Wow. What to say.

For anyone in Cub-land who lives in a cave or doesn’t have electricity, the Cubs announced Tuesday that Mike Quade would indeed be retaining his job as manager.  Not, as many believed, losing it to HOF 2B Ryne Sandberg.

Many Cubs fans wanted an answer sooner rather than later, but as always, Cubs fans should be careful what they wish for.

I didn’t think in 102 years this was how it would happen. I’m pretty sure my Las Vegas ticket would have looked more like this:

1. Joe Girardi (only if he was interested and GM Jim Hendry offered enough cash)
2. Ryne Sandberg
3. Eric Wedge
4. Mike Quade

Girardi was a longshot to begin with, so my money was on Sandberg. As in, I would have bet my next paycheck (although I don’t make much) that it would have been Sandberg before Quade, for countless reasons posted here and elsewhere.

A couple points of fun speculation:

This announcement makes me wonder if Carrie Muskat ( isn’t really running the team.

She’s the only pundit who had consistently (even before the season was over) touted Quade as the favorite.

Question: If Quade was the choice, why was the wait so long for Hendry to finish his exhaustive search? 

Completely-made-up-speculative answer: The team finally got word from Girardi, one way or the other (Yankee GM Brian Cashman?), that he wasn’t leaving New York, which made the decision for them and left just Q and Ryno.

That, or Cashman just sent Hendry a copy of his bank statement with a polite note that said, “Don’t bother.”

I hope that they convince Sandberg to become part of the coaching staff. The question is, will they offer and will he accept?

I think the offer will come, because I think his pride has been damaged enough that he’ll manage AAA somewhere else (or even take the proverbial “time off”  or analyst job) before he goes back to Iowa.  He’ll leave if even just to spite the organization, and I think Hendry knows it.

The quotes are looking like he really wanted this (on a personal level, as a Cub, not just the MLB-level job) and telling him, “Well, just stick it out back at Iowa,” is going to be the right answer.

The only way to even attempt to remedy this move with Sandberg is put him on the MLB staff.

Conveniently, that’s in everybody’s favor; the team saves face, Ryno’s in the bigs, and he’s right there for if/when Quade tanks. He’s obviously not dumb, and would be a great counterpart to Quade; the “baseball lifer” along with the HOF player.

Heck, I’m just wondering who’ll play them both when the Broadway play opens after the two of them lead the team to glory.

And if he really wants the job, that isn’t an illogical next step towards it. It’d be a high-profile, forgone conclusion that he’s next, a la Don Mattingly in L.A. (once he followed Joe Torre out there).

The one wrench in this entire scenario?  When somebody (Toronto?) offers him the job this year, and he takes that instead.

And although I don’t think this is a royal snub from the Cubs to another hero (see Grace, Mark), it surely won’t sit well with the Cubs faithful if that’s how it goes down.

Furthermore, if I’m Quade, I’m not 100 percent sure I’d have accepted the job. He won’t be fighting 102 years of futility next year; he’ll be battling against the specter of the manager that wasn’t in Ryne Sandberg. 

If Quade doesn’t at least get the Cubs to the World Series in the next two years, no matter what else he does or has done, he’ll simply be the (fill in the blank) that the team hired instead of Ryne-motherloving-Sandberg.  He’s got to compete against potential, which is one of the hardest things in life.

Especially in Cub-land. Chicago Cub fans live on potential, so much so, that many years that’s all that keeps them coming back. 

So let Cub Hope begin anew, my friends, as we look toward next year.

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