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?
No 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?
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.
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.
As the Cubs’ General Manager, Jim Hendry continues the search for the next Cubs’ Manager, A Diehard Cubs’ Fan explains who will advance to the “short list” of candidates and who has the inside edge of landing the job.
While the Cubs and Jim Hendry have been busy taking phone calls and interviewing potential candidates for the managerial position, in the end, there are only three who will be seriously considered. Let’s evaluate the front runners at this time. The “short list” will most likely be the following, in no particular order.
1) MIKE QUADE
2) RYNE SANDBERG
3) JOE GIRARDI
Jim Hendry has also interviewed Freddi Gonzalez, who withdrew his name for consideration. Reports have surfaced that he may take over the Atlanta Braves following the retirement of Bobby Cox.
Pat Listach decided to withdraw his name as well. He wants to stay with the Washington Nationals. Reports claim that he is also interested in the Toronto Bluejays job.
Bob Brenly was interviewed but declined to waste Jim Hendry’s time siting that he was not a good fit for the Cubs. It has been reported that he may seek, and have the inside edge to managing the Milwaukee Brewers.
Eric Wedge was interviewed, but a mediocre managing record will probably exclude him from making the “short list”. Another factor involved would be the fact that he doesn’t have any ties to the Cubs’ Organization. Bob Melvin falls into the same category and therefore will not make it to the next step in the process.
Jim Hendry and Cubs’ Owner and Chairman, Tom Ricketts have planted clues as to who they want to hire which leads me to believe that the “Short List” has already been written in stone, even though they would deny it. What clues? Let me explain.
Tom Ricketts was quoted to say that he wants a Manager that will be the Cubs’ Manager for life. He wants somebody who will remain loyal to the Organization and will be committed to winning a World Series Championship. Ricketts has repeatedly hinted that the Cubs are in the midst of rebuilding and has committed to growing the farm system and developing players from within the Organization. Tom Ricketts is a Diehard Cubs’ Fan himself and has expressed the desire to listen to the Diehard Cubs’ Fans and finding ways to win. He wants a Manager that has either played for the Cubs or has been with the Cubs’ Organization, which will be the starting point to narrowing the field down to three candidates. Preferably, the Cubs are searching for someone who has experienced the 102 year curse of the Cubs, someone that understands the importance of bringing a World Series Title to Wrigleyville, someone who feels the Diehard Cubs’ Fans pain and suffering. Cubs’ Fans are mostly united in wanting a skipper that has formerly played in Chicago, someone who will have their loyalty and support.
Jim Hendry has stated that he prefers that the managerial candidate have previous Major League managing experience.
Let’s look at the top three candidates and decide where they fit in the grand scheme of things.
1) Mike Quade came out of nowhere to make the short list. Following Lou Piniella’s sudden retirement in August, Quade took over the Cubs after all was lost for the season. The Cubs had nothing to play for but Mike Quade somehow managed to turn a disappointing season into a top-notched team. The Cubs were 24-13 under Q and finished very strong. The Cubs were winning series’ and won something like 14 out of the last 17 road games. The Pitching Staff was reborn and the Cubs were starting to play up to their potential. Cubs baseball was exciting again, while it lasted. No one can argue with the job Quade has done to turn the Cubs around. Jim Hendry and Tom Ricketts have said that they were very pleased at the outstanding job Quade has done. Mike Quade has managed for many years at the Triple A level. He has roots in the Cubs’ Organization and that will benefit him when the decision is finally made. The only drawback to Mike Quade is the fact that he only managed 37 games and has not been tested for a full year.
2) Ryne Sandberg has been, and will continue to be a top candidate. The plan has been, for many years, to let Ryno manage at the minor league level, gain experience, then someday, take over the Cubs as Manager. He earned Pacific Coast League Manager Of The Year honors this past season at Triple A, Iowa, and has proven that he too can manage. Sandberg is a fan favorite. His Hall Of Fame status speaks for itself. He was everything a Cub should be, and more. Ryno exemplified what a team player should be and defined what is expected as a player. As a Manager, he teaches the fundamentals of winning. The only drawback for Sandberg is the fact that he doesn’t have any Major League experience managing which is why Joe Girardi failed to land the job in the past.
3) Joe Girardi may have the best qualifications of all. The Cubs have repeatedly stated that there is no need to rush the interview process. They hope to have someone in place by the November Organizational Meetings. What are they waiting for? Jim Hendry has vowed not to let any stone go unturned, which means that he plans to be thorough and cover all the possibilities. The Cubs are waiting until the end of the baseball season. Joe Girardi is in the middle of a playoff race as the New York Yankees strive to win another World Series Title. Girardi is currently under contract and therefore, the Cubs cannot legally contact him until after the season has ended. With Joe Girardi comes many questions. Does Joe want to continue to manage the New York Yankees? If so, do the Yankees want him to return? It will largely depend on what happens in the post-season. If the Yankees win the World Series, then New York will probably pay him well to stay. If the Bronx Bombers fail to win it all, then New York will probably demand that Girardi be gone. That’s how it works in New York, you know. The other question that remains to be answered is whether or not Girardi wants to manage the Cubs. He has stated in the past that he would like to, but what about now? Is he willing to leave the bright lights of New York for the Windy City? We will have to wait and find out.
Joe Girardi is a former Cubs’ catcher. His ties with the Cubs run deep, like Sandberg. The biggest, and most glaring difference between Sandberg and Girardi is that Joe Girardi not only has Major League experience, but has won a World Series Championship. Joe knows how to handle the pressures of having to win. Joe knows how to handle the media. Joe knows how to handle young players and veterans alike. Joe Girardi, most likely, will have the edge in the managerial search if he makes himself available. If he does, then look for Joe Girardi to be the next Cubs’ Manager based on his past in the Cubs’ Organization, experience, and success as a Major League Manager.
If Girardi passes on the Cubs, then look for some kind of combination of Mike Quade and Ryne Sandberg to lead the Cubs next year. Either the Cubs will award the managerial position to Mike Quade for a year while Ryno gets his feet wet at the major league level as the Bench Coach, or Ryno could be hired as Manager and still keep Mike Quade around as the third base coach or as Bench Coach where he can be available to Sandberg for advice. With so many managerial positions available this offseason, Quade could defect and go elsewhere, perhaps wherever Bob Brenly decides to manage, but he is loyal to the Cubs and whether he wins the Manager position or not, I believe he will stay on with the Cubs.
As the drama unfolds, watch the New York Yankees carefully as they make a run for another World Series Title. How the Yankees finish will play a big role in Joe Girardi’s decision to return to Chicago or stay in New York. The Cubs, of course, would be a far more challenging undertaking. If Girardi entertains managing the Cubs then he will emerge the frontrunner and the Cubs will risk losing Sandberg and Quade. Otherwise, it will be a toss up between Quade and Sandberg. In that case, look for Mike Quade to be awarded the Manager position under a one-year contract while Ryne Sandberg gets his feet wet as Bench Coach. Then, in 2012, look for Ryno to step up and take charge.
There it is, the Unofficial Diehard Cubs’ Short list! Of course, this is pure speculation on my part, and only time will tell. Stay tuned and see what happens! It should prove to be an interesting process as the Cubs move forward to a new era.