One thing we know for sure at this point – new Cubs Manager Mike Quade has the respect and backing of all of his players. Just a day after Ryan Dempster spoke about about what a great manager Quade is, Dempster added a few more praises and Koyie Hill echoed Dempster’s sentiments.
Dempster pointed out that Quade has what it takes to win despite the pressures of managing the Cubs on the North Side of Chicago at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field where expectations are always sky high: “Winning cures everything. It makes you feel better — it’s more fun to go to the ballpark. I think he just brought that out in us before we started winning. He made it fun when his record was 0-0. There are a lot of pressures that come with playing here and managing here and coaching here, and I know he’s as good as anybody to handle that.”
Catcher Koyie Hill endorsed the Quade hire even though his childhood hero growing up was Ryne Sandberg, who lost out on the manager’s job to Quade – “Let’s get one thing straight — Sandberg was my favorite player growing up. That’s why I wanted to be a Cub. We have the same agent. We’ve gone to dinner together over the last 12 years. I love the guy. He’s helped me a great deal, talking to him and being around him in Spring Training. I’ve never played for Sandberg. I was a big supporter of Quade. The players, to a man, were big supporters of Quade. There were a lot of great candidates, but we were all pulling for ‘Q’… I know Sandberg is an iconic figure in the Cubs organization, and we all understand that. It’s nothing against him at all. What you saw the last six weeks was as much a part of Q being in charge as it was us playing together. I think it goes hand in hand and we’re all real happy for Q.”
While Quade is an unknown, it seems like he has the backing of management and his players heading into the 2011 season. I know he built some good capital by winning 24 of 37 games down the stretch, but that was a different beast than during the 1st 4 months of the season. The team had nothing to lose – they were out of playoff contention and they knew there was no chance of making the playoffs. Without that pressure, sometimes it’s easier to take it one day at a time and put a good streak or 2 together. I’m holding off judgment until we hit at least the All-Star Break in 2011. Don’t get me wrong, I hope Quade succeeds. But with that roster and the inability of the Cubs to do too much to tweak that roster because of so many bad contracts, I have my doubts.