A day after introducing Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod as his new general manager and head of scouting/player development, Cubs’ baseball president Theo Epstein announced that manager Mike Quade will not be retained for 2012 and that the new manager will be someone with previous major league managerial experience, i.e., not Ryne Sandberg.
Clearly, Epstein & Co. are eager to blaze their own trail in leading the Cubs to the baseball promised land and it will be no sentimental journey. Cubbie blue is being replaced by a different shade, more akin to IBM’s big blue, not only because there is an emphasis on computerized statistics, but any warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia will be found only at the gift shop, not on the field or in the front office.
Tuesday’s press conference suggested as much as Epstein, who did most of the relevant talking, indicated that third baseman Aramis Ramirez, now a free agent, will have to loaf for some other organization for the remainder of his baseball daze. Same goes for Carlos Zambrano once Theo can figure out the most cost effective way of ridding the Cubs of at least part of his bloated contract to some other club. And Kerry Wood, welcome to your post baseball, broadcasting career.
Using this very recent past as prologue, one can assume that if left fielder for life, Alfonso Soriano, can possibly be pawned away along with his seemingly perpetual contract leftover from the Jim Hendry era, Theo will make it happen. And nice guy that he is, Ryan Dempster, your $14 million salary for 2012 is not in line with your abilities, so you could be next to go.
Epstein and his band of Boston brothers are cutting through the ivy vines of Cubbie tradition with a reaper-like scythe and trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath, fermenting since that sour vintage year of ’69, are stored. Like truth, the Cubs organization will go marching on, but the beat of this drummer is something no one has witnessed in their Chicago baseball watching lifetimes.
To which, all Cubs fans, should shout loudly from their Wrigleyville rooftops, in joyous rapture! At long last, smart, motivated young men of vision have seen the Cubs’ empire for what it is and have decided that like the legendary emperor with no clothes, it must be revealed in naked truth as a sham and completely rebuilt.
The times, are indeed, a-changin’ at Wrigley Field this fall. Determined that the old road/way of doing things is rapidly aging, the poet’s admonition “get out of the new one/if you can’t lend your hand” seems to fit this new Cubs’ organization. And it could lead to the most exciting story in MLB sooner rather than later.