Joe Madden expressed his displeasure with travel ball during his first spring training as Cubs manager in 2015.
And Maddon wasn’t shy Tuesday about expressing his thoughts on children directed toward concentrating on one sport.
“Specialization, especially at an early age, is obnoxious to me,” Maddon said.
As a youngster in Hazleton, Penn., Maddon played three sports in high school but gave up on basketball because of shin splints during his junior season. Maddon was talented enough to play football and baseball at Lafayette College before concentrating solely on baseball.
“I’m anti-specialization,” Maddon sad. “I prefer the liberal arts of everything. I think kids should play every sport.”
Maddon said he gave up football because he liked baseball more. With much scrutiny surrounding the careers of football players curtailed by concussions, Maddon added that a college athlete can do directly to professional football or basketball once their eligibility is completed, while a baseball career often requires an extended period of time “to try to improve your game.”
“I honestly think it comes down to what you dig,” Maddon said.
Maddon likes kids who play multiple sports “so they can be exposed to different coaches, different methods of training and techniques, just different groups of guys and having to interact.”