Cubs’ Ownership Decrees Jim Hendry Will Come Back To Fix the Mess He Made

No one wants to be a giant pessimist about their team.

The Cubs are trying hard to send their fans in that direction though.

On a day where Lou Piniella said that he would be retiring after this season of managing the Chicago Cubs — and who could blame him, really? — the Ricketts’ family also announced that Jim Hendry would be retained for next season.

Now, part of me thinks that this is a stupid idea, but the other part thinks maybe this is more of a punishment for Hendry. A sort of, “If you don’t clean your room, mister, you’re going to bed without dessert!” situation.

Because THAT, my friends, is the only way this move makes any sense.

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Cubs Managerial Candidates: Alan Trammell & the rest of the Field

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Alan Trammell: The Bench Coach

Trammell is likely salivating at the idea of making a different kind of managerial history this time around. During his first season as manager of his beloved Tigers, he led a woeful roster to an American League-record 119 losses. He’d eventually turn things around in his final two seasons, with seasons of 72 and 71 wins but his teams never finished any higher than fourth place. Still, he’s got an established rapport with this group of players.

He’s earned the respect of the front office and the team for his work as the Cubs’ bench coach over the years. He is also – to a far lesser extent – the Tigers’ equivalent of Ron Santo, a beloved player who amassed solid numbers over the years that many think should have earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame. He’s won as a player and there’s been no reason to doubt he could win as a manager as well. Besides, I don’t think anyone short of John McGraw or Joe Torre could have done a better job with the Tigers squads of the mid-2000s that Trammell was saddled with.

Matt Lindner’s conclusion of a five part series highlighting who could be the Cubs‘ next skipper.

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Cubs Managerial Candidates: Pat Listach, Bob Brenly

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Pat Listach: The Dark Horse

The 1992 American League Rookie of the Year with the Milwaukee Brewers is probably the most interesting candidate on this list. Listach’s playing career flamed out early, but his coaching career has been thriving. Because for as many organizational dues as Ryne Sandberg has paid over the past few years, Listach has him beat several times over. Listach spent six years as a batting coach for Cubs’ minor league affiliates before getting his first managerial gig at AA West Tennessee in 2006. From there, he established himself as one of the best coaches in the entire Cubs’ system, leading Iowa to an 83-59 finish in 2008 and earning Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors.

What’s he been up to since? Former Cubs manager Jim Riggleman (more on him in a moment) brought him to Washington as the Nationals’ third base coach, one of the key spots on any Major League coaching staff. He’s got a rock solid reputation amongst the players he’s coached and the coaches he’s worked with. While he’s probably the least sexy choice on this list, he’s certainly done enough for the Cubs to at least have his name be thrown in the hat.

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

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Cubs Managerial Candidate: Joe Girardi

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This hire almost makes too much sense. Joe Girardi is a Chicago guy through and through. He starred at Northwestern and came up through the Cubs system. He has long openly coveted the Cubs’ managerial job even while with other organizations. When he was a Cubs catcher, he was a fan favorite for his hard-nosed style of play and cerebral approach to the game.

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

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Cubs Managerial Candidate: Ryne Sandberg

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Just two years ago, more than 33,000 fans showed up at Wrigley Field just to watch Ryne Sandberg manage his Class-A Peoria Chiefs in a game against the Kane County Cougars. Sandberg is the Cubs’ most recent Hall of Fame inductee and a fan favorite. He’s certainly paid his organizational dues as well, having now managed Cubs minor league affiliates at every level but Rookie ball. He’s familiar with the young talent and his name certainly carries a lot of weight with the players. He has also openly coveted the job since the moment he announced his retirement from the game.

Hiring him would go a long way towards erasing whatever bad vibes have been created by the team’s lackluster play this season.

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

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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.

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White Sox Ruin Cubs’ 20,000th Franchise Game

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It’s fitting that a pitiful franchise synonymous with losing would lose their landmark game. The Chicago Cubs tonight became the first major league franchise to reach 20,000 regular season games played when they were beaten by the Chicago White Sox 3-2. The Sox win gives them the BP Crosstown Cup  for the first time in the trophy history. (And what says prestigious trophy better than “BP.”) It was also the Sox 8th win in their last 9 tries over the Cubs. Cubs players and field staff will wore patches with a unique “20,000th Game” logo to commemorate the milestone.

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A’s Adam Rosales enjoys Wrigley Field Homecoming

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The interleague series between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics at Wrigley Field this past week was especially important to A’s utility infielder Adam Rosales. Before he made his way into the Major Leagues, he attended Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Illinois and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

“This was where I came to my first major league baseball game, when I was five or six years old,” Rosales told me in the Oakland dugout Wednesday night before the game. “I grew up a Cubs fan, now I’m a Wrigley Field fan,” he continued.

By Paul M. Banks

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Ryan Dempster key to any Cubs Turnaround

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“Not many people care more than he does,” Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry said of Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster.

The quirky, emotionally expressive hurler is known for both his interesting sense of humor and his burning desire. A native of Gibsons, British Columbia, he’s the team leader in quality starts and innings pitched. In addition to shouldering a lot of the burden on the field, he sometimes carries the load from a media/public/fan relations perspective.

Following his start Wednesday night, a win over Oakland, he was asked about the heat the Cubs are taking from fans and media lately. Specifically, if people are making macrolevel issues out of microlevel mishaps. (but not exactly in those words)

“Maybe the drought of not winning a championship here in so long makes things magnified a little bit more, but as players we don’t think that way,” Dempster responded.

By Paul M. Banks

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