Maddon also participated, which is why he colored his white hair brown before going back to his natural look prior to Friday’s first pitch.This sort of goofiness has long been part of Maddon’s approach, one that isn’t just outside the box and also incapable of ever being boxed.The fact his teams win so much — and last year did so at a level that left entire Chicago neighborhoods red-eyed for days — means his methods are more than just accepted. They’re celebrated.And why not? The baseball season is long and routine enough already, the games themselves now played beneath an outfield clock employed strictly to keep things moving.Besides, a short time before Maddon was making jokes about his wacky appearance, Roberts was in the Dodgers dugout going into great detail about the condition of Rob Segedin’s injured toe.Frankly, I don’t even care that much about Segedin’s nine other healthy toes, particularly when the champion Cubs are in town to face a Dodgers team that entered Friday a season-high eight games above .500.“I think that we’re kind of hitting our stride,” Roberts said “Going into this series, I really like our chances with the guys we’ve got going. … It’s going to be a fun series.”These teams met in early April, the Cubs winning two of three at Wrigley Field and conveniently forcing the Dodgers to squirm through a series of tributes commemorating the 2016 World Series title.Envisioning another postseason matchup between the two isn’t difficult, not even a little bit, and, following this weekend, is the only way they’ll face each other again this season.When spring training began, the Cubs were the top pick among oddsmakers to win the National League and the Dodgers were second. Nothing has happened yet to drastically alter those projections.Sure, the Nationals appear to be cruising in the NL East. But, at this point, I don’t believe in the Rockies or Diamondbacks any more than I believe in goats being capable of unleashing curses.The Cubs are trying to become the first team to claim consecutive World Series championships since the Yankees won three straight in 1998-2000.As daunting as that might sound, consider that the most recent National League team to do so was the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76. Before that, among NL franchises, it was the New York Giants in 1921-22.Scary, right? Ah, sure. These Cubs just drowned more than a century’s worth of failure in champagne. So chasing away ancient eras is sort of their thing.“Last year, I felt they were the best team, and that’s the way it played out,” Roberts said. “But, this year, I feel we’re a better team. It really doesn’t matter what my thoughts are of the two clubs. It’s about going out there and playing.”It is about going out there and playing and, so far, the Cubs haven’t been playing great. But they did enter Friday four games above .500, which, like the Dodgers, also was a season-best.So maybe these teams really are beginning their respective climbs, heading again toward the same peak, one with enough room for only a single survivor.“Yeah, you want to play well against these guys because they’re a good ballclub,” Roberts said. “But the narrative of ‘We have to beat them because they eliminated us last year,’ I think we’re all past that.”He’s right. It is a new season, even if the most recent visitors are old foes, foes that looked awfully familiar rolling into town, despite the fresh coat of [email protected] LOS ANGELES — He manages one of the most popular sports franchises on the planet, the team that is the reigning World Series champion, that last fall ended 108 years of historic frustration.So, naturally, Joe Maddon opened his pregame media session Friday by answering multiple questions about … dying his hair?Yes, and with a substance that, based on the photos, appeared to be similar to shoe polish.“Maaco,” Maddon corrected, a reference to the auto body repair specialists and the fact his hair was less dyed and more lacquered. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error And so marked the Chicago Cubs’ return to Dodger Stadium, where their previous visit came during a triumphant — at least for them — National League Championship Series.“We’ve been looking forward to this,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed before the game, “and getting these guys at our place.”Believe it, this is a big weekend series, arriving on a classic American holiday, no less, a riveting rematch of last season’s playoffs and a possible preview of this season’s.But it isn’t big enough to have prevented Maddon from ordering his players to travel from Chicago to Los Angeles on Thursday dressed like characters from the movie “Anchorman.”There the Cubs were, starting this vital business trip, outfitted in crazy sport coats, ridiculous pants and fuzzy wigs that suggested they might be tripping on something other than baseball.