Baffoe: Hey Cardinals, Have Sandberg, Please

By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) The St. Louis Cardinals, 2011 World Series Champions, widely-respected organization by many, and keepers of a fan base that idolizes balloon animals in the lineup, have been granted permission by the Philadelphia Phillies to speak to Phillies Triple-A manager Ryne Sandberg.

If it shakes out and Sandberg is Tony LaRussa’s replacement, O. Henry himself will awake from the dead to give baseball a fist pound. Many Cubs fans, however, will be the ones rolling over in their graves, whether they be literal ones or tombs of baseball futility.

There is a psychological makeup here in Chicago of being unable to cut the umbilical cord of our sports figures. Michael Jordan as a Washington Wizard tore out many hearts. Mike Ditka as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints caused many a fan to go all 40 Year Old Virgin on their mustaches, and some morons even converted to the Creole way.

Chicagoans do not like their sports children to marry outside of the faith. I expect similar reactions should Sandberg—the face of the Cub franchise for about fifteen years and a Hall of Famer to boot—be named Cardinals manager, perhaps even more so since he a) was not granted an interview for the vacant spot on the Northside, and b) it’s the friggin’ Cardinals of all teams.

And there is a very good chance he could be donning the Redbird cap next summer. His name comes up with every open managerial spot of late, and many around the game speak very high of his potential to be a winning coach.

I say fine. Have him, St. Louis. Hell, I hope he is captaining the Busch boat next season. And I am a long-suffering Cub fan.

While fans run to light torches and take their Ritalin, let me say that I have no ill feelings toward Sandberg. He seems like a genuinely… well, genuine person. Nobody I know who personally knows the guy has had a bad word to speak of him. I am also well aware of the possibility that he could be the game’s next great skipper. That again, though, is just a possibility.

Sandberg has no experience coaching, let alone managing, on the big league level. It is quite the different animal than riding the bus with kids in the minors. Presiding over egos and guys with contracts worth more than he made in his career is not something he has had to do yet, nor is dealing with media that actually, you know, ask questions and take a guy to task (no offense, Peoria and Lehigh Valley scribes).

The question should be begged as to why Philly is letting him talk to the Cardinals, too. The organization speaks highly of Sandberg, but they did not tell St. Louis to take a hike. Professional courtesy? Perhaps. But other teams have said hands off to speaking to their personnel under contract before.  Many believe Sandberg is being groomed to replace the aging Weeble that is Charlie Manuel, but that will not be so if the Cardinals offer the job this off-season.

Another reason that Sandberg joining the Red State is something I’m rooting for is to get this Cubs fan base concerned strictly with the Cubs and their vision of moving forward. The Cardinals are the competition, of course, but you have to mow your own lawn first before worrying about your neighbor’s.

Most of all, though, I’m pushing for this out of spite, my contempt for the idiot Cubs fan. That fan who honors the past, a past full of nothingness, a wasteland of baseball sorrows. That fan who clamors for statues and retired numbers and superficial awards and honors for players who were mere deck chairs on the bumbling blue Titanic. That fan who believes having played in an organization merits consideration for affecting that organization from the other side.

I want the Epstein iceberg to tear through that culture, that mentality, that soft skull, and sink it to the ocean floor of baseball lore. Museums are for the past, not the present. This team is no longer a museum.

Would it be odd to see Sandberg all in red? I guess, somewhat. But it was odd to see Jordan in a Wizards jersey, until I saw much worse he had gotten since his Bulls days. Ditto in the Bobcats owner’s box. And I got over Ditka in black and gold when I realized he was driving an entire franchise beneath the ground. Could the same happen with St. Louis Sandberg?

He may do great things as a manager. I hope he does, as he seems like a nice enough guy who has put in his time. Forgive me if I trust a guy who brought two championships to another franchise that suffered through a drought. If he helps the Cardinals to a championship, I will offer my congrats.

But letting go of ol’ Ryno will be good for the collective Cub fan psyche. Shucks, let him make Sammy Sosa co-hitting coach, too, for all I care.

I’ve moved on from the inglorious glory days and those who contributed to them. You, Cub fan, should as well.

tim baffoe small Baffoe: Hey Cardinals, Have Sandberg, Please

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.

  • flash

    There is more to sports than just winning. It’s the heroes, the drama, the relationships, etc. All you guys at the score who say to divorce ourselves mentally from Ryno makes sense from a white sox stand point. That’s not an insult, its a fairly accurate generalization regarding all of the white sox fans I’ve known and all of the cubs fans I’ve known. White sox fans are fair weather and only care about winning as evidenced from the lack of a crowd during the down times and the fact they never have anything to do but whine as to why they are in second place instead of 1st. Cubs fans live for all aspects of their team. Please go don one of those colored yankees or white sox hats and stop calling yourself a cubs fan.

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      “There is more to sports than just winning.” You, sir, embody everything that’s wrong with Cubs fans… and I say that as a Cubs fan myself. Sports is about one thing: WINNING. That’s it. As a Cubs fan, I want them to do one thing, and that’s what they haven’t done in 103 years: WIN A WORLD SERIES. What other aspect of the team am I supposed to live for? The Wrigley Field “experience”? If I want a beautiful outdoor experience to go drink beer, I’ll go to a beer garden in Bavaria. But I’m not an “experience” fan, I’m a baseball fan, and I root for the Cubs because I want them to win at baseball, not because I want them to provide me with some ethereal experience. I find it amusing that you believe critical fans somehow aren’t “real Cubs fans.” If you value anything above winning, then you don’t even know what a fan is.

      • flash

        It’s very easy to say “I want the cubs to win a world series.” These are generic statements from people who are casual fans and don’t want to commit a lot of brain power to an argument. You would rather speak extemporaneously on a topic than supply useful information. I hope you are a better brewmaster than cub fan.

        For you Theo, if you hire Mike Maddox all bets are off. You said you want someone with major league managerial experience? He has never managed a team. Yea, he’s a pitching coach who sits there with his legs crossed all game but what in the hell does he know about situational coaching? He never even coached in the minors for gods sake!

    • RevengeOfTheFair


    • Chirs Campbell

      Bafoe seems to think Cubs fans like me who love everything about the Cubs, past, present , and whatever our future may bring are idiots. We are loyal for a reason. We don’t jump on ban wagons waiting for the next best thing. We want the best for our team but looking from within organization first is not a bad thing. Listening to Bafoe you’d think all we want is an Ernie Banks figure to fill out the lineup card and wave to the fans. I expect nothing less from a whitesox fan and station.

  • Mike from Chicago

    You might want to walk-back the back-handed “professional courtesy” thing regarding Sandberg a bit – unless you’re aware of a specific problem that the Philly bain-trust has with Sandberg. It is a long-held baseball tradition to allow a guy to interview for a job which constitutes a VERTICAL move, rather than a horizontal move… If St. Louis offers Sandberg the gig, Philly may demand compensation… (sound familiar?)

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    No way Ryna gets the Cards’ gig.
    But the plus for him is to have a major league interview under his belt toward next year, next time.

  • Cal City Ken

    Loved Sandberg when he was a Cub. I have a different opinion now after I saw Sandberg pull up at the Western Open at Cog Hill in a limosine and then approached a 70+ year old man who was directing cars in the lot. Apparently, there were suppose to be some golf carts for him and his people (that weren’t there). He was screaming at this poor guy, asking where the carts were. The old guy tried to walk away and told Sandberg that he had nothing to do with the arrangements, and that he was just a volunteer. Didn’t matter, Sandberg followed the old guy screaming at him. He’s a fkn lunatic. Maybe Theo saw that in him.

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