Ryne Sandberg questions Cubs' process
Ryne Sandberg was asked Tuesday if he believed the Chicago Cubs gave him a fair shake during the interview process for their managerial position, and Sandberg sounded as if he didn't believe his candidacy was taken seriously.
I think the most games anybody saw me manage was 4-5 games ... Based on that, I don't know how I would get hired for a job if nobody saw me doing my job elsewhere.” -- Ryne Sandberg
Sandberg, who managed in the Cubs' minor-league system the past four seasons, lost out to Mike Quade, who was a long-time minor-league manager and became the interim major-league skipper when Lou Piniella retired on Aug. 22. Quade managed the Cubs to a 24-13 record, which was the second-best mark in baseball during that span.
"Well, you know what, obviously there was disappointment at the end," Sandberg said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "As I look back and see everybody involved in the interview process, I think the most games anybody saw me manage was 4-5 games, by everybody that I talked to.
"Based on that, I don't know how I would get hired for a job if nobody saw me doing my job elsewhere. That was kind of a disappointing part of the whole thing. But now that I see it, it's very obvious with the process and the final choice."
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry responded to Sandberg's comments while attending GM meetings in Orlando.
"First of all, I wish Ryno well," Hendry said. "I'm glad he's staying in the game, and I understand why he's going to work in another organization that might enhance his chances [to manage in the majors].
"From an observation point of view, between myself [and Hendry's staff], we probably watched Iowa play 30-40 times last year. We took a long time in the process. We gave everybody a fair chance, and at the end of the interviews, I thought Ryno felt very comfortable with the process. And he expressed that to myself and [assistant GM] Randy Bush at the end of our meetings."
Sandberg, who was hired as the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A manager, said he didn't bring up how many games he was observed during the Cubs' interview process.
"I didn't mention that. I stayed positive through the whole thing," he said. "I did what I had to do. I had a good season. I progressed through the farm system. I'm not saying I totally paid my dues, I don't want to go there, because I don't know what paying the dues is, how many years that means. Because there are guys who do it a lot more.
"Deep down I felt I did what I had to do, and had fun at it, and was good at it. I had some confidence right down to the end, but looking back at it, I see things a little differently."
Hendry said he had only one stipulation when inviting Sandberg to remain with the Cubs.
"He told me he was disappointed, but he didn't say he thought the process was unfair," Hendry said. "I talked to him three days later, told him he was welcomed to come back, told him the only job that didn't make sense would be on Mike Quade's major-league staff. And that was easily understood by everyone.
"I give everybody a fair chance. I think that's what my reputation is. At the end of the day, Mike Quade was named manager of the Cubs because I felt it was the best thing for the Cubs at this point. He deserved the job. It had nothing to do with someone else not being good enough or being slighted. "
Without indicting the Cubs' relationship between their major-league team and minor-league system, Sandberg praised the Phillies organization.
"I just enjoyed my interview with the Phillies," he said. "They talked about family. They talked about organization. They talked about team. And they used the word 'we' a lot.
"They also said I would be working hand in hand with the big club, whatever is needed. There will be phone calls quite often, maybe even every other day from the major-league club. That connection, and that confidence in me in helping them and be a part of it is something I'm excited about."
The Cubs removed the interim tag from Quade on Oct. 19, and that day Sandberg went on ESPN 1000 and said he didn't know if he was still considered the Triple-A Iowa Cubs manager. Sandberg said Tuesday that he didn't get a call about his future in Iowa until four days later.
"I was given four days to kind of think by myself what I was going to do, because there was nothing coming from the Cubs as far as even offering the Triple-A job back, until four days later," Sandberg said. "In those four days, I was going in a different direction and figuring out what I was going to do to continue what I was committed to do."
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Sandberg admitted he wasn't sure he would have taken the Iowa job if it were offered immediately. He said previously that one of the reasons he wanted to leave the Cubs organization was it wouldn't be fair if he stayed, and the perception existed that he was just waiting for Quade to get fired.
Sandberg, who was drafted by Philadelphia and became a Hall of Fame second baseman with the Cubs, said he's not severing ties with Chicago. In fact -- although he didn't like the hypothetical nature of the question -- he didn't back off when asked if he would take the Cubs job if it opened in a couple of years.
"Like I say, doing it at the major-league level, the Cubs are one of those teams, absolutely," he said.