When the Cubs chose Mike Quade instead of Ryne Sandberg to fill the Cubs managerial opening, the writing was on the wall that Sandberg would leave the Cubs organization. That reality became official on Wednesday afternoon when the Cubs announced that Sandberg declined the opportunity to manage the Triple-A Iowa Cubs for a 2nd straight season. GM Jim Hendry had this to say about the announcement: “The Iowa decision was totally his. We gave him as much time on his decision as he needed to. He’ll always be a beloved Cub… I don’t think it was ever in his plans to be in the minor leagues after this year. Whatever opportunities he looks to is up to him. He’ll always be welcome here. He knows that for the future, if he chooses he wants to come to spring training, that would be great. If he wants to pursue opportunities with someone else that would be up to him..
Owner Tom Ricketts echoed those sentiments on ESPN Radio 1000’s “Afternoon Saloon” show later that afternoon: “There’s no good-bye. He’s a Cubs. He’ll be a Cub for life… If he would like to explore some options with other teams to pursue some other opportunities that doesn’t really change anything with respect to what he has accomplished for the team or what he means to the team. If that’s his decision then I wish him all the best, and he’s a Cub forever.”
Sandberg managed in the Cubs minor league system for the past 4 seasons. He led Double-A Tennessee to the playoffs in 2009 and he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year as he led the Iowa Cubs to and 82-62 record during the 2010 baseball season. Sandberg was a 10-time All-Star during his Cubs career. He won the 1984 National League MVP Award as the Cubs won the NL East title for the 1st time since 1945. Sandberg also won 9 Gold Glove Awards for his solid play at 2nd base.
It is a sad day, but not an unexpected one. Let’s hope the Ricketts’ family has a plan here on the North Side. With all the trades last year, a whole new coaching staff and a brand new ownership team still learning the ins and outs of running a major league baseball team, Tom Ricketts clearly has his work cut out for him. I’m not expecting a major turnaround in a year, but we need to see things move in a positive direction in the very near future so that we can start to get excited about rooting for a good Cubs team again.