Ricketts meets with Wedge, Cubs being deliberate

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Ricketts meets with Wedge, Cubs being deliberate

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010
Updated 10:21 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

Its been 84 days since Lou Piniella first announced that he would be retiring. And more than seven weeks have elapsed from the time Piniella resigned and Mike Quade took over for a 37-game audition.

As promised, the Cubs have been deliberate in the search for their next manager. Multiple outlets reported Tuesday that Eric Wedge has met with chairman Tom Ricketts.

Wedge, 42, managed the Cleveland Indians to within one victory of the 2007 World Series but was fired two years later. Wedge lasted seven seasons in Cleveland (561-573) and is part of a candidate pool that includes Quade, Ryne Sandberg and Bob Melvin. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has already interviewed each individually.

Wedge and Hendry have roots in the Missouri Valley Conference. Wedge developed into an All-American at Wichita State University and a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox while Hendry was the head baseball coach at Creighton University.

Melvin also has a history with the Cubs, drawing strong consideration before Hendry ultimately decided to hire Dusty Baker in November 2002.

Like Wedge, Melvin has a sub-.500 record (493-508) in six-plus seasons as a manager, but hell continue to draw interest from other teams because of his experience in Seattle and Arizona.

Melvin guided the Mariners to 93 wins in 2003 and the Diamondbacks to a division title four years later. He also won a World Series ring in 2001 as Bob Brenlys bench coach in Arizona.

The in-house options remain Quade and Sandberg. Each has been credited with helping develop some of the young players the Cubs will be counting on in 2011 and beyond.

Hendry who has been guarded while speaking publicly about the search certainly noticed the clubhouse lining up to endorse Quade as the Cubs finished with a 24-13 run. At this point, its unclear how far that support will carry Quade.

We like him a lot and our play on the field shows it, reliever Sean Marshall said during the final week of the season. I dont know whats going to happen this offseason we dont have much control but I think hes done a great job so far.

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

How Kris Bryant became the face of the never-panic Cubs

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AP

How Kris Bryant became the face of the never-panic Cubs

SAN DIEGO – Kris Bryant stood in the middle of Dodger Stadium’s visiting clubhouse late Sunday afternoon, almost the exact same spot where he faced the waves and waves of reporters coming at his locker last October.

Bryant answered every last question after the Cubs fell behind 2-1 in the National League Championship Series (and, really, throughout the playoffs). He had managed the only two hits off Rich Hill that night – knocking two curveballs for singles – and gave a death stare when asked if any sense of panic was creeping into the room after back-to-back shutouts. 

“Nope,” Bryant said, pausing four seconds and turning to his right with a next-question look. “I’m not concerned at all.”

So you can imagine Bryant’s alert level when a reporter mentioned some of the reactions on Twitter and back home in Chicago after a lost weekend where the Cubs got swept out of Dodger Stadium. 

“Sweet,” Bryant said, looking completely relaxed in a gray Hurley T-shirt, darker gray jeans and spotless white Adidas sneakers.

This attitude helps explain why Bryant became the antidote to generations of negativity around the Cubs. It goes beyond the numbers on the back of his baseball card, a sophisticated approach to hitting and the surprising combination of high-level speed and athleticism for a 6-foot-5 slugger.   

“Um, I mean, we’re not panicking,” Bryant said. “Everybody has their own thoughts. And I guess it’s just natural as humans. Even baseball players, when something bad happens, sometimes we speed it up and it ends up just piling onto things and it gets even worse. There’s none of that here. But I don’t see any reason to worry. Especially given what we did last year.”

If super-agent Scott Boras has ever seen Bryant flip out, well, that’s going to remain sealed under attorney-client privilege. Except for Rose Donuts here in San Diego or the NL MVP’s wedding reception in Las Vegas.   

“When Kris and I eat donuts together, I see that moment of absolute anticipation,” Boras said. “That’s the greatest anxiety, right before we get to that donut. His dad getting ready to sing a song that he didn’t know about at his wedding – cool, calm and collected.

“So I would say that Kris has a rare skill, because intellectually, emotionally, he is a guy that is very, very competitive and wants to be better every day. But he’s not a guy that in any way reflects any kind of (stress). It’s just so buried in him, what kind of competitor he is.

“He really is ultra-competitive. He is one driven guy. He does it not through the exhibition of his emotions. He does it through thought. It’s a true, quiet intensity.

“He’s that classic neurosurgeon personality. To get better with the scalpel, you have to be lighter with it. That’s kind of how he is, that touch.” 

That became clear during the run-up to the 2013 draft, when Cubs executives Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod sat down with the University of San Diego junior in a hotel lobby in Stockton, California, during the West Coast Conference tournament.

“I’m sure things make him boil at times,” McLeod said. “But he’s just got this way about him. Thinking back to that time when we met with him, it was like: ‘Gosh, if there’s a guy who can handle Chicago as a second overall pick, it’s this guy, just because of the way he’s wired.’

“His preparation pregame, his in-game ABs, he understands that strikeouts are going to be part of the game. And they are part of the game for him. I don’t think he lets himself get too down when that happens. Of course, he doesn’t like it. But he’s just like: ‘OK, I’m on to the next at-bat.’ Or: ‘I’m going to go back out on the field and play the best defense I can.’ Just one of the more level-headed guys I’ve ever been around.”     

Bryant whiffed three times in his big-league debut – and almost led the majors with 199 strikeouts that season – and didn’t homer until his 21st game and still became the NL’s 2015 Rookie of the Year.

Bryant started this season 0-for-14 – and his .939 Memorial Day OPS is still 50-plus points higher than it had been at this time last year during his MVP campaign.

Against some of the best pitching in the world, Bryant has a career .843 OPS in 26 playoff games. So far, pitcher, catcher and second base are the only defensive positions he hasn’t played for the Cubs.

Bryant spent part of Monday morning hunched over a laptop inside Petco Park’s visiting clubhouse, watching video of Jarred Cosart and how the Padres right-hander approached him and Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt.

Instead of breaking a bat over his knee or slamming his glove to the ground in frustration or pressing the panic button for a .500-ish team, Bryant will go back to work.

“You can’t really take anything for granted, I guess,” Bryant said. “(But) I don’t understand. There’s no need to worry. You’re going to have your good starts, your bad starts. This obviously is a pretty average start. It’s not a terrible start. But sometimes it happens.

“We’ve spoiled ourselves with last year and that start. But I guess it’s a good thing to have those expectations, because we all do, too.”

Carl Edwards Jr.'s special tie to Memorial Day

Carl Edwards Jr.'s special tie to Memorial Day

For Carl Edwards Jr., Memorial Day has a special meaning.

That's because the Cubs reliever has a very close tie to the armed services. 

Edwards met his fiance, Nette Smith, before her deployment in Afghanistan. Throughout her active service, Edwards kept in touch by writing her letters. Their relationship eventually blossomed, and now the couple has a one-year-old child. 

With Smith's army commitment finished, she views Memorial Day as a time to appreciate all those who serve. 

"To me, Memorial Day is a day set aside for me to remember some of the people I have met who sacrificed everything," Smith said. 

Watch the couple's entire story in the video above.