A Diehard Cubs’ Fan Speculates As Cubs’ Managerial Search Intensifies!

Who will it be? Rumors are flying and speculation is mounting as the Cubs continue the search for the next Cubs’ manager.  Who has the inside track?  Several names have surfaced and everyone has an opinion as to what the Cubs should do.  A Diehard Cubs’ Fan reveals his thoughts of who will emerge as the best candidate for the job.

The Cubs’ General Manager, Jim Hendry and Cubs’ Owner and Chairman, Tom Ricketts have interviewed several candidates for the managerial position but with a couple of weeks left before the November Organizational Meetings, a decision is still hanging in the balance.  More than likely, the Cubs are done interviewing candidates, that is, except for one, Joe Girardi. 

Joe Girardi is still under contract with the New York Yankees and the Yankees are still alive in the post-season, fighting for another chance at a World Series championship.  Until the Yankees have been eliminated or win it all, Joe Girardi is off limits.  The Cubs have insisted that there is no timetable set for naming the next manager.  It is likely that the Cubs are waiting to hear from Girardi before making a final decision.  Depending how the Yankees fair in the post-season will, more than likely, decide if Girardi will stay with the Yankees or move on and pursue what he once called his dream job, of managing the Chicago Cubs.

So far, the Cubs have interviewed Freddi Gonzalez, who elected to take over the Atlanta Braves following the retirement of Bobby Cox.  So he is out.  The Cubs have also interviewed former Arizona Diamondback and Seatlle Mariner skipper, Bob Melvin and former Cleveland Indian Manager, Eric Wedge.  Tom Ricketts has stated that he is looking for a candidate that understands the culture of the Cubs’ history and fans.  Neither of these two candidates have played for the Cubs or have been in the Cubs’ organization.  Both have mediocre managerial records, both below .500 winning per centages.  That doesn’t bode well with Cubs’ fans so it is unlikely that they will be hired.

Most fans will agree that the short list has been whittled down to three candidates, all of which have ties within the organization.  Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi both played for the Cubs back in the eighties, both were well respected and loved by the fans which is why they are at the top of the list.

Mike Quade has been interviewed and has made a strong case for himself as he turned the Cubs around in the final month and a half of this past season following Lou Piniella’s sudden retirement in August.  Quade went 24-13 and has garnered support from the Cub players who have said that they liked Mike and enjoyed playing under him.
thumbnailCACT6MC2.jpg  Quade has turned some heads and has garnered much support in his pursuit to be the next manager.  Unfortunately for Quade, 37 games was not nearly enough to truly evaluate him and his potential as the Cubs’  manager.  Q stands for question marks.  No one really knows how he will stand up to the presseure of a whole season.

Ryne Sandberg is a former Cub and a Hall of Fame member.  He is a fan favorite at Wrigley.  Ryno has had incredible success managing in the minor leagues.  Sandberg won the Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year this past season with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate, Iowa.  Ryno emphasized the fundamentals and has enjoyed success with the younger players in development.  Many believe that the Cubs have planned on Ryno to someday take charge.  The drawbacks to Sandberg are that he hasn’t managed in the Major League, nor has he gotten his feet wet as a coach at this level.  In addition, he hasn’t had the scrutiny and pressure of dealing with the media and fans.

Why hasn’t a decision been forthcoming?  The Cubs are waiting to talk with Joe Girardi. 

Joe Girardi, a former catcher with the Cubs has been quoted as saying, managing the Cubs is his dream job.  Girardi interviewed with the Cubs in the past, but at the time, did not have the MLB experience that was desired.  Since then, Girardi managed a youthful Florida Marlin team and has led a veteran New York Yankee team to a World Series championship.  Joe knows baseball.  Joe knows the Cubs.  Joe knows Chicago, he grew up in Peoria, Illinois.  Joe knows how to manage a MLB team.  Joes knows how to win.  Joe knows how to get to and win a World Series.  Joe knows what Cub fans want and expect.  Joe knows how to handle the scrutiny and pressure of the media. 

Why are the Cubs waiting to talk to Girardi?  Because he is simply the best qualified manager for the job and the Cubs know it.  He is worth the wait!

In my opinion, the Cubs will hire Joe Girardi, if he becomes available, which will depend on how the Yankees do in the playoffs.  If he is not available, then the obvious direction that the Cubs should take, will be to hire Ryne Sandberg and Mike Quade, one as the Manager and one as the Bench Coach. 

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