CHICAGO — In his first public comments as Angels manager, Joe Maddon reflected Wednesday on his signature moment during his five seasons with the Cubs -- winning the 2016 World Series to end a drought that lasted more than a century.
"When that ball landed in (Anthony) Rizzo's glove from K.B. (Kris Bryant), my first thought was 108 (years)," Maddon told host Roger Lodge during an interview on the Angels' flagship station, KLAA-AM 830. "I thought 108 because that was only my second year there, and all these people had to go through this baseball suffering for so long, and to be part of the moment that alleviated all that was special."
Maddon understands the topic will be discussed more in the future, but he steered the conversation "back into the present tense. That's been done and it was wonderful.
"Now it's time to do something wonderful again back in Anaheim," Maddon told Lodge, former host of the TV show "Blind Date."
After agreeing to a three-year, $12 million contract, Maddon discussed his comfort with Angels owner Arte Moreno, President John Carpino and general manager Billy Eppler and the organization he started with as a minor-league player in 1976 with the Quad Cities Angels. He coached and managed in the minor leagues from 1979-93, then served as a major-league coach with the Angels from 1994-2005, helping them win the 2002 World Series, before the Rays hired him as their manager in 2006.
"Everyone wants to know strategies, hit-and-run, bullpen management, lineups, all that stuff," Maddon said. "But it starts with relationships, and we already had that built."
Maddon referred indirectly to Mike Trout as the "best player in baseball," described Shohei Ohtani as "special," and said he is familiar with former Cubs infielder Tommy La Stella and Justin Upton, whose brother, B.J., played for Maddon with the Rays.
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But, "it started with Arte," Maddon said. "Arte has never been worried about spending money."
Maddon acknowledged the Angels will need pitching and looked forward to resurrecting his roots as a minor-league manager and instructor.
"There definitely was an Angel method I grew up with," said Maddon, who mentioned former manager Gene Mauch and longtime pitching guru Marcel Lachemann. "Bob Clear was my mentor. I'd like to incorporate those tried and true (methods)."
Maddon also looked forward to connecting with many Angels alumni, such as Tim Salmon, Jack Howell and Kirk McCaskill, of whom he spoke fondly during his media sessions with Cubs beat writers.
"There was a great foundation built at the time," Maddon said of the system that helped players blossom to the majors. "And we captured a lot of that in the 2002 World Series."