Cubs manager Joe Maddon has always been known for being a bit… funky.
He organizes dress-up road trips, spews motivational phrases and puts pitchers in left field. He wears crazy clothes, drives to Spring Training in an RV and bats power hitters first and pitchers eighth.
But in a Real Sports profile that will air Tuesday night on HBO, Maddon shows Bryant Gumbel just how far out of the box he really goes.
Maddon gave Gumbel an up-close look at his 1976 Dodge van, which includes red carpet on the walls, lots of Earthy tones, a Jerry Garcia doll, a television showing clips from Woodstock and a stereo system that plays Crosby, Stills & Nash and other music of the era.
“I just dig it,” Maddon told Gumbel. “It’s nostalgic.”
Maddon first drew attention to his van when he drove it to Wrigley during the 2015 NLCS. He later called the vehicle his “shaggin wagon.”
Most Major-League managers are more the pickup-truck types, but Maddon fully embraces his counterculture side. The “Real Sports” feature also shows him at a costume party in Tampa wearing an outfit that would have made most Woodstock attendees jealous.
Gumbel’s interview with Maddon, filmed in the days before Spring Training began, features some insight into his managerial style, as well. Maddon writes borderline-cheesy axioms on his lineup cards before each game, dispensing wisdom like “Do not permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure” and “Do not be a fucking fan.”
Maddon said in the piece that he is not bothered by criticism that followed his bullpen usage in the World Series, defending his choice to use Aroldis Chapman with a five-run lead in Game 6. Maddon’s boss, team president Theo Epstein, said he disagreed with that decision “with every cell in my body” but that he firmly backed his manager.
“I didn’t agree with everything he did in the World Series, but I did see him as being the absolute right person to see us through all the ups and downs and get us to the end, and that’s what he did. He got us to the end.”
Here’s the trailer for the Maddon feature, will which air along with the rest of the Real Sports episode Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.