When the new Chicago Cubs’ front office was looking for the right manager to take over from Mike Quade heading into the 2012 season, Theo Epstein early on announced certain criteria that pretty clearly appeared to exclude the possibility of former Cubs legend and minor league manager Ryne Sandberg from getting the gig.
I was pretty relieved.
No, it wasn’t because Sandberg’s managerial tendencies appeared at the time to skew a little old school for my tastes (though they did). It was because anyone could see that taking over the Cubs at that time was going to be the kind of stewardship that was not likely to engender itself to fan positivity. The manager – whomever it would be – was going to lose a hell of a lot of games. Certain contingents would rail on him. Every move would be scrutinized and flogged. It was not going to be a great situation, and, frankly, I didn’t want to see Sandberg put in that role.
Fortunately for the Cubs, that role instead went to Dale Sveum (and later Rick Renteria). Unfortunately for Ryne Sandberg, he wound up being put into that role with another organization, the Philadelphia Phillies, which was even less prepared to do the things it needed to do to rebuild.
That ended today, as Sandberg just announced that he’d resigned his position as manager with the Phillies.
It was a relatively tumultuous year and a half leading the Phillies, whose organizational infrastructure appears to be a mess in need of imminent re-shaping (the fact that that’s coming very soon probably has a little something to do with Sandberg’s decision).
We’ll see where Sandberg goes next. If he wants to keep coaching, I’d imagine there will be a job for him somewhere. As for a managerial role, I’m not sure there will be another opportunity in his future.
As for the Phillies, there are rumors that former Cubs exec Andy MacPhail – who came to the Cubs in 1994, the same year Sandberg initially retired mid-season – will take the reigns at or near the top of the organization very soon. Then you could start seeing some aggressive movement.