Imagine the possibilities if Cubs hire Maddux

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Imagine the possibilities if Cubs hire Maddux

Mike Maddux had everyone laughing with his one-liners, and silent when he cut short questions about why he didnt interview in Boston. It sounded like hed have to think about it if he was offered the job.

But most of all, Maddux had an edge that would serve him well if he becomes the next Cubs manager. That presence seemed to keep open the long-shot possibilities that his brother Greg could join the staff and that Carlos Zambrano might be saved.

The Rangers pitching coach met with Cubs executives for roughly four hours on Tuesday night, and continued interviewing on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. They discussed what role his brother could play in the organization, though Maddux declined to elaborate, calling it a private family matter.

Theres a lot of dynamics in every decision we make, and family not only extends to my wife and my daughters, but also my brother and his family.

Maddux and Nolan Ryan pushed their pitchers in Texas, an old-school philosophy that led the Rangers to the World Series twice in the past two years. So how would you handle Zambrano?

I heard hes a big teddy bear, Maddux said, so might pick him up and just burp him.

Those 18 minutes inside the PNC Club were far more entertaining than anything Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin or Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum gave us during their media sessions.

No one knew what Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer thought of the performance, because the Cubs executives left the room as soon as it was over, unavailable for comment. Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. will interview on Friday at Wrigley Field.

Maddux almost sounded like Zambranos agent, talking up the enigmatic pitcher who could use a fresh start elsewhere. This was more of a hypothetical question hoping to get a headline. But by hiring an expert, the Cubs could reinvent their pitching staff, with or without their 91.5 million man.

I saw Carlos Zambrano from across the field seven, eight years ago, Maddux said, and he was the best thing since sliced bread. Hed beat you on the mound. Hed beat you at the plate. Hed beat you on the field.

Total package, great competitor. He was the best pitcher in the National League, and thats what I have in my mind about him. Ive seen him dominate.

In Maddux, the Cubs would be getting a strong voice to say buy or sell on any pitcher, someone who could find internal solutions and shape the vision for an entire organization.

It takes no talent to be in shape that takes desire, Maddux said. Your window of opportunity is short, man. So if youre going to be out of shape and not give yourself every opportunity to be the best that you can be, well, shame on you, because you only get one crack at it.

That message could resonate with Epstein, who recently had to answer questions about the culture of fried chicken and beer in the Red Sox clubhouse. Either way, the Cubs will have to upgrade their rotation this winter. Among the qualities Maddux would look for in a pitching coach: Somebody who could put up with my second-guessing.

Maddux prepared for the interview by getting background information from his brother, who worked as a special assistant to Jim Hendry before the general manager was fired last summer. Family considerations could prevent the future Hall of Famer from taking on a full-time role.

Family concerns also forced Maddux, 50, to withdraw from the Red Sox managerial search this week, but he would not go into details: Were not in Boston right now, so talk about Chicago.

When Maddux was done playing in 2000 after 15 seasons, his two daughters were eight and 10 years old. They all moved to Wisconsin for his six seasons as Brewers pitching coach through 2008. His older daughter moved with him for college when he took the job with the Rangers, while his wife and other daughter stayed back. They all reunited last summer in Texas.

Thats pretty special, Maddux said. There does come a time (when) you got to stop and smell the roses and it was a pretty big gut check for me this year being with my family. The situation is nice both my kids are in school down there. (So) there are a lot of tough decisions that would have to be made.

Maddux seems willing to listen. All these years, he never stopped to analyze why the Cubs have gone more than a century without a World Series title. He might have to start coming up with some theories soon.

When I was with the opposition, I did everything I could to keep the Cubs from winning, Maddux said. I despised the song Go Cubs Go after theyd kick our butts. But Ive always admired this town. Its a very, very unique setup, very historic. And whoever becomes the manager of this ballclub is in a good spot.

From World Series to World Baseball Classic: Javier Baez to play for Puerto Rico

From World Series to World Baseball Classic: Javier Baez to play for Puerto Rico

Javier Baez will try to make it two championships in the span of just a few months.

After winning a World Series with the Cubs last month, Javier Baez will play for Puerto Rico in next year's World Baseball Classic.

Major League Baseball announced an initial list of 30 players who will compete in the event. Baez was the lone Cub on that list, though the remaining roster spots for all 16 squads will be announced as the tournament gets closer.

Baez was one of five players on baseball's list confirmed to suit up for Puerto Rico, joined by Carlos Beltran and Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros, Francisco Lindor of the Cleveland Indians and Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Baez batted .273 with a .314 on-base percentage, 14 home runs, 59 RBIs, 19 doubles and 12 stolen bases in 142 regular-season games, all the while playing highlight-reel defense.

He was named the co-MVP of the NLCS, picking up seven hits — four of them doubles — driving in five runs and stealing two bases.

Cubs cashing in big time with ticket prices after World Series win

Cubs cashing in big time with ticket prices after World Series win

The Cubs didn't wait long to cash in on their first championship in over a century.

As the MLB winter meetings heat up in Maryland, the Cubs are raising ticket prices across the board.

Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago Business reports the Cubs sent renewal invoices to season ticket holders Monday with an average price increase of 19.5 percent.

Meanwhile, club box infield tickets are increasing by 31 percent, bleacher seats up over 22 percent and other spots raising from 11 to 17 percent. The lowest increase is 6 percent for upper deck tickets.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your World Series champions gear right here]

The average price of a season ticket for the Cubs is $58 per game now at Wrigley Field, which is 31 percent more than the same figure from three years ago, Ecker reports

Just from season tickets alone, Ecker states the Cubs could be looking at an extra $20 million in revenue in 2017 compared to 2016.

Add in the more than 200 seats in the "Bullpen Box" down each foul line where the bullpens used to be on the field (each seat starts at $16,000 for the full season), and the Cubs are going to see a major increase in ticket sales coming off a year in which they led MLB with 103 wins, won the National League pennant and then finished it off by hosting three World Series games at Wrigley Field in late October before winning it all on the road.

And hey, why not?

Wrigleyville is guaranteed to be poppin' every night next summer regardless of ticket prices.