By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) You’re hearing about guys like Sandy Alomar Jr., Dave Martinez and Jim Fregosi. Rumors of Joe McEwing, John McLaren and Buddy Bell – before he was eliminated from the conversation Tuesday – have been floating around in news reports the past two days. And some media outlets have even thrown around the possibility of Ryne Sandberg as the next manager of the White Sox.
(As if the Cubs would actually let that happen.)
But there’s one name well-known to Chicagoans that I haven’t seen among those mentioned this week as potential successors to Ozzie Guillen’s South Side throne, and it has me wondering …
Shouldn’t the White Sox be asking, “What about Bob?”
You know, as in Brenly.
Back on Sept. 15, in a blog entitled, “If Ozzie Leaves, Who Are The White Sox?,” I floated the possibility of Brenly, the current Cubs television analyst and former World Series championship manager with Arizona, as a potential replacement for Guillen if he did opt to migrate from the South Side to South Beach.
But now that Ozzie indeed is heading off to manage the Marlins and become the new Miami Sound Machine – eat your heart out, Gloria Estefan – Brenly’s name doesn’t appear to even be on Kenny Williams’ short list, which he says is already quite abbreviated.
“There’s a very short list,” the White Sox general manager told the media on Tuesday, adding that he has a preferred candidate to replace Guillen. “And I’ve already begun heading down that list.”
If Brenly isn’t at least on Williams’ list of candidates to interview in the coming days, however, well, I’d call his short list pretty shortsighted.
Now, after eight seasons of butting heads with a manager as headstrong as any in Major League Baseball, one does have to wonder if Williams isn’t looking to hire a much tamer beast this time around. On Tuesday, one of my friends actually suggested that Williams will be looking for a “Yes Man” to run the White Sox more than he’ll be looking for an actual manager.
Now whether that’s true, I can hardly say. But if it is, then Brenly – who’s plenty headstrong himself – probably isn’t Williams’ guy.
Although, that isn’t to say he shouldn’t be. Because, having listened to the man dissect Cubs games (not to mention, Cubs players) on WGN for the past seven years, I think he could be a great option for a White Sox team burned-out on Ozzie that does need a new voice.
But also still could use a very strong one.
Just this week, Brenly talked to the Tribune about his decision last winter to withdraw his name from consideration in the Cubs managerial derby that Mike Quade ultimately won – before going on to lose big this season.
“I kind of saw things that made me uncomfortable moving forward, trying to get that manager’s job,” Brenly explained. “Unfortunately, a lot of them came true.
“It doesn’t make me Nostradamus or anything, but for me personally and professionally, I was much better off being where I was this year.”
I’d say that with his often outspoken critiques of Cubs players, Brenly likely would have been an awkward fit in the Cubs’ dugout. But, he could fit in well on the other side of town, even if he won’t say that, also telling the Tribune that he won’t actively pursue a managerial job this offseason.
“Managers jobs are so closely tied to the general manager or the owner or some kind of a connection,” said Brenly, who is signed through 2012 to work alongside Len Kasper on WGN-TV. “I’m not so sure I have those connections anymore, so … I look forward to sitting next to Lenny again next year.”
Brenly may not have strong connections to Williams or White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but he does have a strong understanding of Chicago – and of baseball. And perhaps Williams already knows the right man for the White Sox job, but it seems to me that he ought to at least sit down with Brenly and get to know him a little better, too.
After all, with Guillen gone, he’s the only manager still in town with a World Series ring.
And those don’t exactly pop up around here very often.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.