Jim Hendry has ruined the Cubs for at least the next few years. So as we sit here in baseball purgatory, waiting for all of the overpriced, long-term contracts to come off of the books, let’s reflect on Hendry’s last administrative blunder. The exile of Ryne Sandburg.
Hendry had a decision to make. Ricketts was pushing for Hendry to hire Sandberg as the 2011 manager of the Chicago Cubs. Hendry wanted Mike Quade. Hendry made his decision, a decision I’m sure he thought was the best choice for the organization.
Right or wrong, that isn’t the issue. It’s how Hendry handled communicating his decision to Sandberg that leads me to believe he never deserved his position as a general manager to begin with.
After learning the news, Sandberg said the following, “There was no other job offering [from the Cubs for 2011] other than, ‘We’d like you to come to spring training, hit a couple of fungoes and walk around.’ “At that point, I knew it was time to move on.”
No offer of a bench coaching position. Not even a clarification that he was still welcome to return to the Iowa Cubs. Hendry completely snubbed the most popular Cub of the last 30 years.
Now Hendry is gone. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s time to bring Ryno back into the fold. Sandberg won more games than he lost during his four years managing in the Cubs minor league system. But records don’t really matter in the minors.
What does matter is that he won his league’s Manager of the Year title twice, once in Single-A and once in Triple-A. What matters even more than that is the fact that he went down to single A in the first place and spent years working his way up through the system. Name another Hall of Famer who rode the bus for four years to become his team’s manager.
Sandberg has managed many of the players that will play large roles during the rebuilding process in next few years. He knows their strengths, weaknesses, potential and what holes still need to be filled. A Sandberg-managed team would fill more seats at the ball park, as fans come to support Sandberg’s Chicago Cubs. Those fans will have much more patience with him, as the team is rebuilding, than they would with any other candidate.
Plus he’s good at it. The Phillies think so. Sandberg’s rumored to become a bench coach for the 2012 season with the possibility of ultimately replacing Charlie Manuel when he retires. There’s no time for hesitation. Let’s get no. 23 back on the roster while we still have the chance.