The Chicago Cubs have a new manager: Joe Maddon. Judging by his introductory press conference, he's going to fit in just fine.
At the conclusion of his excitable press conference held Monday afternoon at the Cubby Bear bar near Wrigley Field, Maddon ordered a round for everyone in attendance, clarifying:
"That's a shot and a beer. That's the Hazleton way," referring to his Pennsylvania hometown.
Maddon, who replaces Rick Renteria, will be the Cubs' fifth manager since the start of the 2010 season. After leaving the Tampa Bay Rays with a record of 754-705 after nine seasons, Maddon inked a five-year, $25 million contract with the Cubs, the Associated Press reports.
Despite enthusiasm from Cubs brass and Maddon, the acquisition of what Deadspin calls "one of baseball's few rock-star managers" is not without controversy. The Rays are reportedly mulling filing tampering charges against the Cubs, alleging they enticed Maddon to opt-out of the final year of his contract.
Cubs President Theo Epstein denied the allegations and said the Cubs reached out to Maddon immediately only after learning he was opting out from the Rays.
The fantastically quotable 60-year-old was beyond optimistic about the Cubs' prospects for the coming season.
“I'm gonna be talking playoffs next year,” Maddon said during the press conference. “I'll tell you that right now. I can't go to spring training and say anything else. You have to set your goals high, because if you don't set them high enough you might hit your mark, and that's not a good thing. We're gonna talk World Series this year, and I'm gonna believe it. It's in our future.”
In addition to resembling a more youthful Harry Caray (Caray definitely would have ordered a round at a press conference) the 60-year-old Maddon was also exceptionally enthusiastic about Chicago: He vowed to live downtown and not in some "country club" cloistered community (subtle burn on the suburbs?) while praising the energy and life of the city.
“The challenge is so outstanding, how could you not want to be in this city?"