As was pointed out recently in a New York Times article, very few Hall of Fame players have become successful managers, and even fewer have started over in the low minors and worked their way back to the top.
Ryne Sandberg has … almost. And it should be Ryne Sandberg’s chance to prove he can succeed in the majors, this time from the bench. His dedication to the organization, and his respect of the game cannot be questioned. His understanding of fundamentals and ability to teach them has been conveyed through his recent achievements as a minor league manager. Has anyone seen Iowa’s record this season?
They are 69-52, and he deserves a decent amount of the credit for their success. He has spent four years honing his understanding of the manager position and developing a personality that starkly contrasts his previous one as a player. He is boisterous and outwardly emotional. He gets run quite often. He just might be ready for a chance in the bigs.
There are plenty of people who think he is not ready or who think there are better candidates. This could very well be true. However, if the Cubs do not hire Ryne Sandberg to be their manager next season, they might not have a chance to hire him again for a long time. (see: Girardi, Joe).
Yes, I know people think Girardi will come back to Chicago. They think he will leave New York after his contract expires this offseason and return to his roots.
Um … no, he will not.
(If he does, I will admit that I was wrong. I prefer my crow salted.)
There are plenty of options out there, but I want Sandberg for this reason. And it is a reason many might not agree with at first, but I want you to think about it.
If I see Ryne Sandberg managing a first-place team other than the Cubs, I will be distraught. Ryne Sandberg is a Chicago Cub and should get his chance. If he doesn’t, someone else will offer it to him. If that happens, and he succeeds, everyone will scream that the Cubs should have hired him when they had the chance. (see: Girardi, Joe).
Even the people that didn’t want him at first will be screaming.
There are plenty of qualified candidates out there, and some of those have had success with young rosters. Fredi Gonzalez could still be managing in Southern Florida, but he had trouble dealing with a young ego. Everyone involved in the Cubs hiring process should duly note this issue.
The Cubs will be undergoing a youth infusion during the next two or three seasons. It has already started this season with the impact of C3PO. (Cashner, Castro and Colvin)
Ryne Sandberg knows this farm system as well as anyone. He managed C3PO. He has managed Campana, Thomas, Samardzija, Jay Jackson, etc. He knows how to motivate these guys. He knows how to get these guys to produce.
Sure, Sandberg will go through his own growing pains as a manager, but so will many of his players. Going through it together just might be exactly what this team needs to start heading in the right direction.
There are many choices out there. Many of those are qualified and experienced. Many might be more successful than Sandberg. However, not one of them knows the players, the organization and this team as well as he does, including Girardi. And not one of them will make me outwardly emotional if he wins the World Series with another team.
But if Ryne Sandberg hoists a trophy in any other city in the future …
No one printable word can possibly describe that feeling.
Until next time …
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!