SUGARLOAF — Joe Maddon has some simple advice for anyone wanting to succeed — “Try not to suck.”
That catch phrase helped propel the Chicago Cubs to its first World Championship in 108 years in 2016, was the title slogan for a charity golf tournament held Monday at Valley Country Club in Sugarloaf to help fund Maddon’s hometown foundation, The Hazleton Integration Project.
Maddon was at the Valley County Club on Monday to host the a premier golf event — the “Try Not to Suck…in the Valley Golf Classic.” The event was expected to raise $30,000 to $40,000 for the HIP. The foundation is a community based effort that seeks to unite the people of many different cultures who call Hazleton home.
Bob Curry, founding president of HIP, said the money raised is critical for the foundation.
“But more than the financial support, this event allows our story to reach millions of people to let them know what we are doing in Hazleton and how they can do similar projects in their communities,” Curry said.
Maddon took a tee shot with every foursome in the tournament and posed for a picture. He had a few of his baseball/sports world pals along, including former Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandburg.
Maddon talked a lot about the foundation and the importance of giving back to the community. He grew up in Hazleton, where he starred in athletics.
But Maddon seized the opportunity to talk about his team. The Chicago Cubs are 33-23 on the season, two games behind Central Division leading Milwaukee. The division also has St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The Cubs have won 8 of their last 10 games and Maddon attributed that success to timely hitting with runners in scoring position and improved starting pitching.
Maddon had several items to auction off, including a painting of Uncle Sam with messages from Maddon. It’s one of several of a group that Maddon said he conceived to use art as a different way to bring his message to his players. Each painting has a central message. Maddon is hoping to present his themes and also sell copies of the paintings for his Respect 90 foundation
Maddon said he despises social media, but he does advocate the use of Skype to have Major League Baseball players talk to students in their classrooms. He said he has Skyped with five classrooms, and the idea has been well-received.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.