The dismal history of the Chicago Cubs has destroyed yet another manager, this time Sweet Lou Piniella. Imported to Chicago in 2006, Piniella was supposed to bring with him the winning aura of the Yankees. The 2006 and 2007 Cubs made the playoffs and were swept out in the first round in both years. So much for that.
Lou's an old grandfather now. He doesn't storm out onto the field to fight with umpires. The Chicago press thinks he's been coasting for the past couple of years, collecting his mega-salary while the team declined into irrelevance. Don't know if that's true. Aramis Ramirez and Derek Lee aren't the players they were in 2007, and probably never will be again. And, the playoff beatdowns destroyed the confidence and morale of the team.
So, who's going to be the next sucker? Who's going to be the next manager to try to break the 102 year old curse?
My vote is for Ryne Sandberg , the great Hall of Fame second baseman of the 1980s and 1990s Cub teams. Take a look at this picture. The great Ryno is 50! Time keeps on slipping away.
Why Sandberg? Well, he was a relentless worker and perfectionist on the field. He holds the record for consecutive errorless games for a second baseman, at 123. Ryno has been coaching his way up through the minor leagues for the past four years, so he's learned his trade.
The critical issue for the Cubs is performing in the pressure of the playoffs. Although the public image of the Cubs is that of the hopeless loser, the Cubs have improved tremendously over the past two decades... so much so that playoff appearances are now demanded by the fan base. The Cubs made the playoffs in 1989, 1998, 2003, 2006 and 2007. So, the culture of the Cubs really has changed.
Now, the Cubs must learn how to win in the playoffs. Sandberg is one of the few Cubs who performed at the highest level in his playoff appearances. He's a career .385 hitter in 10 playoff games. Add in 6 RBIs in those 10 games. That would average out to 100 RBIs over a 162 game season. Sandberg handled the pressure of the playoffs and excelled.
So, maybe Ryno is the guy who can shepherd the Cubs to a world championship. A new generation of position players is emerging from the minors, led by the incredible Starlin Castro. Tyler Colvin will be a great player. The Cubs are set for the next decade with Geovani Soto catching. Even though the team has stunk this year, the pitching has been very good.
I vote for Ryno! I know that most people would love to lure Joe Girardi away from the Yankees. So would I, but that just ain't gonna happen. And, the Cubs have tried several times to import managers with Yankee pedigrees in the hope of siphoning off that winning tradition. That hasn't worked either. Time to try to build a winning tradition from within.