Summing Up Sandberg
Jim Hendry says that he is in no rush to settle on and name Lou Piniella’s successor as the Cubs’ manager. Really? Then why travel all the way to Albuquerque to have lunch with Ryne Sandberg as Hendry did last week? Just to break the news gently that Ryno wouldn’t be called up to Chicago to peer over Mike Quade’s shoulder once Iowa’s season ended? I have a feeling that Sandberg believes, whether he’s been told so or not, that his laidbackness as a player has been a perceived weakness while he’s earned his managerial chops, so he’s sought to demonstrate that he can be fiery on an as needed basis. One of the things he may have been working on during his apprenticeship is the art of the timely ejection. As for Quade’s self-serving auditional mystery tour in Chicago, I’d be more inclined to give him points for a grandstand benching of Alfonso Soriano than the recently ballyhooed one of young Mr. Castro…
It looks like The Sandberg Effect was more pronounced on the PCL road than it was at home in Des Moines. The I-Cubs did go over the half million mark for the seventh time in franchise history, but fell well short of their all-time attendance record, partly because of the loss of a few dates to bad weather. The team also drew more than 500K on the road, something it did not do last year, to top the million mark with all games considered. Too bad for the team ownership that there’s no gate split in Triple A as there is in MLB…
How many autographs did the patient hall-of-famer sign? Well, here in Des Moines a fair estimate might be roughly 10,000. Here’s the math: Approximately 15 minutes per home date while the starting pitcher warmed up x approximately 70 dates = 1,050 minutes [17.5 hours] @ 10 autographs per minute [one every six seconds] = 600 signed per hour x 17.5 = 10,500. Throw in his road show and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandberg’s signing hand needs an off-season scoping to be ready for spring training…
Sandberg told the Des Moines Register that he thoroughly enjoyed his summer here and seemed to leave the door open for a possible encore depending on decisions made elsewhere. It will be interesting to see how much curiosity other teams with managerial openings have about Sandberg if he doesn’t get the job in Chicago. He’s said more than once that the Cubs are his preferred job but not the only one he’d take given other opportunities. It’s fair to say that the body of his work over the last four years stamps him as more than a pretty name. He deserves serious consideration and it would seem inevitable now that he will manage in the big leagues whether the Cubs hire him or not. Given that likelihood, do they dare let him get away now? Besides earning his bona fides as a teacher of young players, handler of pitchers and in-game tactician he also would be a gate draw, the turnstile numbers in Iowa notwithstanding, at a time when sellouts are no longer a foregone conclusion. And he knows the territory in Chicago! The fact that he will never be quoted as saying that he didn’t realize what he was getting into may be decisive in combination with all of his other credentials. If Hendry doesn’t get some back channel smoke signals that Girardi wants to talk when the Yankees are finished I can imagine him moving quickly to name Sandberg after the Cubs’ season finally and mercifully ends so the organization will have maximum time to huddle up and plot a course toward 2011. If he waits on Girardi and can’t get him he may come back to Sandberg and find him already gone to another team. Sandberg isn’t begging for a chance now, as he effectively was when Piniella was hired. He’s managed, if you will, some leverage since then.
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.