By: Tom Verducci
Published Year: 2017
Publisher: Crown Achetype
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): With inside access and reporting, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer and FOX Sports analyst Tom Verducci reveals how Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon built, led, and inspired the Chicago Cubs team that broke the longest championship drought in sports, chronicling their epic journey to become World Series champions.
It took 108 years, but it really happened. The Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions.
How did a team composed of unknown, young players and supposedly washed-up veterans come together to break the Curse of the Billy Goat? Tom Verducci, twice named National Sportswriter of the Year and co-writer of The Yankee Years with Joe Torre, will have full access to team president Theo Epstein, manager Joe Maddon, and the players to tell the story of the Cubs' transformation from perennial underachievers to the best team in baseball.
Beginning with Epstein's first year with the team in 2011, Verducci will show how Epstein went beyond "Moneyball" thinking to turn around the franchise. Leading the organization with a manual called "The Cubs Way," he focused on the mental side of the game as much as the physical, emphasizing chemistry as well as statistics.
To accomplish his goal, Epstein needed manager Joe Maddon, an eccentric innovator, as his counterweight on the Cubs' bench. A man who encourages themed road trips and late-arrival game days to loosen up his team, Maddon mixed New Age thinking with Old School leadership to help his players find their edge.
The Cubs Way takes readers behind the scenes, chronicling how key players like Rizzo, Russell, Lester, and Arrieta were deftly brought into the organization by Epstein and coached by Maddon to outperform expectations. Together, Epstein and Maddon proved that clubhouse culture is as important as on-base-percentage, and that intangible components like personality, vibe, and positive energy are necessary for a team to perform to their fullest potential.
Verducci chronicles the playoff run that culminated in an instant classic Game Seven. He takes a broader look at the history of baseball in Chicago and the almost supernatural element to the team's repeated loses that kept fans suffering, but also served to strengthen their loyalty.
The Cubs Way is a celebration of an iconic team and its journey to a World Championship that fans and readers will cherish for years to come.
Wooooo!!!!! I was so excited when I found out that this book was coming out. I am a Cubs fan and experiencing their World Series win was one of the most exciting moments of my life so far. As soon as the game ended, I knew I wanted a book that delved into the process of how this team was developed and how all of these characters I love were acquired. When I read the summary for this book I knew it was everything that I had been hoping for and it shot to the top of my to read list.
What I thought
This book is everything a Cubs fan will want and more!!
The Cubs Way discusses histories of how each impact player was acquired to the Cubs, starting with Tom Ricketts (the owner) and Theo Epstein (the president). Intermixed with the stories of the players is a recap of each game of the World Series.
I loved how Verducci explained how each and every player that had an impact on the World Series win was acquired to the Cubs. Every one of them had their own portion of a chapter that not only discussed the process in which Epstein went through to get them on the Cubs, but also a little bit about their personal histories. I also liked getting to learn more about Ricketts, Epstein, and Maddon.
While I am (and always have been) a Cubs fan, I have always been more of a passive fan. I have attended at least 1 game a year for the past 10 years, and have always owned a Cubs t-shirt (usually with the name that I found most appealing). However, I have never actively known more than 2-3 players at a time on the team and I don’t religiously watch the games on TV. In fact, I think the last time I watched a Cubs game on TV prior to 2016 was in 2003. As a result, any Cubs knowledge that I have comes from one of my best friends and one of the biggest Cubs fans I know. Getting to learn more in depth information about the Cubs team through this book was so satisfying.
As I am not an avid baseball fanatic, I don’t know anything about baseball statistics. Unfortunately, since Verducci is a sports writer, this book is riddled with statistics. I think that he could have cut down on them a bit, just assuming that there would be a high quantity of Cubs fans who do not know statistics the same way he does. At the very least, I would’ve appreciated some explanation about the basics so that the numbers meant something to me as I read them. I will say, that while I still don’t fully understand the statistics I have learned more about baseball than I have ever known thanks to this book.
Other than that, the writing was top notch. Reading each game made me feel like I was watching them all over again. I felt the same anxiety as I did living through them the first time, but got to enjoy experiencing them in a new way with different perspectives from players, Maddon, and Epstein.