Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bye, Bye Andy

Surprisingly, after today's game - the final game of the season - Cubs President Andy MacPhail anounced that he was stepping down and Cubs Marketing Director John McDonough was taking his place on an interim basis. McDonough didn't let the "interim" title stop him from announcing that the Cubs are going to win the World Series. He was less specific about when that would happen.

If nothing else, I like McDonough's enthusiasm. From the beginning, he seems to understand that the whole reason you spend payroll dollars and build a team is to win baseball games. He also seems to understand that the long-suffering Cubs fans deserve a front office that is as commited to winning as the fans are.

The moves made by the McDonough-Hendry regime will be the real measure of whether the Cubs are as commited to winning as McDonough claims they are. But for now, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and expect that they'll make some big off-season moves to improve the Cubs and make them (at least) competitive in 2007.

The first order of business that they'll be dealing with is the future of Dusty Baker. I expect that he will not be re-signed and he will be an ex-Cubs manager tomorrow (10/2). My hope is that Hendry will announce a new manager fairly quickly. My top four candidates are (in no particular order):

Lou Pinella
Bob Brenly
Joe Girardi
Freddi Gonzalez

Whoever gets the job, I hope he establishes a tough-minded, winning attitude in the clubhouse. This year's "victim" attitude was established and nurtured by Dusty Baker. Say what you will about the numerous injuries suffered by the Cubs. The manager can't allow the team to accept losing. Unfortunately, Dusty not only took on the role of a victim, but he then instilled that attitude in his team. The new manager will need to destroy that attitude from the very beginning and instill a "no excuses" mindset in the clubhouse. From what I know about the four candidates listed above, I don't think any of them will accept anything but a winning attitude.


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