I'm sure there are some who would claim to be more dedicated fans of Ryne Sandberg than myself... but at least no one else can claim to have made a better fan webpage on the whole of the Internets. IMHO that honor clearly goes to me. So, with my Ryno bonafides firmly secured, I'll admit that Theo Epstein's decision to pass on Sandberg as manager is a fair one... possibly even a good one.
As a quick thought experiment, let's rewind to fantasy baseball draft time in late March. If you habitually win your league, I'll bet you have a rule of thumb: Don't draft Cubs. Familiarity breeds emotion. Emotion doesn't only respond to facts, it also responds to personal experiences.
To put this in perhaps a more accessible phrasing: Somewhere, there's a Yankees fan who doesn't like Mariano Rivera because of 2001 game 7. Somewhere, there's a Cardinals fan who is telling you that David Freese is a guy you want to build your franchise around, and somewhere, there's a Cubs fan telling you that Ryne Sandberg is the best option to manage the Cubs.
Reminder: The Cubs just signed Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod. We went from a 71-91 team with a roster full of overpaid aging declining veterans to that same team but with a proven competent front office that will be turning things around. Last year, following Lou's departure, no one was clamoring for the Cubs job. The choices came down to Mike Quade and Ryne Sandberg. Hendry picked Quade. I'll contend that was the wrong decision, but Hendry was no Himes. If Sandberg had been clearly superior to Quade, then Hendry would have tabbed him... but he didn't, and that should probably tell us something.
Now, with Epstein, Hoyer & McLeod advertising on the back of our 2012 phone books, we've graduated from praying that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet happened to be driving the car that struck our fraudulent whiplash victim. No, what we have here is an honest-to-goodness class action lawsuit against a cigarette maker. We've gone from praying for a miracle to honestly expecting that with a few lucky breaks, we could hit the big-time.
My friend asked me who should be the next manager. I didn't know. I suggested Tony LaRussa, Tom Kelly, and Bobby Cox. It was tongue-in-cheek. They're all fantastic managers, they're all retired... and they'd all think a lot longer about saying no to the Cubs job this week than they would have last month. We're fishing in a bigger pond now. We need to adjust our expectations.
Sorry, Ryno. Can I have your autograph?