Manager Joe Maddon watched with amusement when a player who committed a gaffe would return to the dugout entrance farthest away from David Ross in an effort to avoid a tough-lashing from the former Cubs catcher.
“I’d stand in a corner and turn a bit,” Maddon smirked. “It always was entertaining.”
So Maddon was surprised to learn that the commentators on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” were critical of the stern words catcher Willson Contreras delivered to pitcher Tyler Chatwood, adding Ross wouldn’t have acted the same way in plain view.
“They’re wrong,” Maddon said.
Maddon said he wasn’t aware of the comments but elaborated on the dynamics of handling situations among his players.
“Sometimes you push a button, other times you wrap an arm around,” Maddon said. “I don’t even know to what extent the conversation had been to that point.”
Maddon acknowledged that Chatwood was struggling with his control and that sometimes “rattling your cage can help a little bit.”
“I have no positive or negative reaction to that,” Maddon said. “I just think the way Willson chose to do it at that time, and to draw negative attention to Willson without knowing the entire scope of the event is unfair.”
Maddon didn’t have any issues with Contreras’ tough-love approach and didn’t believe there would be any negative impact.
Ross was known as a vocal leader during his two seasons with the Cubs (2015-16). During one of his first spring workouts, Ross scolded first baseman Anthony Rizzo for botching a drill during a rundown.
Also, pitcher Jake Arrieta once praised catcher Miguel Montero for challenging him during one start in 2015.
“We’ve all been there,” Maddon said.