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.
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