Joe Maddon on his connection to Mesa: 'This is where I learned my trade'

The Cubs considered moving their spring training facility to Naples, Florida, as recently as 2010 before settling on Sloan Park as their new site for their spring home.But for Joe Maddon, the development of Mesa rekindles memories for the Cubs' manager dating...

Joe Maddon on his connection to Mesa: 'This is where I learned my trade'

The Cubs considered moving their spring training facility to Naples, Florida, as recently as 2010 before settling on Sloan Park as their new site for their spring home.But for Joe Maddon, the development of Mesa rekindles memories for the Cubs' manager dating...

24 February 2017 Friday 18:04
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Joe Maddon on his connection to Mesa: 'This is where I learned my trade'

The Cubs considered moving their spring training facility to Naples, Florida, as recently as 2010 before settling on Sloan Park as their new site for their spring home.

But for Joe Maddon, the development of Mesa rekindles memories for the Cubs' manager dating back to his days as an instructor in the Angels' organization.

"I was a resident here from 1981 to maybe 2001," Maddon said Friday before attending a rally at Sloan Park hosted by the city of Mesa, where the Cubs have trained since 1979. "I think of the Cubs and HoHoKam (Park). My first Instructional League was at Fitch Park, which was part of the Cubs family.

Maddon recalled the days before highways 202 and 101 were built to alleviate traffic along McKellips and Pima roads.

"So you had to really work to get somewhere," Maddon said. "But my kids have grown up, and they love it here. They don't want to leave. I have my grandkids here now. I cut my teeth here. This is where I learned my trade beyond the Cubs."

Maddon recalled the days when the HoHoKams, a community service group, would hold a "steak fryer" style picnic, with Dutch ovens in the ground that would cook cinnamon rolls.

Maddon formed a bond with scouts and Dwight Patterson, a businessman and civic leader credited with bringing the Cubs to Mesa.

"I have a strong connection to all of this," Maddon said.

Caption Joe Maddon on the Cubs' relay and bunt drills

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Joe Maddon on the Cubs' relay and bunt drills

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses Jason Heyward's progress as well as the team's relay and bunt drills on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Pedro Strop on signing a 1-year extension with the Cubs

Relief pitcher Pedro Strop discusses his new one-year deal with the Cubs on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz.

Relief pitcher Pedro Strop discusses his new one-year deal with the Cubs on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz.

Caption Javier Baez on driving a Polaris three-wheeled sports car

Cubs infielder Javier Baez describes driving a Polaris three-wheeled sports car on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs infielder Javier Baez describes driving a Polaris three-wheeled sports car on Feb. 24, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Anthony Rizzo takes infield practice

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo practices fielding during spring training on Feb. 23, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo practices fielding during spring training on Feb. 23, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Caption Cubs, fans prepare for Friday's rally at Sloan Park

Cubs fans line up on on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, as the organization prepares for a rally at Sloan Park on Friday to celebrate the team's 2016 World Series title. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

Cubs fans line up on on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, as the organization prepares for a rally at Sloan Park on Friday to celebrate the team's 2016 World Series title. (Mark Gonzales/Chicago Tribune)

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