MESA, Ariz. — Chicago Cubs star Javier Baez promised a better pregame work ethic for himself and his teammates after the club missed the playoffs last season and then switched managers. He often believed they simply weren’t ready for the first pitch last year.
“It wasn’t something bad, but we have a lot of optional things,” Baez said from Cubs camp on Sunday. “Not mandatory. Everyone kind of sat back on that, including me. I wasn’t really going out there and preparing for the game. I was getting ready during the game, which is not good.”
The narrative Baez spoke of backs up what the front office has often intimated after hiring David Ross to replace Joe Maddon. Maddon presented a less-is-more attitude, which helped the team to a World Series victory in 2016, but had been taken advantage of more recently, at least according to Baez.
“A lot of players were doing the same as me, getting loose during the game,” Baez said. “You can lose the game in the first inning. Sometimes when you’re not ready and the other team scored on something simple, I feel like it was because of that. We weren’t ready.
“I got to the field, and instead of going outside and hitting BP, I would do everything…