So Ryne Sandberg finally gets the Big Chair, and wouldn't you know it, it just seems wrong. Philadelphia, not Chicago? The City of Brotherly Loathe, and not the Friendly Confines?
Just ain't right.
And, listen, it's all water under the bridge, the Cubs' snubbing of their favorite son. But how does throwing him over for Dale What's-His-Name look now, hindsight being 20-20? Think Ryno couldn't have been better than 53-68 at this point, on the north side of Chicago? Think he couldn't have been better than 18 1/2 games adrift in the NL Central?
Instead, he winds up taking over a Phillies team that's even worse than the Cubs, 20 games out in the NL East and sinking like a stone. And not even as the permanent manager, but as a temp just to get them through the season.
You'd like to think he'll do well enough in the last six weeks to convince the Phillies to give the job to him full-time, but it wasn't a particularly impressive coming-out party for him today. It might sound comfortingly old school to start off by saying the players need to "dig deeper" and "play with pride" and "play with heart", but old school's an iffy proposition in today's bigs. Sandberg sounded more like a Little League coach than a big-league manager, frankly.
That said ... maybe he's the guy who can sell all those comfortable millionaires on the old school virtues, since no one embodied them better than Ryno. The best leaders lead by example, after all. And no one set a better one.