EXCLUSIVE: Previously Unknown Joe Maddon Motivational Masterpieces

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The Chicago Cubs were baseball's best team during the regular season, and still seem like a World Series favorite, at least to the extent that the game's randomness allows such a thing to exist. How did they do it? Better pitching and hitting than any other team probably had some thing to do with it, but it would be unwise to disregard the quirky keeping-it-loose machinations of manager Joe Maddon, who loves nothing more than to help his players bond by making them all wear weird backpacks or whatever. It's a more precise science than it seems, though, which is why some of Maddon's methods—ones more obscure than The Party Room and Dress Like A Baseball Player In A Whimsical Suit Day—were kept under wraps. A source in Chicago's front office has provided us with this incomplete list of previously unreported Maddon-ivations in the Cubbies' clubhouse. Please do not share it with anyone, it's a secret.

  • Fitting Kris Bryant with a shark fin and having him circle the team as they hum the Jaws theme and avoid his "attack," i.e., his giant hug that ends with a giddy laugh.
  • Egg toss from foul line to foul line.
  • All night hack-a-thon in an attempt to break into NSA's security. (If the hack is successful, the only evidence will be Miguel Montero's face on the eagle's head in the NSA's logo.)
  • Crisis Management Roleplay, Scenario: We Suddenly Have Jonathan Papelbon On The Team
  • David Ross is hidden in the ivy again. Let's try to find him!
  • "King of the Hill" on the pitcher's mound using only pillows as weapons.
  • Trust falls.
  • Trust falls but with Kyle Schwarber.
  • Weekly hour-long salon on European politics in the parlor of Dexter Fowler's house with rotating courses of hors-d'oeuvres. This week's topic: "How Brexit explains the rise of Trump."
  • Chicken fights in the shallow end of Theo Epstein's pool.
  • A member of the Ricketts family explains, with the aid of PowerPoint, who was really at fault for the mortgage crisis of 2007-2008.
  • Everyone cheers on Aroldis Chapman while he smokes cigarette after cigarette while staring at his phone.
  • Pre-game three-legged races around the bases.
  • Exquisite Corpse writing exercises on team flights, next starting pitcher having to write the first line.
  • Rookies vs. Veterans paintball. 
  • "Basics Of Improv Comedy," with instructor John Lackey
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