The Cubs will remove the "interim" tag from Mike Quade's title of manager later this afternoon. Around 3pm Central time, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and GM Jim Hendry will hold a press conference to announce Quade received a two year contract with an option for 2013.
It's Quade for the Cubs!
Quade managed the Cubs to a 24-13 record after Lou Piniella retired in August. Quade was selected from a final round of candidates that also included former Cub player and baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, former Indians manage Eric Wedge (who took a managerial position with the Mariners), and former Lou Piniella successor in Seattle and Dbacks manager Bob Melvin.
On ESPN 1000, Tom Waddle and Mark Silverman blasted the hiring of Quade as a terrible public relations move for the Cubs and reported receiving texts saying "As of today, I am no longer a Cubs fan." While Quade certainly does not have the history Sandberg does, it is almost certain that he won't drive away fans in droves. Sure, Sandberg would have brought a lot of fans out to the seats, but in the end most people are watching players on the field and not managers in the dugout. When I want to watch the managers, I usually watch games on television since good broadcasters can help give insight into the strategies of managers in certain situations that may be puzzling, even to astute baseball fans. Additionally, television offers one the ability to have replay and get a complete picture of the game, including bullpen management, and other factors that may get lost sitting up in the nosebleeds or spending crucial time going to get drinks or food, which only takes a commercial break at home. So, I believe it is silly for Silverman and Waddle to argue that Quade will drive fans away, since he probably won't. Their point remains valid that Sandberg's name recognition could put meat in the seats, but ultimately, sustained winning puts and keeps fans in the seat. Obviously, the Cubs organization chose the man they thought best for the job.
Some White Sox fans on ESPN 1000 went on the attack, claiming Cubs fans only care about the name and not "pitching, speed, and defense." Of course, this same fan I quoted claimed that Cubs fans wouldn't like Sandberg if he went 60-90, ignoring the fact that an entire season has 162 games, not 150.
Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster told ESPN 1000 that he found Quade was a good communicator and a well prepared manager. Dempster's first experience with Quade came while rehabbing from surgery at AAA Iowa, where Quade managed before joining the Cubs coaching staff for the 2007 season as third base coach. Dempster said Quade is also a team first manager, who doesn't care whether or not someone is a star or not. Dempster also said Quade thanked his players for their effort the final weeks of the season and that players responded well to the outreach. It's not a surprise that Quade thanked his players, because his chats with the media after becoming manager certainly showed that Quade understands there are roles on teams, which some managers and players seem not to understand.
Asked about the potential of Ryne Sandberg as a member of Quade's coaching staff, Dempster said the coaching staff will shake itself out.
On ESPN 1000, Ryne Sandberg expressed his disappointment at not getting the job, but said he had no "regerets" about the process or selection. Sandberg was repeatedly asked if the Cubs had shut the door on him, but he told WMVP radio that the he only received a phone call this morning telling him he was not the manager, and that he had no information on further plans with the Cubs at this time, because they had not been discussed.