Mike Quade did not do well in his lone year as manager of the Chicago Cubs. He was not developmentally, strategically or psychologically the right fit for the position. His hiring reflected nothing so much as the personality-driven nepotism that partially defined the tenure of then-GM Jim Hendry.
His firing Wednesday reflected the objectivity and clear sense of purpose that defines the new regime, led by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, and it was the first concrete step toward making the Cubs winners again that the men have taken in tandem since their arrival.
Now that Quade is gone, though, the Cubs have some heavy lifting to do. The roster remains a mess, though the paralysis wrought by big, bad contracts is subsiding quickly and has become as much media straw-man as actual impediment to progress. The farm system is on the rise, but is not yet the sort of powerhouse that produced Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury under Epstein's reign in Boston.
There are 100 steps between here and the next Cubs World Series. There are 1,000. Since a lot of those steps will never make headlines or find their way onto the pages of history, though, these 10 lay down a concise and clear blueprint.