Tagged: Bobby Cox

Why Diehard Cubs’ Fans Are Angry!

Mike Quade is now the new Cubs’ Manager, but that’s not why diehard Cub fans are angry.  While Q may be deserving, many fans are bitterly disappointed and some are downright outraged by the lack of loyalty and disdain demonstrated by the Cubs toward Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi.

After replacing Lou Piniella in August, Mike Quade made a case for himself to be the next Cubs’ Manager as the Cubs finished the season strong.  The Cubs went 24-13 under Quade, who made an immediate impression as he proved that he can manage.  A new attitude was adopted by the Cub players and Quade influenced the team to get better, and they did.  Rather than playing out the season, the Cubs stormed back and compiled the best record in the National League, next to the Philadelphia Phillies, during the last 37 games of the season.  The Cubs’ Pitching Staff was vastly improved, Carlos Zambrano was unstoppable, and the bullpen was lights out.  The new look Cubs looked like a different team under Mike Quade, who deserves alot of credit for the turnaround.  Q made a statement, and seemingly out of nowhere, emerged as the leading candidate for the Cubs’ managerial position.

But that’s not why Cub fans are angry.

As the interview process dragged on, many diehard Cub fans waited eagerly as the drama began to unfold.  The Cubs interviewed Freddi Gonzalez, who withdrew his name as the Atlanta Braves announced that he would replace the legendary Bobby Cox following his retirement after the Braves lost to the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. 

Eric Wedge was interviewed but ended up getting a job with the Seattle Mariners.  Bob Melvin was also on the list, but many felt that he was not a good fit for the Cubs.  Finally, Bob Brenly, the Cubs commentator, withdrew his name from consideration because he felt that he was not a good fit.  Brenly was supported by many of the fans, but it appears that he will look elsewhere.  No one really knows why.

Ryne Sandberg was a leading candidate as well.  After managing 4 years in the Cubs’ farm system, many believed that he was being groomed to take over as the next Cub Manager.  The former Cub second baseman and Hall Of Famer, managed the Cubs’ Triple A affiliate, Iowa team to a first place tie this past season.  Sandberg won the Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year Award and proved that he was a legitimate candidate to manage at the big league level.  Upon hearing the news that Quade was named Manager, Ryno expressed his disappointment and decided that he will explore other opportunities.  He has said, that it is his dream to manage in the Major leagues, if not in Chicago, then somewhere. 

Finally, many diehard Cub fans expected Jim Hendry, the Cubs’ GM, and Tom Ricketts, the Cubs’ Owner and Chairman, to wait till after the post-season to talk to New York Yankees’ Manager, Joe Girardi.  The Cubs have stated that they wanted to have a manager in place by the November Organizational Meetings in November, but there was no hurry to rush the interview process.  That led many to speculate that the Cubs were waiting to interview one last managerial candidate, particularly former Cubs’ Catcher, Joe Girardi, whose New York Yankees were still alive in their quest for another World Series championship.  Apparently, Joe Girardi, who many believed to be the most experienced, successful, qualified candidate for the job, was never even considered.  Upon hearing the news at a Yankee press conference, Girardi appeared shocked by the news but quickly congratulated Mike Quade on the decision.

So why are diehard Cub fans bitterly disappointed and angry?

thumbnailCAJV0B2C.jpgNo one can argue that Mike Quade earned his right to manage.  The reason that the diehard Cub fans are outraged is the complete lack of loyalty and disdain that Jim Hendry and Tom Ricketts have displayed toward two of the diehard Cub fan favorites, Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi.  First of all, the fans expected Jim Hendry to wait for Joe Girardi.  While Girardi’s contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the season, there was some question as to whether or not he will return to New York for another season.  Many believed that he might have interest in coming home to Chicago.  He has said in the past, that managing the Cubs was his dream job.  He interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial position before, but failed to land the job because of his inexperience managing.  Since then, he managed a young Florida Marlin team and has led the New York Yankees to a World Series championship.  This time around, Joe Girardi was completeley snubbed by the Cubs.  He wasn’t even granted an interview.  Sad.  The other sad part of the managerial search was the treatment of Ryne Sandberg.  Many believed that if Mike Quade did get the job, then Ryno would be promoted to Bench Coach.  Instead, Sandberg was snubbed once again.  He was never offered the position.  Now Ryno has to deal with the disappointing news and will most likely leave the Cubs’ Organization to manage another team somewhere else.  Two former Cubs, unwelcomed in their own backyard.  This is why Cubs’ Fans are furious.

Tom Ricketts trusted Jim Hendry to make the final decision.  Jim Hendry demonstrated a complete and utter lack of loyalty in the managerial search.  He has shown disdain toward former Cubs, who have become fan favorites over the years.  While it was a great day for Mike Quade, who finally gets the opportunity to manage in the big leagues, it remains a sad day in Wrigleyville.  Tom Ricketts has stated publicly, that the Cubs should listen to the diehard Cub fans more.  Unfortunately, no one is listening and the diehard Cub fans are extremely angry and disappointed by the PR disaster that Jim Hendry has created.  Many fans have expressed their anger by deciding to no longer support the team.  Many will stay away from Wrigley.  Many have cried for Jim Hendry’s resignation or termination.  Many diehard Cubs’ fans have simply given up.  I have been a diehard Cubs’ fan for the past 32 years and my hopes and dreams of seeing the Cubs win a World Series has been crushed, not because Mike Quade was named Manager, but because two of my all-time favorite Cubs, Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi were treated with a lack of respect and a lack of loyalty.  Somebody please tell me why I should remain loyal to the Cubs when there is no loyalty in the Cubs’ Organization.  I will have to search my heart before I will watch the Cubs again.  My faith and trust in this organization has been shattered.  It breaks my heart.  Thank you, Tom Ricketts and Jim Hendry, your lack of loyalty has just cost you thousands and thousands of loyal Cub fans everywhere.  What were you thinking?

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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. 

The Braves In The Land Of Giants, Pandas, Poseys, And Freaks!

It’s October and there’s a full moon as Atlanta will brave the journey to the land of Giants on this night.  The Braves had better beware because there are dangers lurking just around the corner.

In his final season, future Hall of Fame Manager, Bobby Cox, and the Atlanta Braves squeaked into the post-season winning the Wildcard, but are the Braves prepared to face the most dominant pitching staff of the National League?

San Francisco won the NL West with tremendous pitching.  In the month of September, the Giants’ pitching staff touted a dwarfed ERA of 1.78.  During the final month of the season, opposing batters’ hit only .182.  The Giants will open the series tonight with “The Freak”, Tim Lincecum. 
thumbnailCAJ3HBL1.jpg The 26 year old, Cy Young Pitcher, went 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA.  He will be making his post-season debut.  Lincecum led the National League this year with 231 K’s.  Despite struggling in August, He made some adjustments and finished strong in September where he went 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA.  Make no mistake, Tim Lincecum is ready for the Braves.

Atlanta will have Derek Lowe on the mound.  Lowe has won 5 consecutive starts and has gone 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 8 career games at AT&T Park.  It should be a good pitching match up.  While the Braves’ lineup try to figure out “The Freak”, Derek Lowe will try not to freak out when he faces the Giants’ hitters, like “Kung Fu Panda”, Pablo Sandoval, and Aubrey Huff.  The Giants have staked the claim for Rookie Of The Year honors with the emergence of Buster Posey.  The Giants’ catcher ranked 1st amongst National League rookies with a .305 batting average, 2nd in slugging per centage (.505), 3rd in on-base per centage (.357), 4th in RBI’S with 67, 5th in multi-hit games (38).  Posey finished the year with 18 HR’s in 108 games played.  He is the leading candidate for NL Rookie Of the Year as he helped the Giants overcome a 7 1/2 game deficit in mid-season.

The Giants are 63-19 when scoring first this season and 69-12 when they score 4 or more runs in a game.  In addition, San Fran is 61-4 when leading after the 5th inning, attributable to a fantastic bullpen.  As a team, the Giants have 37 come from behind wins.

Atlanta lost Chipper Jones earlier in the year, but added players like first baseman, Derek Lee and Rick Ankiel.  The Braves have had a road record of 35-46 in 2010 and have struggled as of late.  However, in Bobby Cox’s final season, the Braves will be trying to send their skipper out on top.  It should be a good series.  The Braves will need to find an answer to the Giants’ pitching staff if they are going to have a chance.  We’ll see how it goes.  Rock on!

Which Race Is Wilder, The Wildcard Or The Wild, Wild West?

It’s coming down to the wire.  Three teams battling for two playoff spots, only two will survive, but after it is all said and done, who will still be standing when the smoke all clears? 

Heading into the season finale’ with San Francisco, it appeared like the San Diego Padres were finished before it started.  The Chicago Cubs stole three of four games from the Padres and the Giants had a three game lead in the NL West prior to this weekend.  The Giants needed to win only once to clinch the division.  San Diego needed a sweep of the Giants to capture the NL West.  It seemed highly unlikely that that would happen, especially since the series is in San Francisco.  The Giants boast one of the best, if not the best, pitching staffs in all of baseball.  The Padres’ pitching staff isn’t too shabby itself and San Diego came to play.

San Diego, so everyone thought, had a better shot at winning the wildcard race, however the chances of that seemed small as well.  The Atlanta Braves had a two game lead on San Diego.  The Braves played host to the Philadelphia Phillies.  I expected Charlie Manuel to rest his starters to get ready for the postseason but that would not be the case.  Instead, Charlie wants his team to stay sharp and remain in playoff mode and the Fightin’ Phils have done just that.  The Phillies have beaten Atlanta the first two games and now it is Bobby Cox and the Braves who are doing the sweating as the Padres have shocked San Francisco by winning their first two games with the Giants.  The combination of Padres’ wins and Braves’ losses has propelled San Diego into a TIE with Atlanta for the wildcard.

This is where it gets very confusing.  Sunday will bring the last day of the regular season but it may be far from over as tiebreakers could appear upon the horizon.  Let me try and get this straight.

IF… The Giants win on Sunday, then San Francisco will win the West.  Then if the Braves beat the Phillies, Atlanta will win the wildcard and San Diego is out.

IF.. The Braves lose too, then San Diego will travel to Atlanta for a showdown for the wildcard.

IF… The Padres sweep the Giants, then San Diego wins the West and San Francisco wins the wildcard IF the Braves get swept by Philadelphia.

IF the Padres AND the Braves both WIN, then there will be a three-team tie-breaker.  The Padres would force one more game against the Giants to determine the NL West and the loser would travel to Atlanta for a tie-breaker for the wildcard spot. 

A three team playoff would be the first ever in Major league history.  How wild would that be?

IF… you’re confused by all the scenarios, don’t be.  Let me simplify it.  IF whatever team wins, then that team will survive at least another day.  If a team loses, then their fate will rest on another team.  However, losing on Sunday doesn’t necessarily spell the end, but it might.

Never mind, this really does get confusing.  All we can really do, is sit back and watch on Sunday and see what happens.  Watch the drama unfold.  We can expect a dramatic finish to what has been, probably one of the wildest playoff races in baseball history!

Amid the noise and confusion, one thing is certain in this scenario.  October has arrived and with it comes the drama and excitement of playoff baseball.  It’s do or die now as these teams fight for the right to play on unto the postseason. 

Get your game face on, boys.  It’s showtime!  …And it looks like it’s going to be a wild ride!