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Joe Maddon laughs at critics of his bullpen management

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 1/12/2017 Larry Brown
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) smiles before game three of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field. © Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) smiles before game three of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field.

Joe Maddon sure received a lot of criticism for a guy who led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908.

Maddon’s use of his bullpen and pitching staff was unconventional, but it produced undeniable results. His usage of Aroldis Chapman in particular received a lot of criticism, including some from the pitcher himself.

But speaking from his annual Thanksmas event in Chicago on Wednesday, Maddon told ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers he finds the criticism “humorous.”

“I find it humorous that people want to go there,” Maddon said Wednesday via ESPN Chicago. “After all, we won 103 games. We had to beat the Giants, the Dodgers and the Indians to win the World Series, so we got through the NLDS, NLCS and WS. And people want to focus on one moment where I totally disagree with them, and I can’t convince them of that. There’s nothing I can do about perception and interpretation. That’s up to the brain and the mind of the beholder. What I did I had planned before the game began.”

Chapman, who typically is just a 9th-inning guy, was asked to get more than 3 outs five out of six straight appearances to end the postseason, including three in a row in the World Series. He was also used outside of his comfort zone and brought in earlier than the 9th inning multiple times.

Beyond that, many questioned Maddon’s decision to pull Kyle Hendricks so early in Game 7 of the World Series — a move that almost backfired.

If you want to question pulling Hendricks so early, I can get behind that. But if you want to criticize anything else he did that was unorthodox, well maybe you need to reevaluate things. Consider that whatever the Cubs had been doing conventionally for nearly 110 years hadn’t worked, but what Maddon did delivered a ring.

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