Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010
By Patrick Mooney
Mike Quade has been recognized waiting for the L, and people wonder what the Cubs manager is doing taking public transportation. From the night of Aug. 21, when he found out that he would be taking over for Lou Piniella, he vowed to do it his way.
Quade grew up in Mount Prospect, so it figured that he wouldnt be blindsided by all the attention his new job would generate. He knows the city, follows its politics and planned to spend part of Thursdays off day catching up on the coverage of Mayor Richard M. Daleys decision not to run again.
The Cubs (60-80) realize how valuable it can be to get away from the distractions of Wrigley Field. This season Carlos Zambrano made his first bullpen appearance in almost eight years in Milwaukee, returned to the rotation in Houston and apologized to his teammates in Colorado.
Starlin Castro had his big-league debut in Cincinnati. And when Piniella talked about starting Tyler Colvin at first base an idea abandoned for now he promised it would be down the road.
So it was for Quade, who managed his first game in the majors 15 days ago in Washington before 17,921 fans at Nationals Park.
Quades first homestand ended with Wednesdays 4-0 loss to the Houston Astros. The Cubs went 5-4 and won two of three series during that time. The 51st manager in franchise history has been calling it a process and said, So far, so good.
Here are a few snapshots of what goes on around the man standing on the top step of the dugout:
Now that Triple-A Iowas season is over, Ryne Sandberg is free to have his formal interview with general manager Jim Hendry. Sandberg has earned the respect of his players, but theyre simply answering questions from reporters, not lobbying for him to get the job. This weeks September call-ups brought another wave.
Rynos awesome, plain and simple, Brad Snyder said. Every day hes the exact same and you know what youre going to get from him. (He) doesnt say a whole lot, but he gets his point across and we know what he expects out of us and we get the job done for him.
There will be inconsistency. One night the Cubs won a game 14-2 with Zambrano, the player they suspended two months earlier in part because of his perceived selfishness. The next they lost 14-7 behind starter Ryan Dempster, who deferred part of his 2010 salary so the front office could have payroll flexibility and add a piece to the roster. Both games came against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the worst team in baseball.
Wrigley Field isnt just an office, and its not only about baseball. During this homestand alone: its smallest crowd in nearly four years came out for Andre Dawson night; Harry Carays statue was rededicated; Billy Williams statue was unveiled; and board member Todd Ricketts filmed an episode of Undercover Boss, a CBS reality show.
The 33,623 fans said to be there on a 61-degree Wednesday night saw Brett Myers retire the first 14 Cubs and give up only three hits across seven scoreless innings. Myers has accounted for at least six innings in 29 consecutive starts, the longest streak to start a season in the majors since 2002, when Curt Schilling did it through 35 for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Randy Wells gave himself mixed reviews after allowing four runs in six innings. Quade indicated that there are no immediate plans to move Wells to the bullpen so the organization can take a look at some other potential starters.
If anything, Quade said, We might end up with a six- or seven-man rotation.
If given the choice of ending the season now and starting over again with 2011 spring training, Wells (6-13, 4.61) wouldnt take it.
You got to try to finish on some kind of positive note, he said. The four days between starts are the worst for me right now. No matter what happens out on the mound or the outcome of the game by far the worst part about it is sitting there waiting. So Im anxious to get the ball again.
Some of the same people that are evaluating Wells are studying Quade, who survived his first homestand as manager surrounded by family, and almost everyone speculating about his future.
(Im) more relaxed, Quade said. Im more comfortable in my surroundings here at home, thats for sure.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.