When Ryne Sandberg was passed over for the Chicago Cubs’ open managerial job in favor of the more tenured – but less famous and less adored by Cubs fans – Mike Quade, the writing was on the wall: he wasn’t going back to manage AAA Iowa. So when he left to do the same job in the Phillies’ organization, no one should have been surprised.
But people were.
Fans were angry, feeling like the Cubs had betrayed one of their own. Sandberg said he wasn’t invited back to his Iowa managerial gig, though Cubs GM Jim Hendry says that’s not quite true. Either way, I can’t wrap my head around why it matters: after working his way up the Cubs’ minor league system, if the Hall of Famer wasn’t given the Cubs’ gig this time around, he wasn’t staying. That’s just the way it was.
For his part, Sandberg is ever classy, wishing Quade and the Cubs well. But he’s certainly happy where he is, and excited about his new job.
After working four years as a minor league manager in the organization, Sandberg sought to succeed Lou Piniella as the Chicago skipper last year and was a finalist for the job.
But he didn’t get it.
Sandberg’s disappointment, however, turned to excitement a short time later.
The Philadelphia Phillies called and offered a chance to manage the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He accepted, completing a full circle in his baseball career.
“This is a perfect fit because the Cubs thing didn’t pan out,” Sandberg said Tuesday night during the Phillies Winter Tour stop at the Crowne Plaza Reading, Wyomissing. “I feel like I’m going to a place that searched me out, that called me and asked me what I was doing.
“Sometimes things happen for a reason. To come to an organization where I’ve worn the uniform during critical growing years in my life, I feel very happy about that. It’s nice to go to an organization where you feel wanted.” ReadingEagle.
Is that last statement probably a shot at the Cubs? Sure. But so what? This is a guy who poured his heart and mind into doing things the right way in the Cubs organization, and when his (new) dream job opened up, he didn’t get it. I’d be a little pissed, too.
I, for one, wish Sandberg well. Charlie Manuel isn’t going to be around forever, and Sandberg may get the shot their that he didn’t get here.
I wish Mike Quade even better, though.