Piniella’s Gone, Cubs begin Search for new Manager

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It’s official – the post-game press conference at Wrigley Field is going to be a hell of a lot less interesting next season. And if the product on the field is worth a damn, Cubs fans and the media covering them won’t mind a bit.

Lou Piniella announced today this season will be his last as Cubs manager, with the next few months serving as his farewell tour. Piniella’s announcement comes in the midst of what has been one of the most joyless seasons at the corner of Clark and Addison in recent memory. The atmosphere both on the field and in the stands at Wrigley has been more mausoleum than mayhem this season.

Matt Lindner’s first in a six part series highlighting who could be the Cubs‘ next skipper.

It’s a move that almost seemed inevitable in the wake of a season that has brought us yet another epic meltdown by Carlos Zambrano and uninspired play by a team failing yet again to live up to the promise of the astronomical payroll. Now, the fan base that is perpetually looking toward next year turns their attention in that direction once again. The postseason isn’t entirely out of the question this season, but given the way things have gone for the Cubs this year, many fans are ready to raise one more Old Style and pack it in already, ready to see what some of the kids down on the farm can do. And if all the hype surrounding the club’s minor league talent is in any way validated.

But that’s another posting for another day.

Right now, we’re going to turn our attention to the possible candidates for the Cubs’ pending managerial vacancy. In particular, five favorites have emerged early on – Joe Girardi, Bob Brenly, Ryne Sandberg, Pat Listach, and Alan Trammell. And then there is of course the field.

Given the prestige surrounding the organization along with the potential to establish oneself as a baseball legend for finally sating the club’s 100+ year drought, there are going to be any number of high-profile outsiders angling for this job.

That despite the fact that regardless of how brilliant or talented the baseball man who enters that office is, he is almost certainly doomed to fail and be run out of town just as quickly as he is hailed the club’s next savior. Just like Don Baylor, Dusty Baker, Don Zimmer.

In fact, can you name the longest tenured Cubs’ manager in the past 30 years and how long he lasted? That answer will surprise you and it’s coming at the end of this series. So without further ado, let’s get on to the candidates.

Check back tomorrow for the first two candidates

Matt Lindner is a contributor to ESPN.com and MLB.com

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