think we're still in an appropriate defensive alignment. I don't know this, but this is what I think. I played in the American League. There was many more in the American League -- there was many more heavy-pull left-handed hitters that required you to do that. Playing in the National League this year, I don't see that as being as excessive. I might be wrong. But just observationally, I think that's true. And also, like I said, we still move a lot. We just maybe don't move to the other side of the bag where it gets notated. So, I also believe that the range of our kids, our guys out there, athleticism on defense and the pitchers, it really -- they have to work in concert where the pitcher elicits weaker contact which makes your defense bigger. If your pitching staff doesn't elicit weak contact, your defense becomes smaller. I think that all is a part of the equation. So, when you look at it, I don't think if you just look at shifting or not shifting, how good are your starting pitchers. How athletic and what kind of range are your defensive players. All these things factor into to get to this particular juncture. And then when it comes down to shifting -- and I think that it's almost a funny, it's turned into a funny word where people are either impressed or annoyed by it. It's just you take the information or the data and you try to stick your guys appropriately, and I think it's just based on where we're at. And, furthermore, regarding outlawing shifting, I think you're seeing a natural organic method where the hitters are not just up there trying to pull the ball and realize, they got to do -- utilize the other part of the field. There's a lot of knocks over there. So I think all this stuff eventually is going to lead to probably less shifting. Last point, it's got to start in the Minor Leagues. If you have a heavy left-handed pull hitter in the Minor Leagues, this is a guy that you have to consider, either teaching him how to bunt or making him understand and learn how to hit the ball on the ground on other side. Which they can do. But to nurture that on a Major League level is difficult.
Q. You talked the other day about expectations and that you like them and how much you want your team to embrace them. It seems to me there's kind of a fine line between expectations and pressure. When have you a young team like this, how do you frame it to them, to convince them that expectations are good and they should embrace them?
JOE MADDON: They're almost synonymous terms, aren't they? They are synonyms I think today, and especially in this game. I think you can't have expectations without the word pressure being attached to, and vice versa. For me, my original initial message to the boys was that why would you ever want to be in a situation that doesn't require a little bit of pressure added to it or expectations. I would not want to go into a season having zero expectations and zero pressure applied to you because you're going to finish fourth or fifth in a division. I mean, that's a bad way to live. So, I wanted our guys to understand that those words are going to be applied to us on an annual basis and you need to embrace them. That was the embrace the target concept. Part of it. And so it's fuel, man. Why would you not? That's the baseball fossil fuel right there, is expectations and pressure. Why would you not want to be affiliated with that or associated with? I don't get it. I don't get it. I remember talking to my instructional league teams with the Angels, and I used to tell that -- I mean, I didn't use the word expectations back then, I think I just used the word pressure in my address to the Angel instructional league teams at Gene Autry Park. And exactly what I'm talking about right now. Listen, if you hear the word pressure, you got to run toward it. That's a good thing. That means we're good and something's good is attached to it. I've always utilized that argument even from the mid '80s.
Q. (Question about Aroldis Chapman.)
JOE MADDON: He's been wonderful. I've developed a relationship with him. We speak almost daily, him and his interpreter. Santiago has done a really nice job. He's fit in seamlessly with the rest of the group. The other night when we attempted to get that six-out save and he did not get it done, he was really upset with himself. Highly accountable to the moment, and was really looking forward to get out there the next time out, and you saw what he did the next night against the Giants. To me, he's -- like I said, with us he's been outstanding. And I only can judge or gauge him by my interaction with him, and it's been really good.
Q. How important is it to have a guy like David Ross on a team, and how much fun has it been to watch him have the season that he's had?
JOE MADDON: Is it any coincidence that we have him and the Dodgers have like an Utley and a Ruiz right now, those kind of players? That's the balance I think needs to be sought after and achieved when you get to this particular time of the year. Normally you're not just going to see a bunch of young guys or a bunch of old guys. The balance is really good. So David is really invaluable to us. A guy that's not talked about enough is Montero. Miggy has been outstanding mentoring a lot of our young Hispanic players as well as everybody else. But he's been really good with like a Willson Contreras and some of our guys in the bullpen. So, yeah, it's something again that's overlooked, the numbers maybe don't match up, and this guy just can't contribute because you stack those numbers up against somebody else, they're not good enough. Well, look what David's done this year, including the last game against the Giants when we put him in there for defensive reasons. Homer and sacrifice fly. He's risen to the occasion. So when it gets to this point, you need guys like that within the group. They definitely help settle down the rest, they do. And when you give them a chance to play, been there, done that, they normally really play well, which is what we're seeing out of David, and seeing out of a lot of the Dodgers, too.
Q. How much of a challenge is it going to be for you guys against Kenta Maeda, who you haven't seen, and is any of that sort of offset by having proven guys like Bryant and Rizzo in the middle of the order?
JOE MADDON: You know, it just is going to depend on how sharp he is. I really think that -- if you look at the more recent game logs, I know he hasn't pitched more deeply into the game. However, of course he's capable of that. I know he's had more rest, and probably that was part of the factor, coming where he came from and how he's pitching and being utilized right now. So, I don't know, for us it would just be about being prepared. And whenever you're facing good pitchers, it's about hitting their mistakes, if the guy's on, he's on. If he is making pitches, regardless if you've seen him five times or zero times, he's going to be difficult. So you would think that the pitcher having never seen us should have somewhat of an advantage, but I also believe that skill set -- and you look at his numbers versus righties and lefties, and really a balance there, tremendously balanced, regarding how well he's done against righties, although he's not awful against lefties by any means. But I just think on that, having seen him for the first time, it's just going to depend on where he's at as much as anything and how sharp he is and where his velocity is at and his location of his breaking ball. That's going to determine -- that's just common sense. But just looking at the game logs, I think that's where this one's falling into right now.
Q. You said Lester for tomorrow. Are you still configuring the rest of the starting rotation?
JOE MADDON: It's been configured. Kyle, Kyle, and then Jake and then John.
Q. You said the other night that you told your team before the last series something bad's going to happen. The way they responded in Game 4, how much did they use that going forward when they're in a bad spot? And I guess in a bigger picture, how much did last year's experience in the NLCS help this year?
JOE MADDON: They're all -- all that experience is there for us to be utilized. It's always about the moment. I talk about that all the time. However, when you're approaching a difficult time, and you have something to draw back on, it helps a little bit. Definitely helps a little bit. So, I think that our experience last year in facing an incredibly sharp Met pitching staff, I think we have to have learned something from that. But you never want to see them again, just number one thing. And then beyond that, learn how to make adjustments and adaptations during the course of the game, those kind of things. And then the other night I just -- it just, again, really galvanized the thought that you never, ever, never, ever, quit. And honestly part of my takeaway from that is the rest of Cub organization. You know that your Minor League guys are watching something like that, too. I love that part of it. I love when your Major League team demonstrates to your Minor League group how to do this. Because then it really becomes part of that group also. There's a lot of lessons to be learned there beyond just us here, I think it really could permeate the entire Minor League group.
Q. I got a nature versus nurturing question for you. You and Dave Roberts are the only managers that Andrew Friedman has ever hired. Neither one of you seem to have any fear of doing things, you know, conventionally. Is that a coincidence?
JOE MADDON: I don't know. Let's see. I never thought about it in those terms that Andrew hired he and I. That's right. Again, I don't know. Okay, let's just go back to David stealing second base against the Yankees. What kind of a moment is that right there? That's absolutely a fearless moment. My best probably came against Lehigh in my final football game where I hit Mike Anderson with a little zig-out in the corner. So it's hard to -- I don't even know if -- you would have to ask Andrew that question, if you recognize something from both of us in that interview process. But I've not thought about that. I have not thought about that. I just know that I watch the games that the Dodgers are playing, and I can see the methods involved. I understand where a lot of the information's coming from, how it's generated, and apparent. So that, that part of it, is similar to me as I watch the Dodgers play.
Q. Can you please talk a bit about Lester and the importance of having somebody with so much experience in the postseason?
JOE MADDON: Like the first one against the Giants, that was a 1-0 game. That was a spectacular game, and he was able to go eight and do what he did. Yeah, right now Jonny, first of all, you're right, having this experience definitely matters, especially as a starting pitcher. He's going to walk out there, he's going to be very comfortable in that moment, actually, inspired by that, I believe. Watched him the last game against the Giants, really calm demeanor. Threw the ball where he wanted to, him and David always worked well together. And I think, I want to believe, that the rest of the group grasped a little bit of courage from that fearless nature that he demonstrates as a starting pitcher in the playoffs. So all of that's there. And I witnessed it from the other side, too, when he was with the Red Sox. He's good. And right now he's at the top of his game. I mean, from what I've seen, he's had a couple hiccups, which everybody does. But, man, he's been pretty much right on the last couple months, including the first game of the playoffs for him. So, he definitely right now, the way he's going about his business, should really benefit the rest of our guys who walk on the field tomorrow.
Q. The vibe in the clubhouse here is obviously like a lot of other teams, but David talked today about the family atmosphere. He talked about losing a grandparent last year, (indiscernible). Where did that -- you said a lot of that starts with you. Where did that start with you in terms of kind of the atmosphere within your team?
JOE MADDON: I talked about this before, and I hate to just -- but you're asking, and I always want to go with my original thought. It was '84, '85, Gene Mauch brought down (indiscernible) batting practice in the cages at Gene Autry Park. I keep referencing Gene Autry Park. I apologize. But Gene walks down to me, and I'm throwing and throwing, and he walks up and he asks -- he says to me, you've created a great atmosphere around here, and he walked away. I thought to myself, what is he talking about? I had no idea what he was talking about. So I had to sit down and go into -- research my own mind what's he talking about here. What I finally figured out, what he talked about there, what he was talking about and really thought -- because my point was I wanted to be able to recreate this because I didn't know what I was doing. I was just doing. So, how do you recreate what you don't know what you're doing? So I sat down and really thought. He was talking about building relationships and creating trust among the group. That's what he was talking about, I thought. So on an annual basis, going back primarily -- see, instructional leagues to me are not nearly as well as they should be run today as they were in the past. Back in the day, man, instructional league was where it was at, and it's a watered-down version these days. I'm not a fan of the way instructional leagues are run today. But back then, man, it was your best kids. And you sit them down, and we would have individual meetings with everybody, talking about strengths and weaknesses, et cetera. So by the time you got out on the field, everybody knew what everybody else was thinking. You built this relationship, this family environment. We do the same thing here. In Spring Training we sit down and talk to everybody. And we have this open communication that starts right there. And once you have this relationship built, then you can create what you're talking about right there. I think if you avoid -- and some of them are tough conversations. I'm not just talking about like, you know, everybody loves everybody. It's not that kind of a conversation. It's a very direct conversation where we're discussing positives and negatives. And eventually on the back side of that comes out this relationship. And from that, you could have that kind of a locker room. I think if you don't, if you choose not to attempt to build that, it will never happen. It can't happen. It can on occasion, if you have the right guys in that room, but you got to -- it's the chemistry thing. People: Oh, chemistry, winning creates chemistry. I believe if you never had it, you have to create it somehow, and I think that's how it begins. So Gene's remark to me made me think what are we doing here.
Q. You obviously been asked a lot about the championship drive here, but each of the four teams that are left also has like a multiple decade drought. Is that a good thing for baseball?
JOE MADDON: It wasn't a multiple decade (laughter). We have more than multiple decades, but...
Q. Is that a good thing for baseball in terms of drumming up interest?
JOE MADDON: My takeaway, just watching the playoffs, the games that I've had a chance to watch and of course being absorbed in our own, this has all got to be good for baseball. I mean, for that -- for that group out there that finds baseball boring, at least tune in. And if you don't understand what's going on, have somebody sit next to you that does. That's the biggest rub that I have going on right now is that if you want to attract younger fans, teach them what's going on out there. They don't even understand the nuance probably of an infield fly rule, what a force play is all about. Or why you're doing something differently with the bullpen. These games have been fascinating, and there's a lot of good young stars out there, too, that I would like to believe that a lot of our youth in this country could identify with. And we want to get more of the youth playing baseball. So, I've been really enthralled by this entire thing. I think part of our -- our series with the Giants was outstanding. You just watch what happened with the Giants -- or, excuse me, the Dodgers and Washington, of course the American League side, all this stuff has been really fun to watch. And at the end of the day, man, if we can just educate the masses and get the youth more involved and get to them, find out what really makes them want to play baseball, at least become a fan, but that's what I just -- the educational component, that's what I think is really necessary right now. Getting it into schools somehow where you get kids more involved. And even if they can't play the game, at least become involved in the game mentally. And then that really starts with understanding the game. Because there's nothing boring about a 1-0 game, Jon Lester versus Johnny Cueto, on a home run by Javy Baez in the latter part of the game. That is as exciting as it gets.