Hi. I’m Joel, and I’m a lifelong, diehard Chicago Cubs fan.
Now that I’ve got that out in the open, I want to take a moment from the normal seriousness of this blog and discuss the upcoming job opening for the manager of the Lovable Losers of Major League Baseball.
Yesterday, Lou Pinella retired from baseball after many years of managing, after being unsuccessful in his attempt to lead the Cubs to the World Series. When Lou was hired for the 2007 season, spirits were high. Broadcasters were announcing that he was the man to lead the Cubs to a World Series championship for the first time since 1908. However, even though the Cubs won the division his first two seasons, they could not win a game in the playoffs either year, and have slumped down to the low levels this season.
While there’s an interim manager to finish out the season, the Cubs will be looking to find a replacement for next season. The two names that are thrown out most frequently are Joe Girardi and Ryne Sandberg. Both are former Cubs and have strong attachments to the club. Girardi is presently the manager of the New York Yankees and Sandberg is the manager of the Cubs’ AAA affiliate in Iowa.
Gene Wojciechowski wrote a wonderful article for ESPN in which he argues that the Ryno should be the next manager of the Cubs. I wholeheartedly agree. However, my reason for agreeing is largely sentimental. Ryne Sandberg was my favorite player growing up. He spent nearly his entire career playing for the Cubs, coming into the league just a couple years before I started to care about baseball. The idea of my favorite player managing my favorite team and dreaming that they could return to greatness (although it may be more accurate to say “achieve greatness”) one day under his lead, well, if that doesn’t wet the eyes a little bit, I don’t know what will.
So while this season is lost for all practical purposes, I sit here with a smile on my face, thinking about what could be. Seeing the retired number 23 back on a Cubs uniform. Watching the Cubs playing meaningful games in September, and maybe even winning that elusive World Series championship. My friends, that will be a glorious day.