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Ryne Sandberg still in line to manage Phillies?

By bullpenbrian - March 18, 2013 - 11:00 am Leave a comment.

Ryne Sandberg | Philadelphia Phillies

Ryne Sandberg is going to be the next manager of the Phillies, right?

At least this was the general consensus when the Phillies promoted Ryno to third-base coach this winter after spending the last two seasons managing the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

It only seems to make sense Sandberg will make a seamless transition to replace current manager Charlie Manuel, who’s 69-years-old (the second oldest manager in baseball behind 70-year-old Davey Johnson in Washington) and in the final season of his contract.

But Manuel recently offered a different view. ”I still want to manage,” Manuel told The Associated Press. ”I’m not ready for somebody to tell me to go home. I’m not ready to quit managing. I’m not ready to get out of the game.”

Manuel may be old in years, but his success with the Phils can’t be ignored. During his eight-year run he’s become the franchise’s all-time leader in wins, led the team to five consecutive NL East division titles, two pennants and one World Series championship.

That’s not a manager you push out the door easily.

However, the Phillies’ .500 finish last season was largely viewed as a disappointment, despite the fact several starters missed significant time due to injury (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, et al).

With the Phillies’ roster the fifth oldest in baseball entering the season, there’s speculation it’s time for Philly to hit the reset button and begin reloading their roster with younger talent–and with a fresh, younger manager like Sandberg to guide the ship.

But given Manuel’s desire to sign a contract extension, if offered one, and his past success, it’s very possible Manuel will be skippering the club next year, or for several more seasons.

Additionally, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has said Ryno was promoted without any guarantee of taking over as manager. ”The fact of the matter is he’s not the heir apparent. We made no promises to Ryne Sandberg.”

Considering Sandberg’s extended stay in the minor leagues and having been passed over numerous times for big-league manager positions, it’s hard to believe Sandberg will choose to wait in the wings for Manuel to walk away from the dugout on his own terms, whenever that may be.

Should the Phillies tank badly under Manuel in the early going it could prompt the club to dismiss him mid-season. Then perhaps, Ryno is awarded his major league managing opportunity. But such a scenario of cutting ties with Manuel before season’s end seems unlikely.

Instead, maybe it’s time to start thinking of Sandberg as a replacement for other big-league managers who are on the hot seat, or on the brink of retirement (*), which could include:

Colorado – Walt Weiss
New York – Terry Collins
Pittsburgh  – Clint Hurdle
Los Angeles – Don Mattingly
Kansas City – Ned Yost
*Detroit – Jim Leyland
*Washington – Davey Johnson

I’m still slightly shocked Sandberg isn’t a major league manager. What more does the man have to prove?

What I do know is Sandberg will be a big-league manager some day. But the when and where, however, seems as unclear as ever.


Ryne Sandberg Moving Up, Moving On Post Cubs

By bullpenbrian - February 10, 2013 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

Ryne Sandberg Cubs
Hard to believe Ryne Sandberg isn’t part of the Cubs organization.
Even harder to believe Jim Hendry passed him over for Mike Quade.

Ryne did all the Cubs asked of him as a minor league skipper. He won games, developed players and gave fans a reason to flock to the ballpark. Not to mention, twice winning a Manager of the Year Award (2010-11).

What more could Sandberg have done?
What else did he need to prove?

Hendry of course had his reasons for choosing Quade as Cubs manager. It was the players, after all, who wanted Quade back after he replaced Sweet Lou in August. But that shouldn’t have mattered, Sandberg was the
no-brain decision.

Hendry’s hire to replace Piniella would be a final attempt to maintain his tenure with the Cubs. He needed to choose the right guy, his job depended on it, but ultimately, he picked the wrong one and sank to the bottom with Quade. Less than a year later Hendry was ousted, then Quade…and any bridge the Cubs had with Sandberg was badly burned.

When Sandberg wasn’t the right fit for Team Theo, essentially being snubbed a second time by the Cubs, he transitioned to the Phillies where he spent another year managing at Triple-A before a promotion to the bigs this winter. He’ll serve as Charlie Manuel’s 3B coach and bench coach, presumably until Manuel retires, gets fired or otherwise (Manuel has one year remaining on his contract).

In an interview with Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald, sections of which are posted below, it seems Sandberg has found piece of mind with Philadelphia. He sounds like a guy who feels appreciated, counted on and wanted. Imagine that, a Hall of Fame player who’s excelled as a minor league skipper being coveted by a major league team. What took so long?

Of all teams, the Cubs should have known better than anyone what they were losing by passing on Ryno the first time. And I’ve got a feeling when Sandberg does become a manger, for the Phillies or elsewhere, he’s going to remind the Cubs and baseball they shouldn’t have been so obtuse.

-Ryne Sandberg

  • "I see myself reaching goals and being where I want to be, and that’s in the major leagues," Sandberg said Tuesday while visiting family here in Chicago. "I fulfilled that goal with the Phillies.
  • "I would think that wouldn’t have happened with the Cubs, so with what I want to do with my career, which is stay in the game and get back to the majors, I’ve been able to do that with the Phillies and it feels very good."
  • "My six years in the minors were a great learning experience and it’s prepared me for my job this year, and prepared me to take on more responsibilities,"
  • "The dream of the ring is what keeps me going, keeps me driving forward. That, combined with the relationship I have with the Phillies, and being back in the game, being part of this coaching staff, is a big part of it."
  • "Through the two years with the Phillies, it has felt like I was being welcomed back, by the fans and the entire Phillies organization," Sandberg said. "The Phillies have a way of making everyone feel like they’re a part of something bigger, that your job — no matter what it is — is part of the Phillies trying to win the World Series.
  • "They give you responsibility and they want your input. It’s a great feeling. It’s great to be a part of it. It feels like home to me."

Ryne Sandberg Back In The Bigs

By bullpenbrian - October 5, 2012 - 4:15 am Leave a comment.

Congrats to Ryne Sandberg for being named the new third base coach of the Philadelphia Phillies.

It’s been frustrating watching Sandberg get passed over time and time again for a big league coaching position.

However, his latest promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley appears to have positioned Ryno to take over the reins for incumbent manager Charlie Manuel, whose contract expires after next season.

I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandberg replaces Manuel even earlier if the Phillies struggle out of the gate in 2013.

Here’s wishing Ryno all the best, except when the Phillies face the Cubs, of course!


MLB Playoffs Game 5

By bullpenbrian - October 6, 2011 - 3:01 pm Leave a comment.

We knew the MLB Postseason would have a hard time surpassing, let alone matching, the high drama of last Wednesday’s playoff push.

However, for just the second time since 1995 three of the four Division Series are headed to a decisive Game 5, the first of which begins tonight at Yankee Stadium.

The last time this happened was 2001. Aside from Atlanta sweeping Houston 3-0, Arizona defeated St. Louis in five games, Seattle bested Cleveland 3-2, and New York rallied from an 0-2 hole to take the series against Oakland.

But the excitement was short lived with both league championship series ending in five games: Arizona defeating Atlanta 4-1, and New York doing the same against Seattle.

Conversely, under the shadow of 9/11, the postseason closed with one of the more memorable World Series in recent memory: the Diamondbacks winning a seven-games series against the Yankees.

Obviously, there are no guarantees this Fall Classic will follow suite with 2001. But so far, baseball’s playoffs are living up to the hype!


Cards Have Upper Hand On Philly

By bullpenbrian - October 3, 2011 - 1:31 am Leave a comment.

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Cliff Lee with an early 4-0 lead is suppose to be money in the bank. But those pesky Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 win to tie the series at 1-1. Dang it!

The Cards Game 2 win is arguably the biggest victory for any team this postseason, especially considering the series now shifts to Busch Stadium for Games 3 & 4.

At the very least, it’s yet another example of St. Louis’ ‘never say die’ attitude that carried them past Atlanta this September and perhaps to the NLCS and beyond.

What’s more, the Cardinals have a quite confidence knowing they took the season series 6-3 vs. Philly, including a crucial mid-September set in Philadelphia, in which they won 3 of 4 and defeated both Hamels and Halladay.

A split of the first two games squarely puts the pressure on Philadelphia, who carries not only the major’s best record (102-60), but also the lofty expectations of not just reaching, but winning, the Fall Classic.

As a Cubs fan, obviously, I can’t stand the thought of St. Louis advancing to play either Milwaukee or Arizona. But given the importance of its stunning victory Sunday night, I wouldn’t bet against LaRussa’s boys to do so.


Cubs Win With Patience

By bullpenbrian - September 6, 2011 - 2:38 am 1 comment.

A lack of plate patience has been yet another on-going problem for the Cubs this season.

Chicago’s free swinging and overly aggressive approach does a lot to explain why the Cubs stink at hitting with runners on base.

When you don’t have a lineup that’s collectively working the count, you don’t work the opposing pitcher. When you don’t work the opposing pitcher, you lesson his chances for making a mistake. And hitting the mistake pitch is often the difference maker in winning and losing games.


Utley On Pace To Set HR Record

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2009 - 12:49 am 1 comment.

Cliff Lee is deserving of all the love.

It’s pretty clear the Phillies get swept this series without him.

But don’t overlook the performance of Chase Utley, either. Yes,  the guy who’s just happened to tie Reggie Jackson’s 32-year-old record of five home runs in a world series.

Jackson led the ’77 Yankees to glory with home runs in Games 4, 5 & 6 against the Dodgers.

His three blasts at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 became the series’ lasting memory. He also earned the series’ MVP honors, too.

Utley’s blasts haven’t been as memorable, but no less important than Mr. October’s.

Two coming in Philly’s Game 1 win against CC Sabathia, one in Game 4 and two more in Game 5.


Yankees Win World Series, Unofficially

By bullpenbrian - November 2, 2009 - 1:05 am Leave a comment.

Three weeks ago I witnessed the Chicago Blackhawks’ biggest comeback victory in team history.

The Hawks rallied from five goals down to beat the Calgary Flames 6-5 in OT.

By NHL standards, a five-goal comeback is a rare feat, the same holding true for a 3-1 series deficit in baseball.

What I’m saying is, there’s not going to be a dramatic comeback by the Phillies.

At least not needing three-straight wins, two of which will have to come on the road at Yankee Stadium.

Sorry Philly fan, it ain’t happen’. Not with Brad Lidge closing, Cole Hamels’ pitching and the big-three collectively hitting worse than Nick Swisher.

The Yankees are too deep, A-Rod too great and the NY pitching staff too good for the Bombers to let this thing slip away.

Unless Cliff Lee is equally effective on zero days rest as he is on four, the Phillies are finished…defeated, dethroned.

It’s a rather rude greeting, but welcome back to old-times again baseball fans. Welcome back to baseball reality…the World Series is over: Yankees win, Yankees win, thaaa Yankees win.  Stinks, I know.


Kit Kat Bars & He-Man

By bullpenbrian - November 1, 2009 - 1:02 am Leave a comment.

I dressed as a skeleton for Halloween. It’s the same costume I wore last year, and the year before too.

Next Halloween I’ll break out the ol’ bones wrap yet again.

And why not? It fits perfectly, is light-weight and age-appropriate, as far as adult costumes are concerned!

Betcha didn’t know Kit Kat bars are my favorite Halloween candy, either. Loved them since I was playing Little League and dressing up as He-Man.

If Kit Kat bars were starting pitchers, I ate the entire rotation this afternoon. I just can’t help myself; they’re so darn tasty and chocolaty!

Meanwhile, have you any idea that nine of the past 10 teams to win Game 3 –with the World Series tied 1-1– have gone on to win the series?


Cliff Lee Yankees’ Daddy

By bullpenbrian - October 29, 2009 - 12:30 am Leave a comment.

Cliff Lee is the Yankees’ daddy.

The southpaw was simply spectacular in Game 1: nine innings, 122 pitches -80 for strikes- and just 32 batters faced, a mere five more than the minimum 27.

Lee’s been a Yankees killer throughout his career, too. The Bombers entered the game batting a meek .197 all-time against the left-hander, and it showed Wednesday night.

The lone Yankee exception is Derek Jeter who’s found some measure of career success against Lee batting 11-for-27 entering Game 1 of the World Series.

Jeter, in fact, improved on his mark with three hits, two singles and a double, not that it mattered much on the scoreboard.

It’s likely Lee gets two more starts in the series. And if the Yanks can’t figure Lee out in at least one of those starts, Philadelphia repeats as world champions with Lee earning the series MVP Award.

Who’s your daddy now New York!


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