suntimes
SIMMERING 
Weather Updates

Ryno making Wrigley debut as MLB manager — with Phillies

Friday

PHILLIES AT CUBS

The facts: 1:20 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM.

The starters: Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.03 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (3-4, 7.81).

THE REST OF THE SERIES

Saturday: 3:05 p.m., CSN, 720-AM. Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.64) vs. Cliff Lee (11-6, 3.07).

Sunday: 1:20 p.m., Ch. 9, 720-AM. Jake Arrieta (1-1, 4.50) vs. Kyle Kendrick (10-11, 4.40).

Updated: August 30, 2013 11:10AM



Many of Ryne Sandberg’s former teammates have said they were surprised to see the usually ­reserved, quiet Sandberg managing in the minors, much less toiling for six seasons at three levels for two organizations to grind out a shot at the big leagues.

The man of few words arguing with an umpire? Or dealing with the media daily? The Hall of Famer taking a much longer, less certain path to the big leagues than he ­endured as a player? Who could picture that?

Keith Moreland could — at least when he took a minute to think about it.

“It wasn’t far-fetched when I first heard he was going to manage. Not at all,” said Moreland, a Cubs teammate the first six years of Sandberg’s career. “He really knew the game. I could see that part of it.”

What might have been hardest for old Cubs and Cubs fans to see is Sandberg eventually doing it in the major leagues with another club. But that’s what they’ll see at Wrigley Field for the first time Friday, when the newly minted interim manager of the Philadelphia Phillies returns to the North Side for a three-game series.

“I don’t know if he felt he got a fair shake for that position with the Cubs, and he had to go elsewhere,” former Cubs teammate Ron Cey said. “But, you know what, not ­everybody gets to manage where they want to. I’m happy he got an opportunity.”

Not Mike Scioscia, Davey Lopes or Dusty Baker, all former Dodgers teammates of Cey who couldn’t get managing jobs in their old organization. Not lifetime Yankee Don Mattingly, who has the Dodgers in first place in the National League West.

And certainly not Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who successfully finished off a 2008 playoff season for the Brewers after Ned Yost was fired but was sent back to his hitting-coach job in 2009 for the team that drafted him in the first round 27 years earlier

Those close to Sandberg say it was a bitter pill for the franchise icon to swallow when he didn’t get the Cubs job any of the three times he sought it over the last eight years, in particular when first-timer Mike Quade got it in 2011 after Sandberg had spent four years managing in the Cubs’ minor-league system.

Sveum says he gets it. “I don’t think it’s tough to get over. It’s part of the game,” he said. “You just understand the business part of it and how lucky it is to get one of these jobs.

“There’s only 30 of these jobs in the world. It’s not easy for an organization to put $100 million, $200 million payrolls in the hands of somebody that’s never done it before.”

So it is in a Phillies uniform that Sandberg will make his Wrigley Field big-league managing debut, barely two weeks after moving from the third-base coaching box to take over for Charlie Manuel. Sandberg has eight wins in his last 12 games.

“You’re going to look over there and obviously we’re going to want to beat him,” said Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, one of several Cubs who played for Sandberg in the Cubs’ system. “But there’s going to be some gratitude and happiness in there because you kind of traveled the same path as the guy in a way.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any mixed emotions [from the home crowd]. There’s going to be a good buzz about ­having Ryno back at Wrigley.”

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

Twitter: @GDubCub



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.