By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) Former Cubs manager Rick Renteria must wonder what he did to deserve the public humiliation of being fired in favor of Joe Maddon.
The Cubs praised the 52-year-old California native Friday at the same time they confirmed his firing in lieu of the announcement of hiring Maddon to a long-term contract.
Renteria’s a baseball lifer who spent 27 years in the game before getting his dream job last November in Chicago.
“I had a dream that I would be a manager here when I was coaching in San Diego (as an assistant),” Renteria told me last November. “I had this sense when I came here as a coach. I would be here someday.”
Sometimes dreams turn into nightmares. In this case, Renteria will at least walks away with millions of dollars to ensure some quality living for his family in the future. That said, it must be the emptiest of feelings to be told by your bosses you did a fantastic job but that they feel someone else is better equipped to lead the franchise to a world championship.
Renteria can be proud of the success of the top young players who he was brought in to cultivate into All-Stars. Both shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Anthony Rizzo made the 2014 National League All-Star team after going through terrible batting slumps in 2013. Renteria was a positive force behind a team that struggled to score runs.
The Cubs finished 31-28 in their last 59 games, despite losing two-fifths of their starting rotation in a July 4 trade. They were 73-89 for the season.
Life isn’t fair, and neither is the sports arena that Renteria chose to make his life’s work. Another lucky team will hire him to help it win baseball games elsewhere.
The Cubs are richer for Renteria having been on the job. He will be owed a championship ring for his contributions when Epstein and Maddon finish the job both he and Dale Sveum began.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.