Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Is Pinella's time in Chicago running out?

The Chicago Cubs are soon to be sold to the Ameritrade founding Ricketts family for close to $900 million dollars.

The Ricketts will be the proud owners of Major League Baseball’s lovable losers. Their new acquisition packs Wrigley Field every game with some of the most die hard fans on the planet. These fans start every year filled with hope and promise and end it with pain and anguish.

The Cubs haven’t won a world championship in over 100 years, and it doesn’t look like they will be doing it this year either. They have turned underachieving into an art form

Whenever a personnel change is made in any sort of business, people will question what changes will this person make. So, when I heard the sale of the Cubs was soon to be final, I had to wonder what changes the Cubs will see.

One thing to wonder about is the security of manager Lou Pinella’s job.

Pinella was hired to replace Dusty Baker after the 2006 season after the Cubs had finished a dismal 17.5 games out of first place. He was hired to bring his fiery attitude to the south side of Chicago and bring a World Championship to the Cubs.

He has done well in the regular season, finishing in first place in each of his first two years in Chicago. However, he is 0-6 in the post season. Couple that with the Cubs disappointing season thus far in 2009 and that could spell trouble for Pinella.

A new owner may want to breathe new life into a franchise. Many times I’ve seen a new owner or general manager come into a franchise and hire somebody new to run the team. The Rickett family may want to bring in “their” guy to manage the Cubs.

If they do decide to bring in a new manger to lead the Cubs, I have the perfect candidate…Hall of Famer and former Cub Ryne Sandberg. For almost 3 seasons now he has been managing in the Cubs minor league system. He was 131-146 as manager of the Peoria Chiefs for 2 seasons and 31-27 thus far for the Tennessee Smokies in the 2009 season.

He would be a great guy to ring in the Rickett’s era of ownership with. He’s already got the managerial experience and has been coaching the next generation of Cubs players in the minors for the past 3 years. Being an iconic figure in Cubs history, Sandberg would generate the most excitement Cubs fans have ever had before. After Ernie Banks, I would say that Sandberg would be the next in line to be called “Mr. Cub”.

With 38 games left to go in the regular season, the Cubs are 9 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central division and 8.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies for the wild card. Barring a miraculous comeback, the Cubs will be watching the playoffs from home.

But let’s be honest…miraculous comeback and Chicago Cubs are words that are never said together.

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