How can you tell that the Chicago Cubs have a new manager?
The tell is that in his first Spring Training as a Major League Baseball manager, the optimism tour has begun for Rick Renteria. The question that is on my mind is, is that optimism genuinely for Renteria or is it for the fact that the Cubs have manager no longer named Dale Sveum?
When taking in various reports of Renteria over the course of the early days of the Cub 2014 Spring Training, one account characterized the Cubs manager as a “Bilingual Mike Quade.”
I’m still trying to determine if that characterization was in fact a back-handed compliment of Renteria.
The issue I have with that characterization of Renteria is the fact that Quade flopped as a manager. Quade was a nice-story as a fill-in manager for the Cubs during the final month of the 2010 season after Lou Pinella decided to turn his retirement tour into an official retirement, but the happy-go-lucky Quade melted in the face of the Chicago sun.
So why, three years after the fact, is Quade’s named being used as praised for the Cubs’ new manager?
That answer is in fact because the Cubs have a new manager. The issue that every professional sports organization has when hiring a new coach/manager is that their fanbase automatically judges them before one single game is played. Typically, the new coach/manager can do no wrong before their first game.
Renteria has already won over the Cubs fanbase and the team has yet to play a regular season game let alone an exhibition game.
I’m not trying to sling mud at the freshly minted Renteria. The fact that he is bilingual figures to fall in line with the atmosphere the Cubs want when their top prospects make it to the Major League Level. But lets not get a sportsgasm over the fact that Renteria is bilingual. Being bilingual will play a small part, if any, in determining whether or not Renteria can manage at the Major League Level.
Cubs fans are no strangers to optimism. Optimism is how Cubs fans survive. But even Cubs fans need to put their optimism into check. Lets see how Renteria holds up after a month of July that saw the front office trade away the veterans on the team for prospects that will be sent directly to the Minor Leagues.
If Renteria is still upright, then perhaps the Cubs will have got it right with their managerial hire. But to make that determination now would be using the same fallacy that the Cubs used when they knocked the interim label off Mike Quade after the 2010 season.