Friday, February 4, 2011

Vine Line Finally Succeeds in Cheering Me Up

The crippling Cubs funk I've been experiencing may be coming to an end!  No, it isn't because pitchers and catchers report soon.  Oddly enough, Kris tossed the new February edition of Vine Line to me and I didn't immediately put it in the trash.  I picked it up and started to thumb through it and found myself wonderfully cheered up.

I actually didn't even get much further than the Letters to the Editor.  That page containing the musings of Vine Line readers was pure gold, resulting in a tangible rise in my overall mood. 

The letters are all great and actually represent a nice cross-section of the demographic that the Ricketts are targeting with their "It's a Way of Life" campaign. 

One praised the previous edition's interview of Ken Burns.  I didn't read said article, but I can only assume that it was so great because Vine Line edited Ken Burns' eight-hour responses down to a few sentences, and if so, I'd have to agree that it would have been a job well done.

One letter accompanied a submitted photo of a Cubs hat on a rusted out Japanese Zero airplane from World War II.  Damned if I know why the photographer thought an interesting piece of history needed a Cubs hat on it, but there it was.

Another letter talked about how the Cubs got blown out too many times, but that when the writer of the letter attended five road games the Cubs won two of them and were competitive in the other three.  Again, I didn't really see this guy's point other than vaguely hunting around for someone to say, "Well we should have this guy go to all the games because he seems to be a key to the Cubs... well, not winning exactly... but the key to being pretty darn close to winning... or something! Let's give him free tickets!"

Another letter announced that when former Cubs pitcher, Gene Fodge, passed away, they played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" as sung by Harry Caray at the funeral.  What a tremendous tribute to a former Cub to play a recording by a man who was in the middle of his St. Louis Cardinals' broadcasting career when Fodge was last a player for the Cubs in 1958. 

But my favorite letter was from Garey of Janesville, Wisconsin:

As a lifelong Cubs fan I was totally shocked to see Ryne Sandberg go to the Phillies.

It was shocking.  I was shocked that the Phillies wanted him too.

This has to be the biggest mistake since the Lou Brock trade -

Let's just gloss over the fact that you don't consider letting Greg Maddux walk away after winning a Cy Young for nothing a bigger mistake than trading a prospect that the Cubs (and fans and media at the time) had given up on for a veteran pitcher and move on, shall we?

- how could the Cubs ever allow such a thing to happen?

So, you don't mind the 102 years of losing, the pimping of a playground for douchebags as "A Way of Life," treatment of their players as children, treatment of the paying fans like they are curly hairs in the shit on their shoes, or the lack of anything that resembles a plan to change any of that, but letting Ryne Sandberg manage a AAA team for another franchise is the worst thing to ever happen to the franchise?

I believe Mike Quade will make a very good manager,

Well then, what is your problem?  The Cubs have, in your opinion, a very good manager at the helm.  What could possibly be the matter with that?

but Sandberg would have been an asset as bench coach for the Cubs.

OK, Garey, I'm going to give you a hypothetical situation.  Suppose you took over the duties of a superior who suddenly left your company and you did that job very well.  Everyone says so.  The people who report to you like you.  Your bosses are happy with the results you have given them in your short time on the job. Everyone who interacts with your company agrees that you are doing a great job.

Now let's say there is another guy that everyone assumed would get the job instead of you.  Everyone really likes this guy too, and he's done everything the company has asked of him while making it well known that he wants the job you currently have.  He even thought that the head boss had made an unspoken pact to promote him when your old boss left the company.

Would you want that guy as your right hand man looking over your shoulder and analyzing every mistake you make because deep down he wants your job?  And would he want to play second fiddle to you since he probably thinks he deserves to be in your position in the first place?  I have a hard time thinking of a scenario where the realistic answer to either of those questions is yes.  The bench coach position was never a realistic option, Garey.  So lets stop acting like the world is going to end because a former player with no actual major league managing experience went to find a position with another team that would more realistically end in his final goal of becoming a manager at the major league level.  No puppies were hurt in this turn of events.  Get over it.

I have every copy of Vine Line.

Well, that actually explains alot.


Kin said...

I would have to say that I thought not hiring Sandberg wasn't that bad on its own. However, the way it was handled was all wrong. It seems to me that Hendry and the Cubs front office has issues with confrontation...kind of like how they dealt with Milton Bradley and Zambrano, and now with Ryno. They just don't talk to you, and then hope you'll go away on your own. There's just something wrong with the Cubs' PR, but maybe that's just me.

Aisle 424 said...

The Sandberg thing was botched from the start. When he first expressed interest in the manager's job, I don't think that they figured 1) that Lou Piniella would be leaving a team that was in ruins, thus paving the way for a coach from his staff to slide into the position to keep the success running, 2) Sandberg would actually go down to the minors at all, or 3) that he would actually have a fair amount of success down there if he did go.

So then the big confrontation happened and they had to make a choice and they clearly never wanted Sandberg. That was crappy on their part. But let's face it, that decision didn't irreparably change the course of Cub history from huge success to utter failure. Like I mentioned, the mistreatment of Sandberg would probably not even break my Top Ten Cubs mistakes (and I was a HUGE Ryne Sandberg fan - he was my favorite player of the 80s).

wpbc said...

the cubs made a business decision. companies have to do this every day when they hire people. the outcry from cub fans like they 'wronged' sandberg is comical.

most minor league managers that manage four years are not promoted to major league manager. thems the facts. sandberg should be happy he got a big league interview at this point in his career. now what the guy should do is get himself on a big league staff somewhere and get out of the minors.

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