Myles: Careful, Cubs Fans

wrigley-fieldThe sentiment from Cubs fans seems to be the same: people want Joe Girardi.

I can’t say that I am different from the masses at this point.  However I keep telling myself to just be careful – tread lightly. Girardi is not going to “fix” everything. Sahadev Sharma wrote a great piece Friday on the truths and myths of the Cubs managerial search, and Girardi in general. I recommend reading it immediately.

However, I know most of us (me included) have a tough time getting over the name of Girardi. There is a certain aura that surrounds it. And, unfortunately, if the Yankees do end up re-signing him to another deal it’ll be disappointing for a lot of us.

But why? Why is this such a sexy pick? Why do I feel this connection to Girardi and feel so strongly about hiring him? The Cubs will most likely not be a contender next year. A new manager will likely not fix anything. But still, I daydream. “What if …?”

  • Sure the Cubs lost 96 games this year and Girardi can’t work magic. But the Yankees weren’t great this year and they almost made the playoffs. So what if …
  • Yes the Cubs were ranked 27th in RBI’s, 27th in batting average, and 22nd in OPS. But Girardi seems to know how to get the most out of his players. So what if …
  • Of course the Cubs probably won’t make the postseason next year. But Girardi did win a ring in New York. So what if…
  • I know, the Yankees had a huge roster of superstars when they won the World Series with Girardi. But the Cubs are on the up and up. So what if …

Yes. All irrational thoughts with no analytical basis behind them.  But the reason I think this way comes down to two very, very obvious things:

  1. Girardi is from Chicago (Hey, I’m from Chicago!)
  2. Girardi won a World Series (Hey, I want a World Series!)

From the fan’s eyes, these are the two things we need: someone that understands and “gets us” along with a winner. Girardi fits both.

The fans that I’ve spoken with know that the Cubs are likely not going to win next year. But having Girardi will provide a bit of comfort . A sort of security blanket, if you will – a $5 or $6 million security blanket.

There’s a risk in this. It’s sitting in the back of all our heads: what if he doesn’t work out? What if the masses turn on him after this season? Then what?

This is why we need to be careful. Enjoy your “what if’s.” Daydream to your heart’s content. But make sure to come back down to Earth so that expectations can become practical again. Girardi will not win right away if he comes.

It also won’t be his fault.

There is no magical cure and we need to remember that this is a process. The manager is a part of it, but never the solution.

Myles Phelps is a contributor to Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @mphelps11.

46 responses to “Myles: Careful, Cubs Fans”

  1. Cubfanbob

    After 100 plus “not working out” years I think we’re done with being “careful”. Throw being afraid of risk out the window with being careful as well. I hear ya but as Marge said ” Go crazy?” Don’t mind if I do! [goes crazy]

  2. Leroy K

    So true. It pretty much happened overnight, and the movement swept Chicago. I have always admired Girardi. I got his autograph when he was a young Catcher back in 1991 and I was (9). I have liked him ever since.

  3. SFCCubby

    Two names I like for the reasons that you have discused Maddux and Ausmus. I think both will bring in different aspects of the game and help bring the Cubs around in two different areas. Maddux more with the pitching side, I believe Ausmus will bring more along the lines of relating to the players and getting the most out of them as a player. But of course the Dream choice is Girardi, he is unfortunatly being placed on a pedistal as the answer to what the Cubs are needing. He is a good manager, but is he the best fit for the Cubs at this time? That is the question.

  4. Stevie B

    I think most, including myself until recently, are truly unaware how many things have to go right for an organization to get a ring.
    Yeah, it’s great to banter back and forth on all things Cubs, yet in the end, there is no end all be all way of getting across the finish line.
    In our case……. I believe it comes down to building a solid team, with a quality skipper, then a MASSIVE ceremony where the city sacrifices a goat( preferably not from Michigan).

  5. Voice of Reason

    Girardi is not from Chicago.
    He was born and raised in Peoria. He went to school at northwestern and then was drafted by the cubs.

    1. Isaac

      This is an important point, because I am from Peoria, and there is no way in the world I would claim to be “from Chicago!”. People from Central Illinois wear it as a badge of honor NOT to be from Chicago.

      1. Brett

        I wasn’t born in Columbus and I didn’t grow up in Columbus. But I’ve lived here for 10 years now, and I would say I’m “from Columbus.”

        1. Mat B

          Using that train of thought, then Girardi is from New York.

          1. YourResidentJag

            Ha! Exactly. And why would he leave the most dignified organization in baseball or any of the professional sports to merely at this point aid a rebuilding effort? Being from Peoria is different, Brett. My parents lived in Chicago, born and raised. I live in Iowa and have for 30 yrs. It’s completely different.

            1. Voice of Reason

              Sammy Sosa is from Chicago! Bring him back. We need to have as many people from Chicago on this Cubs team as possible! He can be an ambassador!

              That point about Sosa is why you cannot say that Girardi is from Chicago. Like Mat B said, Girardi is from New York now, not Chicago! He is now three lives removed from Peoria!

            2. X The Cubs Fan

              Because everyone on the roster is either leaving or 40.

              1. YourResidentJag

                And the Yankees won’t be bringing back Cano either, right? Because the team’s in debt? ;)

          2. Brett

            He very well could be.

      2. D-Rock

        I was born and raised in Peoria, but have lived in Chicago for 12 years and now say I’m “from Chicago” often with the disclaimer of “I grew up in Peoria, but have lived here for over 10 years.” Being a huge Cubs fan who is originally from Peoria is a big reason why I want Girardi as next manager. I would settle for Jim Thome (another Peoria native), but mostly I just want the Cubs to win the World Series.

      3. Diamondrock

        Hey now, I’m from Central Illinois and I don’t wear the fact that I’m not from Chicago as any sort of badge of honor. I don’t wish I was from there or anything, but I got no beef with it. I love that city.

        That said, a lot of people in Central Illinois do take it as a badge of honor. Of course, most of them are Cardinals fans.

        *ducks*

      4. I-CubsFanBoy

        Or you could take the resident Iowan view: without Chicago, Illinois is just Kentucky facing the wrong direction! (Sorry, I really do have a lot of love for Central Illinois, but I just couldn’t resist.)

    2. Mat B

      Nope, sorry, he was born in Peoria because that’s where the hospitals are. He was raised across the river in East Peoria. He did go to high school at Spalding, a private Catholic school in Peoria.

    3. I-CubsFanBoy

      Growing up I spent my summers in Central Illinois (Kewuanee). For the most part it’s Cub’s country, and my time there was probably the biggest reason I became a Cubs fan. It’s always been my understanding that Girardi grew up a Cubs fan, like a lot of kids in Peoria. I think you’re missing the point trying to rehash some Chicago vs. Downstate rivalry.

  6. Die hard

    Be careful what you wish for– recall euphoria over Ricketts then Theo then Jed et al– hasn’t helped a bit because dont have right experience–

  7. Cubbie in NC

    There has to be a matching of your team and the manager. Look at the Red Sox this year compared to last. I also think that the hardest thing in sports is to have a manager that can relate to and get the best out of his players over an extended period of time.

    I don’t think that the Cubs have the talent on the field to win in the next couple of years. When they do have that talent, who knows what that team is going to need to win.

    I had hoped that Sveum would be the guy to get players to play sound baseball, and make sure that they acted right and respected the game. When it came time to jump to the next level, then hire the manager that can take them there.

    Until the Cubs know what kind of team they will have and what kind of manager they need when they are talented enough to actually compete, I am not going to worry too much about this hire.

    1. Jesse

      I always got the impression Svuem thought he’d be here longer than everyone knew he would be.

  8. Blackhawks1963

    Again, the facts can’t be ignored.

    1. What we KNOW is that Manny Acta, AJ Hinch and Rich Renteria have all interviewed.
    2. What we also KNOW is that the Cubs HAVE NOT reached out to Sandy Alomar Jr, Mike Maddux, Brad Ausmus or anybody else.
    3. And we KNOW that Chris Bosio has been retained as pitching coach, which telegraphs very strongly to me that TheoJed are not holding their breath that Joe Girardi becomes available and are moving on accordingly. Why do I think that? Because Girardi would insist upon the ability to interview and name his own coaching staff.

    Again, my opinion is that Manny Acta will be named the new manager of the Cubs. He’s managed before, he’s bi-lingual and a Latino, and he’s fresh off a 7 hour first interview with TheoJed.

    1. Jim

      The resigning of Bosio only means that Theo/Jed like him and would like the next manager to use him as the pitching coach. It also keeps Bosio from finding another job right now during the managerial search. If the next manager wants a different pitching coach the Cubs would probably just eat Bosio’s contract and let him walk.

    2. Brett

      Still waiting to see that Bosio report in print.

      1. Eric

        This. I still can’t find it even this morning.

      2. YourResidentJag

        Hour 4 10/8/13. Starting at 9:50. Mooney is inferring, but all I can do is go by what he says since he’s a beat writer and I’m clearly not. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mcneil-and-spiegel-show/id452998259

        1. Brett

          Yeah, that’s what I thought – to say Mooney reported Bosio IS returning next year is flatly wrong. He said what everyone has said: the Cubs really like Bosio. End of report.

          The Cubs do like Bosio, but there’s going to be input from the new manager before the coaching staff is finalized. Bosio is likely to get a very strong recommendation.

  9. CUB5

    Really, I would be wary of saying “the Cubs are on the up and up.” We’ve had a lot of talk so far and movement with staff, coaching and players. But we haven’t seen anything on the field to suggest we are on the “up and up” or that we will be anytime soon. We are still very much looking to the future IMO.

    Everyone thought with Theo it would be a 3 year plan or so, but I would safely say 5. We have to see where our draft picks are development-wise, and build up veteran support. Castro, among others, has regressed somewhat and will need to get back his form as well as continue to improve defensively.

  10. Soda Popinski
  11. Ivy Walls

    Girardi will have more effect in one day behind the scenes and on putting pressure on the Front Office than Sveum or Ricketts have had in over three years.

    draft_lens2150725module82454021photo_1265042649Aquarius_-_Wet_Blanket.jp

  12. Mat B

    Why would it matter that the Cubs aren’t expected to contend in 2014? Do we anticipate the 2014 manager to be fired immediately following the season? By the way Girardi isn’t from Chicago. He isn’t even from Peoria. He’s from East Peoria.

  13. Ivy Walls

    BTW this quote from Steinbrenner on him losing patience regarding Girardi, and why the NYY will not sign Girardi:

    “Steinbrenner told the New York Post that he won’t engage in a bidding war if another club is willing to offer more. “I am not going to follow the speeding car,” he said.

    83492_1000x1000.jpg

  14. ssckelley

    Myles, good read! I am also putting all my hopes on Girardi as I started pining for him on this site well before Sveum was rumored to being fired. I think he has one of the best baseball minds in the business. Obviously anything can happen and I think a huge play in this is his 3 teenage kids that go to school in New York, and it could be the reason why his decisions have been delayed. Anybody with teenagers knows this is no easy task and can have consequences. I think Girardi wants to be the manager of the Cubs, if not he would have already resigned with the Yankees. I think if he ends up resigning with the Yankees we will see family listed as one of his main reasons.

  15. chad

    I think everything points t girardi returning to the yanks and our FO messing up another search. they might be good at evaluating onfield talent but as far as managers go-not so good. manny acta as even a possiblity, good grief.

    1. Chad

      How is Girardi returning to the Yanks equivalent to the Cubs FO messing up this search? If he goes to the Yanks there is not much the cubs can do about it. If they hire Manny Acta or A.J. Hinch or fill in the blank it could be a horrible hire or a great hire. You never know. I’m sure that when Francona was hired in Boston people were doubting the hire. Heck everyone thought the hire of Panella, or Dusty, or Don Baylor were the moves that would seal the deal for the cubs. Maybe you have the ability to see into the future, but I don’t and I can’t judge the hire now, especially when it hasn’t even happened yet.

    2. Blackhawks1963

      How have the Cubs “messed up the search”?!? TheoJed have ZERO control over what Joe Girardi decides to do. To date, they have interviewed Acta, Hinch and Renteria. They aren’t sitting around on their thumbs.

      And haven’t we learned our lesson about “big name” managers?!? Remember the Dusty debacle? Or the hiring of Sweet Lou, who proceeded to sleep in the dugout 3 1/2 years before quitting mid-season to go home?

      A lot of great managers had bad starts to their careers. Joe Torre bombed with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals before his success with the Yankees as but one example of this. If Acta is the hire, then I’m fine with it and will trust TheoJed.

  16. Jono

    “Daydream to your heart’s content”

    Don’t mind if i do

  17. EQ76

    “There is no magical cure and we need to remember that this is a process. The manager is a part of it, but never the solution.”

    true, but if we sign Girardi the FO is saying a few things.
    1. We plan on being relevant and good sooner rather than later
    2. We may actually start spending more on MLB payroll.
    3. We will be competitive for most of the years that JG is signed to coach.

    Bringing in a high profile and winning coach signals that you are ready to start winning soon. They wouldn’t make him one of the “highest 2 managers” to lead a AAAA team. Also, Theo and Jed won’t be around if we are still this bad in 2-3 years.

    The Cubs are awful right now. Attendance is down. TV ratings are down. No way does the FO let this continue much longer. We may not be a contender next year, but I guarantee you that we will be by 2015.

  18. Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Everyone knows that the overall talent (I say overall, because our rotations the past couple of years have been pretty darn good) hasn’t been on the field that we need to be competitive. Baez and Bryant will find their place on the team and we’ll get a veteran or two with playoff experience to help along the younger kids.

  19. kscubfan

    Myles, well done. I think you captured my thoughts on this very well. I would love to see what Girardi could do with this team, when he was with the Marlins I thought he would make a great Cub Manager.

    When I saw him going after the umps when Dempster threw at A-rod, I was like this is the guy. We need someone like that running this club. Which is kind of insane cause I know having fire is not linked to winning in baseball. But still I want.

  20. Fastball

    Dusty and Lou put us in the playoffs. Something we hadn’t done since 1984. Nobody likes Dusty and half the people don’t like Lou. Guess what they did better than all the others since Leo Deroscher. I am a firm believer in the fact that a team follows its leader. The quality of the leader and his or ability to lead in fact is most critical. Most are flawed in the Leader aspect of managing. You can know a process, no how it’s been done, witness mistakes, exact change and even try to be a good teacher. But if you can’t Lead men you will not be successful. Leading isn’t relating to people as a players manager, it isn’t how well you can talk to a media guy. It’s demonstrating in real time that you can make correct decisions, stand up for everyone you are responsible for (always) deflect bullshit (always) and the buck stops with you the leader. Coach’s are not necessarily leaders. They coach, they help refine skill sets and help to correct mistakes. That’s not leading. The leader will hire coach’s. We need a leader, someone who takes charge, communicates expectations and enforces process to ensure everyone is meeting and exceeding upon their delivery. I don’t care of Joe Girardi is or isn’t the guy that gets hired. You go find a leader and this team will improve. There is no excuse for losing as many games as we have over the past two years. Even with a less than acceptable roster. Leaders find a way to be successful. They change, the get after every single angle they can find to push the line forward. The Cubs have not had this in the past two managers. They were both coachs. And they weren’t very good ones. They were one shoe fits all type coachs. That doesn’t work and that’s why the both failed miserably. Losing is a result of bad habits, bad preparation and bad execution. I think Girardi is a leader but he is not the only man in baseball who is a leader. Are the guys the Cubs have interviewed leaders? I don’t know. I hope Theo & Jed know. If there a not leaders then keep looking til you find one.

    1. bbmoney

      “Dusty and Lou put us in the playoffs.”

      I’d argue the players put them in the playoffs and Dusty and Lou happened to be managing at the time. Dusty and Lou, for instance, wouldn’t have led the team to the playoffs this year.

  21. Scott

    Well, I have no expectation that Joe Girardi is going to come to Chicago and immediately get us to the playoffs. What I’m hoping for is a coach with a proven track record, can effectively manager a team (and a clubhouse) and can assemble a coaching staff that will do well at coaching up young players to meet their potential.

  22. Scott

    To add to what I just said – Yes, the Cubs front office still needs to get Girardi some talent to work with. I don’t believe that Girardi can work miracles and turn water into wine, stones into loaves, etc. You can’t polish a turd.

  23. JulioZuleta

    I’ve seen soooo many comments, and have had sooo many conversations with people saying that the Cubs need to hire Maddux or Girardi. Even had a few tell me that they should go after Sandberg. Really frustrating when fans can’t give any support other than they are ex-Cubs and the only candidates they’ve heard of. It’s especially funny when it’s “The Cubs need Maddox or Ryan Sandburg…”

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