The Philadelphia Phillies have moved on from long-time skipper Charlie Manuel. The aging manager had been nothing but good for the club over the past nine seasons, but things are currently very stale in the city of brotherly love. It was no doubt time for a change of pace, and that change of pace will be Ryne Sandberg. And now for something completely different…
Sandberg will get his first crack at being a big league manager, something the Chicago Cubs weren’t prepared to let him do. The legendary Cubs’ second baseman was a candidate to fill the team’s vacant manager position back in 2010, but Chicago decided to go in a different direction (Mike Quade). Sandberg was clearly not happy with his former team’s decision to pick another rookie manger over him, so he left town to join the Phillies organization.
The Hall of Fame second baseman led the minor league Leigh Valley IronPigs to their first ever playoff appearance in 2011 and was subsequently named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America. In October 2012, he was promoted to be an infield instructor and third base coach for the Phillies. Now just 10 months later, he’s running the show.
Looking back, I guess the writing was on the wall. Sandberg was going to be the next manager all along, but many people didn’t see it happening this soon. However, the Phillies are a team currently sliding down the ranks in the NL, so why change things up a bit?
Sandberg has wanted to be a big league manger for a long time now. The Cubs wouldn’t give him that chance, but his other former team finally has. That sometimes gets lost in the mix, but it must be noted that Sandberg spent the first year of his career in Philadelphia back in 1981. It will be interesting to see if the Cubs’ decision to pass on him as a manager, will prove to be another huge mistake. The Phillies now have a guy at the helm with all the tools to be successful. The question is – can a rookie manger regroup a bunch of guys who were atop the league not that long ago?