Cubs fire Maddon

From the moment Joe Maddon joined the Chicago Cubs, taking the reins in a Wrigleyville bar five years ago, he talked about winning.

He was the right manager at the right time for a franchise that had experienced mostly terrible timing for more than a century. Right until his time in Chicago ran out.

The Cubs will have a new manager next season after Maddon and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein announced Sunday it was time for a change after three years of declining results since the franchise's historic World Series championship in 2016.

The situation was finalized when Maddon and Epstein met in Epstein's hotel room after Saturday's 8-6 victory at St. Louis, sharing some wine and reminiscing about their wildly successful partnership.

Maddon's contract expired after Sunday's season-ending 9-0 loss to the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pirates fire Hurdle

PITTSBURGH — Clint Hurdle's booming voice and unrelenting optimism helped shake the Pittsburgh Pirates out of two decades of misery. His charisma gave the moribund franchise an identity, one that reconnected the club with a fan base worn down by a generation of losing.

Yet over the years, as the core that led the team to three straight playoff berths from 2013-15 vanished with trades, retirement and the pursuit of financial riches elsewhere, that optimism started to fly in the face of reality. Pittsburgh fell off the pace after winning 98 games in 2015, and as players shuffled in and out, the giddiness of those three intoxicating years of contention faded.

When Hurdle arrived for work Sunday for Pittsburgh's regular season finale against Cincinnati, the Pirates were assured of their worst record since 2011, his first year on the job. By the time Trevor Williams threw the first pitch to José Peraza, Hurdle already was headed home, his nine seasons in Pittsburgh over following a stunning second-half collapse marred by embarrassing off-the-field issues that indicated a clubhouse in disarray.

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