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Joe Maddon says the 2017 Cubs are going to be “authentic”

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes the cosmic, big picture stuff. He comes up with themes and slogans for entire seasons or parts of seasons. Thinks about larger and broader motivational things and talks about them far more than he talks about the Xs and Os of baseball.

Last year, for example, he talked about expectations and “embracing the target” that others set for the Cubs, which runs contrary to how most people in baseball talk about external expectations. This year he’s talking up something else. From ESPN Chicago:

Coming up with a new slogan for a new challenge has been an offseason goal for the Cubs’ third-year manager. “Authenticity” is the foundation of his message.
“It’s a great word to bring an entire message from,” Maddon said. “Get in front of the group that first day in spring training. Just think of that word: ‘authentic’ and ‘authenticity’ and the positives that can be derived from that.”

I’m not sure how the concept of “authenticity” translates to baseball motivation and preparation. It seems like a key part of being an elite athlete is believing a lot of impossible things as a means of psyching yourself up to do things most people can’t do. And people smarter than me have talked a lot about how transparency and authenticity can, in some contexts, hinder leadership.

But I suppose figuring out how to navigate such philosophical minefields is why they pay Joe Maddon the big bucks.

Freddie Freeman’s X-rays come back negative

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The Braves got a scare last night after first baseman Freddie Freeman was hit on the left wrist by a Hoby Milner fastball in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was doubly scary given that, less than a year ago, the same wrist was fractured when Aaron Loup plunked him last year, causing Freeman to miss over a month and a half.

Good news, though: the Braves just announced that Freeman’s X-rays are negative and that he’s day-to-day.

On the season, Freeman is batting .288/.468/.492 with two home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored in 79 plate appearances.