Results tagged ‘ Jim Hendry ’
Former Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry has been hired by the New York Yankees as a special assistant to longtime GM Brian Cashman. Hendry spent 17 years in the Cubs organization and was the GM from 2002-11, during which time the team won three division titles (2003, 2007, 2008). During Hendry’s tenure, the Cubs posted an overall record of 749-748.
A big day here at Wrigley Field yesterday. Longtime organizational man Mike Quade finally got his shot at skippering his own ship. Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said they sought a manager who wanted to coach.
In Quade, general manager Jim Hendry found exactly that. The press conference was loose, and Quade kept his address pretty informal. He’s exceptionally unguarded and straightforward. But he knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. After taking 10 days off to decompress by going fishing and crabbing near his home in Bradenton, Fla., he got the call from Hendry–with blue crabs in hand.
“I had the crabs in one hand and my cell phone was ringing,” Quade said. “I looked at the number and it was Jim’s. The timing was almost comical.”
In the October issue of Vine Line, we ran this sketch from our resident editorial cartoonist, Tim Souers. Indeed, it’s Quade’s squad now.
With yesterday’s announcement, it seemed only fitting that we ran it again on our blog. For more of Vine Line‘s editorial cartoons, visit our landing page at cubs.com/vineline.
Quade got a two-year deal, but he said money never was going to be an issue.
“There was no way I was going to let money get in the way of this [opportunity],” Quade said.
Quade’s a lunchpail kind of guy, one who admits he has only one suit and hates wearing it. But when it comes to teaching and coaching, the Chicago-area native wears both hats with ease.
“We’re going to build on the last six weeks of the season,” Quade said. “We’re going to grind it out every day…You set yourself up as an example by being involved. I plan on taking a hands-on approach [with our players].”
We’ll have more behind-the-scene photos tomorrow including some candid moments with Quade in the Cubs clubhouse.
Editor Michael Huang sat down with general manager Jim Hendry to ask him the questions fans are clammoring to know: What moves does Hendry plan to make in order to avoid completely rebuilding? How does he evaluate the progress at the minor-league level? What does he think of Mike Quade’s performance in the manager’s seat?
The story gives a lot of insight into where the Cubs are headed this off-season.
You’ll also find recaps of the Andre Dawson and Billy Williams ceremonies held at Wrigley Field over the past few weeks, including exclusive photography from Stephen Green. And if you’ve ever been interested in knowing how the pros chart pitches from scout’s row, you’ll find a Cubs CrossOver walking through the fundamentals and purpose of logging every pitch a Cubs hurler throws.
To subscribe or preview more of Vine Line, visit our landing page on cubs.com.
The clubhouse at Fitch Park, the Cubs’ minor-league facility in Mesa, Ariz., is divided into two sections. Picture the letter “H”, where the legs make up the sections which are conjoined by a small corridor that features a multi-sink vanity and entrance to the showers.
While the architecture of the bathrooms was not important, what was important last year during spring training was that I found Milton Bradley in the furthest corner of one wing keeping to himself, listening to music in front of his locker.
He had been on edge with the media already, just a couple of weeks into spring camp. I had observed the only other teammate he talked to was the Rule 5 kid David Patton. But I approached Bradley nonetheless.
Introductions were civil and polite. As we continued talking, he did not seem at all to be the brash, angry, or curt person I expected. Rather, he came off with an intellectual aura about him, saying he loved to read and write poetry and that his favorite poet while growing up was Langston Hughes. He was an honor roll student and was actually offered several academic scholarships coming out of Long Beach Polytechnic (Calif.) High School in addition to the baseball scholarships.
In all honesty, he reminded me of the actor Laurence Fishburne. There was an edge to him, but a smart edge.
Of course, there was also the Milton Bradley who teammates tell me isolated himself, made snippy comments in the batting cage and argued with umpires, earning him an ejection in his first at-bat at Wrigley Field. Unfortunately, it portended of things to come.
It was a tumultuous year in Chicago for Bradley. Like Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said today after he dealt the troubled outfielder to Seattle in exchange for right-hander Carlos Silva and cash, “Looking back, we all saw the player [Milton] could’ve been coming out of camp. But he got off to a bad start and the expectations were high. Once it went down that road, he just didn’t handle it very well.”
And when he tried to do something nice for the fans–like throw a ball into the stands –he didn’t realize it was two outs, and thus inspired their ire.
It was like there were two sides to Milton Bradley and Cubs fans had to do a double take to see which one had shown up each day.
Now he’s off to Seattle, the home of the Space Needle, grunge rock and coffee. But which Milton will show up–regular or decaf?
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On giving up Kevin Hart after today’s win: Trades are meant to help both clubs. I tried — like I always would — I tried to keep guys out of the deals you don’t want to do, like we did [Sean Gallagher]. We held on, finally if you want Rich Harden, you got to go. And certainly you guys read the stories around the country, John Grabow is a sought after guy, a perfect deadline deal. A good left-hander out of the pen, who doesn’t want that at the deadline? So I’m sure [Pirates GM Neal Huntington] had five or six other good opportunities to move him.
Kevin understood. He’s been a really, really good kid since the day we got him. Randy Bush had a lot to do with us getting him a few years ago when nobody knew who he was and not many scouts had him in great rating. [Bush] had seen him by accident one night at A ball, and then we traded Freddie Bynum for him at the Winter Meetings, just because we needed Freddie’s roster spot. We picked up Kevin on a flier. He’s been a real good kid. Like everybody else, he’s been inconsistent at times, and out of the pen, his walk ratio was a little high. But you know, he did a solid job for us in the starts he gave us, and we did our part and scored a lot of runs for him the last couple times.
On how today’s trade affects Sean Marshall’s usage: Sean’s doing a very good job where he’s at. I’ll let Lou [Piniella] and Larry [Rothschild] decide which way they want to go with it.
On the surplus of lefties if B.J. Ryan makes the big-league club: Ryan’s good enough to help, certainly. I remember Jimmy Leyland won a World Series, and he always used to have to have three lefties. If you can find the right three, why not? The good ones get the lefties and the righties out.
Ah, Opening Day. No matter if it’s played on March 31 (like last year) or a full two weeks later, on April 13, that first game always seems to bring out the worst in Chicago weather.
But an impressive turnout of Cubs fans endured temperatures in the 40s and the constant misty rain, all after a one-hour, 12-minute rain delay. And they were treated to a great home opener:
? The crowd gave a standing ovation to National Guard Specialist Eunice Hernandez, an honored guest of the Cubs’ community affairs department. Hernandez, 22, became nationally known when, during the Commander-in-Chief Inaugural Ball, she answered President Barack Obama’s question of “White Sox or Cubs?” with “Cubs.” Hernandez was visiting the ballpark during her couple weeks in between tours of duty in Afghanistan.
? The Captain Morgan Club was at capacity the couple times I walked by in the late innings. And the crowd inside was as much a part of the Wrigley experience as any, joining “Sut” for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
? Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the seventh inning despite the wet mist that wreaked havoc on pitchers’ command. He said after the game that he wasn’t thinking about maintaining the no-hitter but rather that the conditions forced him to focus only on making quality pitches. Lou Piniella raved about Lilly’s performance under tough conditions.
“It was a cold, raw day, and Lilly really mastered the weather,” Piniella said. “He threw strikes, changed speeds, got his curveball over … really an outstanding pitching performance.”
? General manager Jim Hendry was his typical, enthusiastic self after the game. Aside from a brief stop in the office last Friday morning before heading to Milwaukee, Jim hasn’t been in Wrigley Field for over two months. Glad we got this first one today.
— Sean Ahmed
It’s not quite Opening Day for us at Wrigley Field, but that’s a good thing — freezing winds along with yesterday’s mix of hail and slushy snow would have made this a miserable afternoon game. In fact, today’s game on the South Side already was postponed.
Today we welcomed back a few of our clubhouse personnel, who will be busy setting up both the home and visitors locker rooms as well as moving in equipment trucked back from Arizona. It’s a big task, and I’m sure the staff is happy that they have a few extra days before things start here at Wrigley Field.
Some of our baseball operations department has returned to our cozy front office — always a nice welcome back and an opportunity to wish the best for the 2009 season. Our player development personnel have stayed in Arizona or moved on to our affiliates’ sites, as minor-leaguers receive their assignments for the start of the season. Of course, general manager Jim Hendry and assistant general manager Randy Busy have accompanied the team for the first road trip.
In Vine Line land, we’ve been hard at work producing the array of official Cubs publications that will be hitting next Monday. I recently traveled to the Kansas City area to supervise our official souvenir program, CUBS2009, going to print. We also wrapped up our monthly game-day Scorecard EXTRA, which you can pick up every day at the ballpark for opponent previews, short features and, of course, an official scorecard. Now it’s back to preparing our next issue of Vine Line along with wrapping up a number of Opening Day projects.
That has kept the blogging light for the past couple weeks, but we are happy to now expand on some of the features we debuted during spring training. What have you enjoyed of our content this spring? What features would you like to see added? Let us know all season long. And most of all, enjoy your 2009 Chicago Cubs!
— Sean Ahmed
Our cover this month was the subject of a lot of discussion — After all the off-season work done by general manager Jim Hendry and his staff, what is left on Lou Piniella’s plate now that games are starting? What best represents some of the open opportunities on this year’s team?
These are the decisions that Lou will be batting around through the spring and into the season, and we tried to convey some of the lineup’s open questions on our March cover. Writing out the lineup is something I specifically got to talk to Lou about last season, in our “In the Dugout” one-on-one sessions. Last September, he spoke about his thought process as he was filling out his card … the combinations (think 2-3-4 instead of 1 through 9), anticipating late-inning switches and how to counter the opponents.
The last one reflects Lou’s willingness to play with his lineup — he said he considers how quick the pitcher is to the plate and how the catcher is throwing, how the wind might affect the game and the typical platoon advantages. The best lineup on a given day isn’t always the fastest, most powerful, most balanced lineup the team could possibly trot out. After this winter, it sounds like Lou is excited to have even more flexibility and balance this season. Check out Vine Line for more on the specific battles going on this spring.
— Sean Ahmed
Visit the Vine Line page for more information on the current issue and the exclusive new subscriber gifts for 2009!
It may have been near-freezing — the wind blowing in across rightfield was rippling jackets in the upper deck like flags — but the Cubs made every second worth it with last night’s 3-1 win. …
? How cold was it? The Dodgers were so unprepared for the 40-degree drop that most everyone but Joe Torre was wearing black MLB coats instead of their team’s. …
? The Cubs dugout already was chirping in the first minute of the game, when Sean Gallagher seemed to have a called strikeout of Juan Pierre. Home plate umpire Bob Davidson immediately took off his mask and yelled at the coaches that the pitch was inside.
When a ball deflected off of Gallagher’s pitching hand two batters later, Lou calmly talked with Davidson before returning to the dugout. But he also couldn’t contain a cheeky smile toward Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa, also known to have some animated relationships with umpires. …
? Davidson spotted a young kid between innings and walked over to hand him a ball. …
? Kosuke had a great game, reaching three times on a walk, single and double. Cubs fans obviously recognized the importance of his matchup last night with Hiroki Kuroda: In the bottom of the sixth, the fans were on their feet clapping as Kosuke drew a walk after falling behind 0-2. …
? Carlos Marmol was frustrated with his stuff in the eighth inning and ended up loading the bases before getting out of the jam. He had trouble commanding his slider, throwing just one for a strike to the first four batters. When Los Angeles’ James Loney swung at a 2-2 slider in the dirt for the second out, that seemed to be the turning point. He threw a couple good ones to Matt Kemp before inducing a weak grounder to short to end the inning.
Tommy Lasorda, MLB Ambassador
Before the game, I had the opportunity to talk with Tommy Lasorda for an upcoming issue of Vine Line. We discussed the city of Chicago, the progress of Japanese baseball considering last night’s Kuroda-Fukudome matchup, and managing against Lou when Lou was a player in the 1978 World Series. He was animated and said he always loves coming to Chicago, where he makes sure to hit the Italian food of Carmine’s on Rush St. first.
Jim Hendry also stopped by to talk to his friend of some 30 years, and the two had a lot of fun exchanging old stories and calling out each other’s repeat jokes. Lasorda also congratulated Jim on the job he has done with this team and said, “If we don’t win tonight, I sure hope you do.”
Closing out the series against right-hander Derek Lowe (2-5, 5.03):
— Sean Ahmed