Why I Want Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies to Crash and Burn

Why I Want Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies to Crash and Burn

The Chicago Cubs won their series against the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend. Jake Arrieta and Travis Wood bookended the set with two stellar performances that had overly-eager folks like myself thinking "no-hitter." Highlights from the home dugout included Jimmy Rollins becoming the all-time Phils hit leader (cool for him), an aging, slumping lineup beating up on Edwin Jackson, and Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg getting tossed after a questionable ejection of his starting pitcher.

(Side comment about the ejection: Roberto Hernandez hit Starlin Castro, who had homered earlier. I don't think it was intentional judging by the look on Roberto's face. That being said, no fault to the umpire for having a short rope with all the dangerous projectile shenanigans going around baseball lately.)

Speaking of Sandberg, I'd like to confess an unpopular opinion around Cubdom. Since the Phillies and Cubs don't play one another again this season, my confession is losing relevancy by the day and I'd like to get it out now.

I want the Philadelphia Philles and their manager, Ryne Sandberg, to crash and burn.

This has nothing to do with Sandberg personally. I'm sure he's a decent guy. This has more to do with the overzealous "meatball" fans who clamored for Sandberg to grab the Cubs managerial position in 2011 and lead Chicago to the promised land.

I do not have a special place in my heart for Ryne Sandberg. This almost exclusively has to do with age – I was just five years old when he retired. The former Cubs I remember fondly are guys like Kerry Wood, Ted Lilly and Derrek Lee. Now, that's not to say I have no love for guys like Ron Santo or Greg Maddux. I heard Santo on the radio and fell in love, and I watched Maddux pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers, later learning about his spectacular career and the art of pitching.

I established no such fan connection with Sandberg – which is probably why I wasn't screaming at the top of my lungs for him to get the manager's job following Lou Piniella's retirement in 2010.

You remember the story well. Piniella stepped down, third base coach Mike Quade took the interim position, then Jim Hendry later removed the "interim" tag, passing over Sandberg as a candidate.

"SANDBERG SHOULD BE THE MANAGER!" fans yelled. "HE SERVED HIS TIME IN THE MINORS! HE RODE THE BUSES, FOR GOD'S SAKE!"

True, Sandberg did toil away in the minors and manage many Cubs affiliates from 2007 to 2010. But what about Quade? Nobody pointed out that Mike Quade, in fact, had 16 years of managerial experience in the minor leagues, including three years at Triple-A Iowa, as well as big-league coaching experience, which Sandberg lacked. Quade "rode the buses" too, folks.

Jaded, Sandberg left the Cubs organization to manage at AAA for the Phillies. A year later, Theo Epstein & company were running the show. They fired Quade and told Sandberg he was not a candidate for the opening. Dale Sveum took over, and now we're on Rick Renteria.

Sandberg became interim manager for the Phillies after a former great of the game departed. Last winter, the Phillies removed the "interim" label and Sandberg became the full-fledged manager of an aging ballclub whose window was nearly sealed shut. There are a number of parallels between Quade's situation his rookie season and Sandberg's, but those have been continuously covered in the media so I won't rehash that.

I'm not saying Quade was the right guy for the job (in hindsight, he obviously wasn't). But to say Sandberg should have been handed the Cubs manager job, simply because he was a Cubs legend and managed a few of Chicago's affiliates, didn't make sense to me and it still doesn't now.

I'm sure there are a ton of folks out there who think Epstein not hiring Sanderg is the worst mistake any Cubs employee ever made. And for that reason, unlike many fellow Cubs fans, I don't want to see Sandberg succeed in Philly. I don't want Sandberg to lead the Phillies to the NL East crown and give @FacebookCubs more things to post about. I genuinely enjoy reading about clubhouse scuffles like this and watching the Phillies lose.

It's selfish, and probably a bit asshole-ish, but I want Sandberg's Phillies to crash and burn so I don't have to read about what a huge "mistake" it was letting Sandberg go. To be frank, Epstein probably did Sandberg a favor. He knew just how deep this rebuild was going to be, and managing the Cubs these past few years certainly would've tarnished Ryno's legacy.

And so, I'll say again what I've said many times before: Boo Phillies.

@justinjabs

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  • fb_avatar

    I totally disagree with you on this, and for pretty much the reasons you are talking about here. Well, sort of. I wanted Ryno to take over for Lou, but after I had some time to think about it, I backed off of that. Look at Alan Trammell in Detroit; living legend takes over terrible team, gets fired, legacy tarnished.

    I'd rather see Ryno succeed somewhere else than fail with the Cubs. But whereas you weren't around to see him play, Sandberg was the guy I grew up idolizing. So much, in fact, that I named my son after him. So I can never wish failure upon him simply because I want to see the guy succeed in all he does. I was there when they retired his #23 and I'll be damned if I didn't get a little misty.

    But I get where you're coming from because it's really the same thing that makes me pull so hard for them to get the young kids up and win without spending a boatload of money. I want to be right, but I also want people who think differently from me to be wrong. That is not a very tactful position to take, but it's part of my competitive nature. In the end though, I just want the Cubs to win; if that happens, no one will care who's right and who's wrong. Unless I'm wrong, and then I'll be pissed. But if I'm right, I'll probably tell everyone about it ad nauseam, in which case you'll all be pissed. I guess we're all screwed.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    I think we're got a lot of similar thoughts, but our fandom for Ryno is where it differs. I think your tattoo, your son's namesake, and your connection to Sandberg is awesome but that's not something I share – the situation is to me as if everyone were clamoring for say, Kenny Lofton to be the next Cubs manager.

    So, my love for Sandberg is not as great as my craving for the so-called "meatballs" to be proven wrong. Hence my position.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Justin Jabs:

    Oh yeah, and I get and respect that. I too wish for meatballs to be proven wrong, though I can't bring myself to want Ryno to fail in order for that to come about.

    It's cool to see different perspectives of things from when we became fans or just due to age and such. And that's why I respect your position on this and your willingness to express it. I don't like it when fans believe themselves better because they've been fans longer or because they live closer, etc. We've all got our reasons and our feelings, none less valid than the next. Well, unless your feelings and thoughts are wrong.

  • In reply to Justin Jabs:

    I know several Yankee fans who got into baseball after the Dark Period of the late 70s and 80s.

    They're very clearly huge Jeter, Posada, Rivera & Bernie Williams fans...but to a man they all hold a very special place for Mattingly...the professional who toiled away on terrible teams, carrying the torch of The Pinstripes for the future generation.

    They love the guy. Love the way he did his job and how he was able to overcome. Even though they didn't watch him, his place in Yankees history is secure with them.

    Not to say that's EVERY Yankee fan, but certainly the die hard Yankee fan.

    That's why it's so hard for me to accept your flippancy with regard to Sandberg. Mattingly certainly was a great player, but Sandberg's in the Hall of Fame...he's at another level altogether.

    For you to explain away your lack of attachment to the guy as a function of your age is, I guess, interesting. I guess it's that your definition of "die hard" must be pretty different from mine.

  • An interview with some Philly sports writer on Dump and Chase had a different view on the Phillies situation.

    Essentially that was that the Phillies descent into last place was due to the team becoming too old, and if Sandberg had proved anything, he can develop young talent, which the Phillies don't have, but supposedly the Cubs are getting.

    Meatballs aside, apparently Sveum was gone because he couldn't develop Castro and Rizzo, so if anyone should crash and burn, it should be KC.

  • Well this certainly isn't the level of posts I'm accustomed to. I can't think of anything nice to say, so I'll just say that this is, perhaps, the most classless cubs-related post I've ever read. Wow. Just wow.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Hey, Justin was just being honest and he had an opinion he wanted to share. It made sense to me even if I didn't share the opinion I understood it.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Tom, the gist of the post is that Sandberg's "just a guy."

    I get the angle of "I'm happy to see the Phillies go down in flames...and that's not lessened by the fact they're managed by a Cubs Legend."

    I just have ZERO connection to the rest of it which is "Sandberg doesn't really matter to me because I'm too young to have seen him play."

    I've had to increasingly parse what I digest in Cubs Insider, so much so that it's gotten to the point where, if it's not a Loxas byline, I tend to pass.

    Think this post further confirms that's the right approach for me.

  • In reply to ratay1:

    Ok. I hear you on the Sanberg thing but if you are only reading me you are missing out. But I appreciate you still read me nonetheless.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubbie steve:

    First, let me thank you for the opening comment. The fact that we're putting out a high level of material is good to know. But you must not have read too much of my stuff, as I tend to lean toward dick jokes and other unsavory material, making my content far more classless. In all seriousness, though, I think Justin is only sharing what a number of people feel; it's just that not everyone has a platform from which to share.

    I've called out other fans for various beliefs that I feel are either misguided or downright ignorant, and he's doing what he feels is the same here. I understand your frustration though, as it's much the same feeling that I arouse in many readers. What I really like about this blog is that we're not all of the same opinion and we are willing to share those differences rather than try to maintain a single voice.

    Thanks for reading and I hope you'll come back again for more.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I think that the most classless Cubs related thing was that management expected Ryno to wear a Cubs jacket when throwing out the first pitch as Phillies manager on HOF tribute day. After Theo said on day 2 "no way we'll consider Sandberg," what did they expect?

    We all know Sveum was such a better choice. :-)

  • I am a HUGE Ryno fan.. I didn't care if he got the job as manager for the Cubs or not, but I won't wish anything bad on him.. most likely the Phillies will crash and burn and Sandberg may ultimately lose his job because of it, but I will never wish anything bad for Ryno.

  • fb_avatar

    I watched Sandberg's entire career and he was my favorite player. He was a great player, the best 2B ever in my opinion. But I never wanted him to manage the Cubs. I personally don't think he will succeed as a manager.

    That's not necessarily a knock. There are way more failed managers historically than there are successful managers, obviously, more so in the Cubs organization..

    I do think he would be a great coach, and were he to accept a role like that, I would love for that to happen with the Cubs.

  • I never wish any player, coach, or manager ill will. It's bad karma! Ryne always took the high road. Lesson learned.

  • I think this is a moot point. Renteria has been a great manager. He helped Rizzo and Castro to reclaim their mojo. He is guiding the cubs to wins that last year ended in losses. Yes, this is a Hoyer/Epstein pick but they succeeded on this one. The bull pen has got its swagger back, timely hitting has become more than a rarity. I cannot wait until he gets our top prospects next year. I am not an imbiber of Cubs Kool-Aid. but I am a Cubs fan and these improvements make me feel like they will continue and that next year may be something special. I have not felt like that in a while. Go Cubs

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