Isn't it amazing how good a manager can look when his pitching staff is throwing up goose eggs game after game?
Things don't look quite as good when your opponent is scoring runs in bunches against you like the last two games, and that's my problem with interim Cub manager Mike Quade and his ascent to one of the favorites to get the job next year.
An eleven game run with his pitching staff posting a 1.29 ERA and his starters going 9-1 during that span helped propel Quade from after-thought status to maybe being the 'man' for the job.
A career minor league coach and manager, Quade got the call to the big leagues by Jim Hendry when he hired Lou Piniella to manage the team. In his mid-fifties, he's never gotten a look from anyone looking for someone to run their team.
It could be everybody missed out and didn't see the genius lurking inside his bald dome. After all, he's got an 18-10 record since he took over for Piniella.
Normally teams see a spike when a new manager takes over. Most don't keep it going over an extended period of time.
With Piniella, to quote an Eagles song, "Already Gone" long before he left the team, anybody taking over would have been a breath of fresh air. Piniella distanced himself from the team for the past two years and the players didn't feel a bond with him.
Quade has been more hands on and interactive with the players. While that's a good thing, it doesn't mean he should be the next manager of the team.
That's what a manager is supposed to do. He's not supposed to act like a distant CEO overseeing the operation and keeping his hands from getting dirty like Piniella did.
He should have been gone a long time ago, but that's material for another article.
Quade had the advantage of taking over a team that was long out of the race so the pressure was off. It's much easier to play when it doesn't matter if you win or lose.
It's also easier to manager when you have the advantage of the expanded roster that September gives you. It makes it easier to make moves and it's something you wouldn't have if you're the new manager starting play in April.
It counts in April. The pressure is back.
So why shouldn't Quade be the next Cub manager?
He showed some discipline by benching Cub rookie Starlin Castro for making a couple of mental errors. He also mentioned it to the media.
While that's not such a bad thing, I would be far more impressed if he called out a veteran in the media. It doesn't take a lot of guts to punish a young player that's happy to be in the Major Leagues. But it does take some to let one of your so-called stars know that you're unhappy with their effort and you're not going to put up with it anymore.
I would have been far more impressed had he called out Alfonso Soriano or Aramis Ramirez for the examples they set for the young players by standing at the plate and admiring their at-bats that fall short of the stands.
If you set an example with a highly (overpaid) veteran, everybody on the team will know what is acceptable and what's not.
Allegedly, he spoke to both of them in the clubhouse about what he expects from them. The very next game Soriano did his freeze-frame on a long flyball to right, either ignoring his manager or giving him the equivalent of the finger.
I want a manager who is strong and doesn't care who the player is that is dogging it.
I don't want a manager that is taking advantage of a hot streak by the pitching staff to get a leg up on the competition.
It's time to quit drinking the Kool-Aid.