I was angered. I was perturbed. I was leveled. I felt empty. I felt alone. I was bitter.
Those are just some of the emotions that swept over me when I heard the news of Tuesday morning. Mike Quade, NOT Ryne Sandberg, was named the new manager of the Chicago Cubs. Seriously?!?!?! Mike Quade, the career minor leaguer got the job? Not the Hall-of-Fame Cubs legend that has a flag flying high above Wrigley?
Whoa? How was this possible?
Then I took a step back and realized I should not be surprised. This is the Cubs. I should know by now that nothing should surprise me. Over the following 48 hours a weird thing happened. Something I never thought would happen did indeed happen.
I warmed up to the idea. In fact, I kind of like the idea now.
Don’t get me wrong; I wanted Sandberg to be the manager. A part of me still wants that. However, I think I like Quade. I think he has as good of a chance as any to guide this team.
For all of you reading this right now and cursing or laughing or calling me a joke, I want to ask you a question.
What guarantees do we have that Sandberg would be a better manager? Why is it a fact he would be better?
There is NO guarantee. It is not a fact.
Success is promised to no one in this world, especially in baseball. Even the team that spends $200 million a year is struggling.
Mike Quade has managed in 1,672 more minor-league games than Ryno, and he has four more years of experience in a major-league dugout as a coach.
Quade had a 50.8 winning percentage as a minor-league coach. Sandberg owns a 50.5 winning percentage.
With all that said, why is Ryne Sandberg a better option? Being a Hall-of-Fame player doesn’t matter when it comes to managing. Just look at the stats. It just doesn’t hold water as an argument.
Two opposing views must be mentioned. First, if Sandberg was promised the job after his stint in the minors, he was shafted. However, I doubt there was ever a promise made.
For those who say that Sandberg didn’t get the job because Hendry hates him, well, as Bruce Levine mentioned on Wednesday, Quade interviewed and didn’t get the job in 2006. So who knows?
Secondly, and my biggest issue with the process, lies in the time it took to choose a manager without interviewing Joe Girardi.
Everyone assumed, and incorrectly so, that the Cubs were waiting so they could interview Girardi after his season ended. If it took Hendry this long to find out Girardi wasn’t interested, he is even more inept than most of his doubters believe. However, this issue does not matter anymore. Girardi will not be the manager of the Cubs next year.
This is a dream job for Mike Quade. The man still took the “L” to Wrigley while he was the manager of the Cubs. This has nothing to do with his skills, but I found it to be a cool fact that speaks volumes about his outlook and his personality.
The Cubs have now had two of the biggest names in baseball as managers in the past eight years. Neither man was able to bring a World Series Champion to Chicago’s North Side. So, why does logic say that another big name is the best choice? Two big names failed in back-to-back opportunities.
After a disappointing 2005 season, Lou Piniella left his hometown Tampa Bay Rays to join a broadcast booth. He had returned home to turn around the franchise and was unable.
After he left, the Rays chose a new manager. The person had two brief stints as Angels interim manager years prior, six years of minor league management experience and a few years as a major-league bench coach. These descriptions sound very familiar to the ones possessed by Mike Quade.
So, what, pray tell, has Joe Maddon done in five seasons with the Rays while developing young talent?
Now, before you jump down my throat, I am not saying Mike Quade is Joe Maddon. Nor am I saying that Mike Quade will have the same type of success. I am just saying there is precedent for this type of success from a man with a similar pedigree to Quade’s.
After the announcement on Tuesday, it felt as if almost every Cubs fan had written off the next two to three seasons because of Quade’s hiring.
Again, I ask, what promise does Sandberg bring? Who says he will definitely be more successful. What part of his management experience is better or more thorough than Quade’s?
The honest answer is: nothing.
The only answer is: nothing.
Two months ago, I wrote that Ryne Sandberg should be the next manager of the Cubs, and that if he won the World Series with another team I would be devastated.
I still feel the exact same way. Never did I say that he had a better chance to win with the Cubs than any other manager. And that is a fact.
I am a Cubs fan. I will support Mike Quade as long as he does whatever he can to help the Cubs win baseball games. If he is not successful over the next 324 games, then it will time for someone else.
I ask every other Cubs fan to let go of their emotions and memories of Ryne Sandberg and realize he had no better chance of winning with this team than Mike Quade.
And it is now Mike Quade’s team.
And if you want to turn in your season tickets because of this “disastrous and idiotic” hire. Be my guest. There are 115,000 people hoping you do so.
And if the Cubs are playing for it all in two years, remind yourself how good you are at seeing the future.
Until next time …
Stay Classy Cubs Fans