Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
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In case you didn’t notice, the Cubs fired their manager this week. After leading the Cubs to back to back losing seasons, Dale Sveum has been shown the door in Chicago. Is anyone really surprised?
When Theo Epstein was pretty much handed the reins of this team and announced that a long rebuilding process was beginning, Cubs fans hunkered down, bought extra beer, and got ready for a long run of painful baseball in the friendly confines. Nobody, except for maybe me, expected the Cubs to do much. I mean, sure, there’s always next year…but we knew that next year was a few years off.
Now we sit here, two years into the process, and heads are already rolling in Chicago. Apparently the front office expected to see wins right away, despite doing little to nothing to make that possible. Yep, I’m saying it, as it goes with most major league managers, Dale Sveum was hired to be fired. There was nothing he could do, short of making the playoffs with this dump of a team, to make keeping his job a possibility.
That said, maybe Sveum was the perfect man for the job. Perhaps Epstein, in all his infinite wisdom, knew that this team would need to get worse before it could get better. Maybe he knew that no matter who he hired as his first manager, he would have to end up firing that manager within a season or two. Maybe…just maybe…the reason he hired Sveum over Ryne Sandberg was that he didn’t want to be the guy that fired a Cubs’ legend, a fan favorite.
That’s all well and good, but now we have to find a manager again, and the very qualifications that Epstein is looking for now were present in Sandberg two years ago. Epstein wants a guy who has experience developing young talent. Last I checked, Sandberg excelled at the minor league levels as a manager…which doesn’t happen unless you can work really well with constantly developing talent. Yes, with my hindsight measuring in at 20/20, I’m just going to say it, I think Sandberg was really the man for the job in the first place. Moreover, I think that the Cubs would be much further along than they are right now if they had placed Sandberg at the helm right away.
You don’t believe me? Well let’s look at just two examples…Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija. These two players were the gems of the Hendry administration. Both players began developing with Ryne Sandberg during their times in the minors, both players are showing tons of potential now. Samardzija seems to be coming into his own as a pitcher and Castro seems to be stalling just a little bit, but imagine how good each of these guys might be right now if they had Ryno guiding them at the big league level.
Sure, things might have turned out just as badly for Sandberg and the Cubs had they gone his direction two years ago, but they might not have either. The fact is, I think Epstein took the easy way out on this one rather than take the daring move. For once, the daring move just might have given this team the stability that it needs to develop into a winner. But we’ll never know, will we Cubs fans?
Apparently, there is not always next year. Cubs’ brass has already written off next season, saying they won’t spend much in the offseason and will look to fill holes with cheap acquisitions. In fan terms, that means that the Cubs would rather suck miserably for a few more seasons until they are ready for a breakout season.
Oh well, at least they haven’t got rid of the troughs just yet. They’re going to need them, because the bleacher bums will be too drunk to hit a normal urinal after watching the next couple of seasons.
Good luck Chicago! Go Cubs Go!