Well, hasn’t this been an interesting day? A few hours ago I wrote a nice little blog pumping up the candidacy of Ryne Sandberg to be the new manager of the Chicago Cubs if and when Mike Quade was fired from the job. Interestingly enough, shortly after I posted that blog, Quade was in fact fired as manager of the Cubs. Perfect timing for my blog on Sandberg taking over right? Guess again.
Mere minutes after the announcement of Quade’s firing, more news broke on the managerial front for the Cubs. In a press release by Cubs President Theo Epstein, Sandberg was immediately knocked out of contention for the managerial job, breaking the hearts of many fans.
In his statement, Epstein made things clear what he was looking for in his new manager. “The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.” That last line was included for a very straight purpose. Sandberg fits each and every one of those qualifications; except the very last one. He made things perfectly clear that Sandberg was not in consideration to completely avoid the days or weeks of fans clamoring for him to get the job.
At least Epstein did things right and contacted Sandberg directly to inform him that he would not be in consideration for the job. Saves time for both Sandberg and the Epstein trio for making a mockery of the interview process by issuing gratuitous interview just because of who he was.
Barry Rozner contacted Sandberg after all this broke and he only had glowing things to say about Epstein giving him that courtesy. Sandberg stated that Epstein went above and beyond in letting Sandberg know about his standing, saying that it was not owed at all and that he made a classy move. Sandberg then passed a message to Cubs fans saying that they should have trust in Epstein because their team is in great hands with him and they were heading in the right direction. The situation was handled very classy by both sides, though Sandberg’s might have been more because he knew he had a chance elsewhere.
Where that leaves the Cubs though is anyone’s guess. You can be sure that Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer already have a short list of managerial candidates which includes Milwaukee Brewers third base coach Dale Sveum. The list may also include Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux whose name has also been floated around, not to mention Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez.
In what has got to be disappointing news for most Cub fans who were hoping with baited breath that Sandberg would get the nod, another potential blow to them came minutes later. The St. Louis Cardinals asked for and received permission from the Philadelphia Phillies to speak to Sandberg about their managerial opening.
Epstein did not put a timetable on when a new manager would be hired, but he has said that the search for a new manager will start immediately; but the odds on favorite to win, turned out to be a first round knockout.