Way back in early August, I wrote a post entitled “Forget Bobby Valentine and Consider Ryne Sandberg“. I always loved Ryne Sandberg as a player. He played the game right and wasn’t afraid to get his uniform dirty. He was a true student of the game and always a leader in the clubhouse. I always knew that one day he would become a great manager.
Sandberg was expected to be named the Cubs’ next manager, but for some reason it didn’t turn out that way. From the looks of it, Sandberg has no intention of going back for another season of managing in the Cubs minor league system. Ryno is pissed off, and rightfully so. He has paid his dues and deserved better from the team he’s been loyal to for 28 years both as a player and minor league manager.
Sandberg told the Chicago Tribune he was “disappointed” and will continue to pursue other managing jobs. Asked if he would return to Iowa, he told the newspaper: “I don’t know. I’m hoping there’s something else out there. I’m hoping to manage or coach at the big-league level.”
Sandberg has spent the last four years managing in the Cubs minor league system. In the last two years, Ryno has taken his Double-A team to the league championship and then this season he led his Triple-A team, the Iowa Cubs, to another first place finish and a league best 80-60 record. For his efforts, last month he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.
I’m my original post I cited an AP article that read,
Ryne Sandberg’s goal is the same now as it was in 1978: Get to the majors. He was 18 then and trying to prove himself as a player. Now the Hall of Fame second baseman is back where he started, trying to prove himself as a manager.
“It all started with just watching the game from a different perspective than what I did since 1978 as a player playing the middle infield,” he said. “It’s completely different. It’s watching the whole field. It’s positioning the outfielders, working with the catcher to shut down the opposing running game. It’s working the lineup. All the things to run the game.”
Sandberg is a disciplinarian and demands that his players be on time and give a full effort whenever they are on the field. He always stands by his players and has been ejected a dozen times in the last two seasons.
As I said back in August, hiring Sandberg would be very similar to another time that the Mets hired a former second baseman from outside the organization; Davey Johnson, he of the 1986 World Champion Mets fame.
Considering how well that worked out for us, why not give that route another go?
Like Sandberg, Johnson also paid his dues in the minors and led his Triple-A team to a first place finish before taking over the Mets. I look at Sandberg and I see a younger version of Davey Johnson; a great second baseman who played the game hard and with great fire and determination. A scrappy player turned manager awaiting the opportunity to guide a major league team to a World Series.
Sandberg is as intense as Wally Backman and more experienced, but comes without any of the risk or baggage. He is intelligent, confident and understands the fundamentals of the game like Bobby Valentine, but doesn’t have the desire to be the main attraction and center of attention.
You want someone who can emphasize playing solid defense to Wright, Bay and Reyes? Sandberg has nine gold gloves to back him up…
You want someone who can teach this team the importance of fundamentals on the basepaths and the art of stealing bases? Sandberg has 344 career stolen bases to back him up…
You want someone who can get some of our players to elevate their game and performance level? Sandberg has 10 All Star selections to back him up…
Once Sandy Alderson is named GM, something that I expect to be announced in the next 10-14 days, his first order of business will be to hire the next manager of the Mets.
I hope he has his eyes on Ryne Sandberg, a worthy candidate who will be out to prove the Cubs made the wrong choice… A Hall of Famer who will command immediate respect and bring an air of professionalism and class to an organization with a terrible image problem… A class act with no skeletons in the closet, no arrest record, and no exorbitant salary demands.
Ryne Sandberg has what the Mets need the most right now; a winning attitude backed up by a lifetime of overachieving, integrity and excellence.