Tag Archives: Chicago Cubs

Quick Review: Teammate

I recently finished David Ross’s book Teammate. This is another of my 2016 Cubs World Series nostalgia right of passage books.  This is how I coped with the Cubs exit from the playoffs this year in less than spectacular fashion.

I wasn’t a huge David Ross celebrity guy. I never really got why he was on Dancing with the Stars or received some of the other publicity that he got, but I did appreciate his role on the Cubs as a model teammate and leader. And that’s why I liked this book.  It’s a good baseball book full of anecdotes about players from today’s game and in year’s past.  There are good reflections on what makes a good leader and teammate from a practical standpoint, but mostly I just liked the stories.

The book alternates between Ross’s own journey as a person and ballplayer with many of the lesson’s learned from other players and coaches with a narrative of the World Series games, culminating with the Epic Game 7. There’s great humor and insight about the best year of baseball for my favorite team and great peer insights about the other guys on the team. I loved hearing perspectives on different Cubs players from a teammate as opposed to reporters.

So this was a fun book, perhaps a guilty pleasure. I will read it again not because it’s the best book of all time but because it covers a special season of my sports fandom and life in a unique and instructive way.  I liked the teammate angle – where it’s more about being a good teammate, lead by example person, than it is about presenting x number of steps for leadership.

It was good for the soul too to remember how awesome things were a year ago and how thankful I am to have a  Cubs team that is consistently good after years of garbage.

 

Quick Review: The Cubs Way

So as the 2017 MLB playoffs are just underway, what better way for a brief review on one of my favorite reading experiences of 2017 – The Cubs Way by Tom Verducci.

This book was like a drug for me. Re-living the 2016 Cubs championship season and World Series run was plain awesome. Doing that while getting a healthy dose of organizational change philosophy and culture shaping nuggets add up to a combination that was like a drug.  I loved this book – but I’m a Cub fan so I’m biased. But seriously – this was like a book version of one of those “snuggie” blankets from TV back in the day.

I would have liked more coverage of the NLDS series against the Giants and of the NLCS against the Dodgers, but the coverage of the World Series, as well as the accounts and storytelling of how the culture was shaped by new leadership and how each significant piece of the team was acquired, were excellent.  I loved the chapters on Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, and Kyle Hendricks among others. So much good stuff!

There are tremendous accounts of how the organizational leadership worked to change the culture – one of the most significant components involved a detailed manual about what the Cubs were going to be about called “The Cubs Way” and the implementation of personal development plans and face to face development conversations about those plans before the season.  Loved so much also the commitment of the organization to recruit and identify talent that has the character to take responsibility for weaknesses and areas of growth.  The other component from a leadership standpoint relates to Joe Maddon’s approach to leading the team as the manager. A lot of good stuff and nuggets.

This may become an annual read for me as I continue to live in the glow of the Cubs winning the World Series. I don’t know what 2017 or beyond holds – but 2016 was a dream and I cannot get enough of it.