Making the rounds at his first Winter Meetings as a big-league manager, the Chicago Cubs‘ new skipper Rick Renteria just completed one of his first on-air interviews in his new role. From a fan’s perspective, it did not project much confidence or that warm and fuzzy feeling.
Renteria does, however, deserve the benefit of the doubt this season, and we will see how the season plays out in his first year. The bar is not set very high within the division as the team is still building up a competitive club. But during an interview talking about all of the places to eat in Chicago is not going to get fans excited. One of his first acts as manager was texting some of the players “What are you going to do and sacrifice?” That is not going to cut it for a fan base that is long overdue for a World Series Championship.
It seems that Renteria is a players’ manager, but this team will need someone to not only develop the young talent that the Cubs have ready to burst but also give them an edge. The Cubs are the “Loveable Losers” because they are perceived to not have an edge. Former manager Lou Piniella had that edge, and the team had two playoff seasons during his tenure.
Renteria will have connections with Anthony Rizzo from their days in the San Diego Padres organization and also with the Dominican players the Cubs have such as Starlin Castro. The hope is that he will be able to motivate the team’s two offensive leaders to put up All-Star caliber numbers. In that regard, I believe he will find success as Rizzo and Castro should have great 2014 campaigns. But the team will also need more then just a few texts to show signs of truly progressing.
As a fan, I will always give the organization the benefit of the doubt. I understand the process and building that the team is developing, and the future does appear to be bright with the minor league talent waiting to come aboard. However, when the manager is talking about places to eat on Michigan Avenue it is not a good start to the season. Cub fans will need more than a deep-dish pizza until the talent shows up for all of the day games and sunshine at Wrigley Field.
Nick Schaeflein is a Chicago Cubs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.