ARTICLE #8: Maddon On...

Cubs' Joe Maddon no fan of travel baseball

Joe Maddon likes baseball players who played other sports.

MESA, Ariz. -- In assessing the talents of center fielder Dexter Fowler, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes the versatility that Fowler brings from his days as a high school talent who turned down a chance to play basketball at Harvard.

"I love cross pollination when it comes to athletes," Maddon said. "You get guys who just did not play baseball, meaning they've been around a different set of coaches and styles and ways to get in shape and thoughts. I love that.

"Of course, I’m always going to be partial to a former football player as you just love the football mentality and normally this guy is used to difficult practices and playing hurt and having to learn a bunch of players and he probably remembers plays well. He’s more coachable in that regard."

Before Maddon could answer the next question, he reverted back to how strongly he felt that kids should play as many sports as possible.

"That’s why I hate the specialization of kids when they’re on these travel squads that are only 12-13-14 years olds that are only dedicated to one thing, traveling all the time, paying exorbitant amount of money to play baseball with hopes of becoming a professional baseball player.

"I think that’s crazy."