"I really try not to get too smart, because I'm not," Maddon said. "When it comes to pregame speeches and all that, I would save that for football, basketball and maybe even hockey. Baseball players play this game almost every night of the year. They've been through a lot of situations. The worst thing you can do is complicate things right now. I really believe that. The best thing you can do is simplify."
Maddon said he learned his lesson during the late 1990s while a member of the Angels' coaching staff. The Angels were in contention late in the season in both '97 and '98 but faltered down the stretch, as they got away from what made them successful.
"We were kind of like knocking on the door a couple times and we sent out some extra advance scouts and had all sorts of stuff coming in," Maddon said. "It was actually the worst thing we could've done. You talk about trying to give more intel or information, but they didn't need that."
Maddon said the key is giving his players just enough information to succeed, as there's no reason to overload them in such a crucial point of the season.
"They need a nugget," Maddon said. "There's nuggets out there. You need to disburse the nuggets that might help in a tight moment in the seventh inning versus a certain hitter. Offensively speaking, the same thing, if there's one tendency, but in our game, all of this stuff we do is with our pitcher and defense, primarily. The hitter really doesn't benefit. The hitter is just reacting. The other guys are the proactive part of the game."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.