New general manager Theo Epstein made it official on Wednesday: the Chicago Cubs managerial job is open. Epstein flew to Florida to inform Mike Quade that he was fired and then announced to the press that one guy who won't be interviewed for the job is franchise legend and current IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg.
Turns out Epstein wants a manager who already has major league experience which rules out Sandberg despite his successful first five years in the minor leagues. Ryno told Theo in a phone call that he understood, but the news comes as a big surprise to Cubs and Pigs fans who thought it was all but guaranteed that the Cubs Hall of Famer would return to Chicago to manage the team in 2012.
So if that wasn't shocking enough, news came out a few hours later that the Phillies granted the Cardinals permission to talk to Sandberg about their now vacant managerial position. The Cards didn't indicate if Sandberg is high on their list of candidates and it remains to be seen if he would break his Cubs allegiance and manage their arch-rivals. The Cardinals, Cubs, and Red Sox are the only three teams in baseball in need of a manager at this point.
With that the IronPigs have started an "Occupy Ryno" campaign with Ferrous and FeFe offering him a year's supply of pork if he stays. I don't think it's a coincidence that they started this right after Chicago turned him down. The Pigs' marketing team is one of, if not the best, in Minor League baseball. Sure they don't know all the details, but they are clearly feeling as well that a Sandberg return is possible. Otherwise they wouldn't waste the time.
You can answer the question "What would you give up to keep Ryne Sandberg as IronPigs manager" on the team's Facebook and Twitter pages for a chance to win prizes. They're also looking for creative pictures from fans which you can submit via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Of course the more important question is whether or not Delicious will return next year. No news on that at this point in time...
|Photo by Michael LoRe of The Express Times|