I made the mistake of listening to The Score this afternoon. I forget who was hosting, but I was listening to the “feedback zone” show. His premise that he wanted people to discuss was that Kenny Williams apparently said that he wanted former White Sox players involved in the organization because they understood the culture and tradition of the team. The host thought this was a great idea and would help on the north side even more than on the south.
This seemed sparked partly by some comments Lou made about fans booing when asked in his press conference. (apparently Lou said he thought it was counterproductive. God forbid!) But the host’s point was that a former Cubs player would have an easier time of things because he’d understand the pressures the team faces, Cubs baseball culture, and the fans and the media.
I can sort of see why the argument is attractive (if probably wrong), but the host had another point he made a couple of times, too. That was that the Cubs and the environment around them have changed a lot since 2003. He pointed out that the media seems to expect more out of the team now, that the fans do and will voice their displeasure if they don’t get what they expect, and that the organization is run far more professionally since MacPhail left.
I’m no expert, but it sounds to me like that means Cubs culture has changed in less than a decade. In other words, a Ryne Sandberg or a Joe Girardi (who he said a couple of times he thought the Cubs should have hired) wouldn’t be any more familiar with this culture than Piniella was. I think this undercuts his point entirely, but while I was listening he never acknowledged that.
Look, when Lou leaves, I don’t care if the Cubs bring in a former Cub or not. Ryne Sandberg has apparently been pretty good in the minors, and maybe he should get a shot. Girardi could very well be done in New York this year if the Yankees miss the playoffs again. If the Cubs look at one of them and think he’s their guy, great, hand him the reins. But if they look at Alan Trammell, who’s been Lou’s bench coach the last two years and think he’s the guy, or they find someone else outside the organization, I don’t care whether they’ve ever worn a Cubs uniform at all.
To a large extent, the “culture” of the Cubs is different than it was when Sandberg or Girardi played anyway, and to the extent that it’s not, I’ve not heard anything that makes me think the culture they played under was a good one. There are things that I don’t like about this new culture (the booing, the media buffoonery), but I like that the organization is run like a professional organization and not like the team in Major League, and I don’t think experience with it in the 80s or 90s makes you any better equipped to deal with running the team today.