I’m a bit concerned about what’s going to go down at Wrigley Field this afternoon. I imagine it will happen something like this:
Ryne Sandberg is introduced to the crowd to deafening applause. The “Committed” fans will jump up and down and stomp their feet, further compromising the structural integrity of Wrigley Field. Someone might be killed by falling concrete. The game will start. Somewhere along the line, Dale will do something Dale-esque, like
put Marmol in to close getting ejected or watching while Kevin Gregg blows a save. Mind you, this seminal event doesn’t even have to be Dale’s fault, per se, it just has to appear that way to the “Committed” crowd. Once we pass the event horizon, there will be no stopping the power of the “Committed” fans’ commitment. Wrigley will come down. A hundred or so of them will shelter Ryno from the carnage, while the rest of them tear the place apart. Anthony Rizzo will probably be spared. Starlin Castro will not. Dale Sveum will be burned at the stake on the pitchers mound. Wrigley will lie in ruins. Sandberg will rise from the ashes and will be paraded around the field on the committed backs of the very committed fans.
Okay, so I’m joking (kinda). But there is going to be an epic hue and cry at Wrigley today, and it’s going to be really obnoxious for most of us to witness. Should the Cubs have hired Ryne Sandberg instead of Mike Quade? Undoubtedly. Hell, the Cubs should have hired ME instead of Mike Quade. Or like, Dora the Explorer. Not having a manager might have even been preferable to hiring Mike Quade, so this debate is stupid. We’re all on the same page.
Should Jed and Theo have hired Ryne Sandberg instead of Dale Sveum? That remains to be seen. At the time, Ryno had a reputation for really teeing off on players and umps in the minors, and maybe that’s not what Jed and Theo wanted in a manager that was going to have to shephard the youngins along. He’s also never been known as a big SABR guy (for lack of a better term), and that probably played into their decision as well. I mean, can you see Ryno putting in an all right-handed lineup against Clayton Kershaw? I can’t.
But let’s be clear about one thing: as much as I like to make fun of Dale Sveum, he’s not the reason the Cubs have been extremely unwatchable and highly beatable this season. Having Ryne Sandberg, Jim Leyland, or even Casey Stengel wouldn’t change the fact that this team is largely 1) very young and b) extremely untalented (with few exceptions).
So when Ryne Sanberg is introduced to the crowd today, cheer your hearts out. Cheer because one of the greatest Cubs of all time is doing what he wants to do. Cheer because you’re happy to have him back at Wrigley Field. Cheer for everything he did as a Cub and for everything you hope he accomplishes as a manager. Cheer for him because you don’t know how NOT to cheer for Ryne Sandberg.
Just don’t cheer for what might have been. What might have been is right before your eyes.