A pair of postseason appearances qualifies as having “raised the bar” in the words of retiring Cubs skipper Lou Piniella, and with the managerial search commencing in earnest on the North Side, Ryne Sandberg, currently toiling in Des Moines, has predictably thrown his hat in the ring. Bleed Cubbie Blue’s Al Yellon considers the Ricketts family’s options, and perhaps it is sports broadcasting’s gain that he doesn’t seriously consider Bob Brenly.
Joe Girardi will have, at the end of this season, four years’ major league managing experience and at least one World Series ring. He’s been a Cubs player and grew up in the organization. I didn’t think he had enough experience in 2006 at the last opening; clearly, he does now and he’d be a fine choice. I do not expect him to be available; the Yankees usually work on one-year deals and they may not lock him up until later, but I’d expect Girardi to give them first refusal.
That makes, to me, the obvious choice Ryne Sandberg. I’ll repeat what I’ve posted here before: Sandberg applied for the job after Dusty Baker’s deal was not renewed. He was told he had no experience — and so he got some, starting at the lowest level of the organization, riding buses in the Midwest League. He worked hard, and by all accounts is very good at his job and has been praised by some of the very players who will (hopefully) be part of the next Cubs playoff team, as well as by members of Cubs management. Not one Hall of Fame player has ever done what Sandberg has done in learning his craft. To have done everything asked by the organization and then to NOT get the job would be a real slap in the face to Sandberg.
He’s earned it. His popularity is a bonus, not the reason to hire him.
As far as no Hall Of Famer ever having beat the bushes ala Ryno, I believe Gary Carter has paid similar dues in his attempts to one day be deemed as serious a big league managerial candidate as Wally Backman.