During the 2014 MLB season, his first full season as manager of the Phillies, Ryne Sandberg won 73 games (.451). This season, not even having reached the halfway point, he had won 26 games (.347). Overall, he won a total of 119 games with an aged group of players and a management team that still clings onto the past. And now, he has resigned as the Phillies manager. The future is even more uncertain for Phillies baseball.
After Sandberg was named the interim manager in 2013 after taking over for Charlie Manuel with 42 games remaining in the season, many of us fans had hope and saw the move has a new, positive era in Phillies baseball. If you take a listen to previous podcast shows from that time, I was very high on Sandberg and what he could potentially do to the Phillies franchise in the years to come. He was that fresh face who saw success in the minors and especially with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. The guy looked like he was hungry and wanted to win. And who of us didn’t want a Hall of Famer managing the team?
We knew that it was going to be a rough go off the bat – excuse the pun. The guy just did not have the talent to score runs. Last year and even throughout the beginning of the season, that was my excuse for him as well. I just kept saying, these guys stink! However, the wheels came off just a couple weeks ago and majority of the Phillies fan base, myself included, turned on Sandberg. The gloves were off and there was no way of putting them back on. Some began questioning Ryno’s decision-making all the way back in May. The ineptitude we continued to witness week after week got to be too much.
The straw that broke the camels back was that dreadful, recent eight game road trip that was beyond the realm of pitiful. Losing games 2-11, 3-19, 0-1, 0-4 were pathetic. Then the losses to the Cardinals, 4-12 and 1-10, solidified the fact that this team is the worst, record aside, in the majors. There was no heart, no desire – with the exception of Maikel Franco. The clubhouse was gone.
246 total runs this season. That’s it. Overall, the offense is averaging 3.03 runs per game and batting just .241. It’s the bottom of the barrel in Major League Baseball.
I will say that I give Sandberg credit for actually taking the initiative to resign. It’s not too often we see this in baseball and in the world of sports, in general. His quotes within a recent USA Today article:
“The accumulation of losses was something that I take responsibility for and something that really took a toll on me.”
“I felt it was better now than later, for myself, my family, the organization.”
We can say and appreciate that he checked his ego at the door. And of course, he didn’t want to be fired. Who does? But he realized that he is an old-style coach who simply didn’t have the leadership to rally the troops, his players, in an effort to solidify a deep, long-lasting impact in Philly. He should be commended for taking the highroad when many “leaders” in the sporting world would ride it out because their egos could not handle self-defeat. Frankly, during his tenure that is the only thing he can be commended on.
As Philly sports fans, we always want to see the coaches, managers and overall management succeed. Whether it is the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, or Phillies, we hope and desire for the men who lead these teams to have the leadership that will bring out the best in their players. With Ryne Sandberg, he didn’t have it. He lost the ballclub and there was no way to recover. Therefore, this event, this resignation needed to happen as the organization looks and tries to find a way to rebuild. Key word: find. Everybody seems to be searching and there are no clear-cut answers anywhere.
Third base coach Pete Mackanin has taken over managerial duties on an interim basis. Let’s not expect that he will make a significant difference during the remainder of this season. And what is important to note is that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was the guy who hired Sandberg in the first place. Common sense tells us Ryno’s resignation signifies a change coming for the GM position as well in the very near future. Another necessary move that will need to be made sooner rather than later.
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