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Levine: Cubs' Joe Maddon Includes All 25 To Win

By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (CBS) -- If you're Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler and are playing on a part-time basis, do you call your agent? Do you complain to the media? Or worse yet, do you sulk?

In the land of Cubdom run by manager Joe Maddon, the answer is none of the above. With Maddon in charge, you learn to be ready every game and every inning for your chance to go in and impact a ballgame. With Maddon, you get the ultimate one-minute manager.

The one-minute manager is a business principal founded by corporate America in the 1980s to keep all levels of a company -- from janitor to president -- involved and feeling important on a daily basis. In baseball, nobody did it better than Tony LaRussa, Whitey Herzog and Jim Leyland. All three managers spent time giving the 24th and 25th men on the roster positive reinforcement on a daily basis.

"I was a minor league player for my career," Leyland said. "I knew what it was like to be ignored or feel like I was not that important. That was something I remembered when I began managing. All your people matter, and all of them are important."

Want numbers to support this concept? In the Cubs' first 27 ballgames, Maddon has used 10 position players in at least half of those contests.

Maddon has run with this philosophy and taken it to another level. With Soler as an example, he told the evolving outfielder he will start in left field Saturday and be ready for plenty of activity off of the bench the other games moving forward.

"I am a big believer in ownership when it comes to this stuff," Maddon said. "When you restrict a player's ability to be part owners and they have not played or been involved, they don't feel the same. That cuts the fabric for me. In the National League as a manager, you have an opportunity to get people in more often."

Cubs bench coach Davey Martinez is in charge of keeping the bench guys in the game and updated when to be ready to go in.

"He does a great job of that," Maddon said of his chief lieutenant. "Just from the time we have been together, he knows what I might do in any circumstance. You can watch during the game he will be up and down the bench talking to guys. He has to get pitchers ready to pinch hit from time to time. (On Thursday), we had to get Javy (Baez) ready when (Dexter) Fowler got kicked out."

Part of the equation for Maddon -- who like Leyland was a career minor league catcher -- is to have these fun events that include the whole club. The crazy outfits worn on the Pittsburgh trip were an example.

"Joe has always been like that from day one," said Martinez, who was his bench coach in Tampa as well. "He has always looked at fun ways to get people thinking the team concept, and of course he does that himself the way he uses his entire roster."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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