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Maddon shakes things up with American Legion week

CHICAGO -- Travis Wood and Kyle Schwarber arrived at Wrigley Field about 15 minutes before the clubhouse opened at 3 p.m. CT and had to wait. It's part of American Legion week, which is Cubs manager Joe Maddon's plan to freshen up the players and give them time to rest.

"This is a time when the players are a little bit tired, so they can come a little bit later," said Maddon, who has done this in the past, and almost always in mid-August.

When the clubhouse will be open is posted each day. No exceptions.

"Just come and play some baseball like we did -- like we all did when you used to show up after work in the summertime," Maddon said. "You'd show up for your game at 4:30, 5 o'clock, and play at 6, and you did just fine. ... You did not have to be here all day long. It's a tribute to playing baseball the old fashioned way as well as to our veterans."

The Cubs worked with Congressman Mike Quigley and connected with the Billy Caldwell American Legion Post 806, borrowing two of their flags for the clubhouse and interview room. Caldwell was an important part of Chicago history in that he helped negotiate the Treaty of Chicago in 1833 for the United Nations tribes.

Maddon is planning on playing baseball deep into October, which is another reason to keep the players fresh.

"There's certain things we do in this game that I think are overrated and I think batting practice is one of them," Maddon said. "If they need to get loose, they can go get loose in the cage a little bit. They don't need to swing on the field. Ground balls, they've taken a ton of those. They can play catch, hit, run, get loose. I much prefer a fresh mind and body right now playing these next five games at home."

Anyone who played American Legion baseball knows that kids usually got ice cream post game after a win. What about the Cubs?

"That's part of it, too, if you win," Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.
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