After Lou Piniella announced he was retiring after last Sunday's game—fittingly, it was a blowout—the Chicago and national media started yammering on about who would replace him, and What It All Means For The Cubs. Please make it stop.
The Cubs have been more disappointing than usual this year, so it was no surprise that Piniella decided to retire six weeks earlier than expected to spend more time with his ailing mother. Third-base coach Mike Quade was named interim manager and that should've been that. Unfortunately, the media isn't even waiting until the playoffs end to get into which Cubs idol would best serve as the next team's hood ornament.
The Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom kicked things off with a blog post that said Quade's getting the interim job was the strongest indication yet that the organization's main target this offseason would be Joe Girardi. His basis for this is that if the Cubs wanted Ryne Sandberg for the job, he would have been hired the moment Piniella retired. Of course, as one of Rosenbloom's commenters points out, that would've required Sandberg to leave his current job as the manager of the club's Triple-A affiliate with no guarantee of getting it back if things went sour during the remainder of the season. But that's Rosenbloom's shtick—not really thinking things through very well. Luckily for Rosenbloom, Harold Reynolds is thinking along the same lines, but only because it's assumed that the Cubs job is one of the most sought after in baseball. It's not as if the idea doesn't make sense. But so far, Girardi has been mum on the subject, repeatedly stating that he's only focused on the task at hand with the Yankees.
Meanwhile, Gene Wojciechowski is saying that the Cubs should focus on Ryne Sandberg because there's no way that Girardi would be stupid enough to leave the Yankees job. But you don't just hire him because it's the Cubs and he's Ryne Sandberg; you hire him because he's a good manager already. Woj is taking the way sentimental view, which means he's probably a good barometer for what the rest of Cubdom is thinking. (Tyler Kepner of the NYT's Bats Blog makes a fairly rational case for Sandberg by equating it with the Dodgers' handling of former Triple-A manager Mike Scioscia.)
And on and on it goes, nobody really stopping to point out that the Cubs' problems go way beyond who's filling out the lineup card. At this point, the job everyone should be talking about is Jim Hendry's. The farm system lies fallow, and Hendry's task list all year has been to unburden himself from his own bad deals. Quade should be the least of anyone's worries. He's a baseball lifer who spent 17 years managing in Triple-A. I'm sure he knows enough to fill out his lineup card properly and keep Zambrano away from sharp objects. He's not the sexy pick, but he'll be perfectly adequate in his role as future Cubs scapegoat. In the meantime, let's all just agree that Jim Caple's "The Cubs Should Do What The Bad News Bears Did" piece never happened, OK?