When the news first broke last Friday afternoon that Joe Maddon opted out of his contract and was no longer manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, I was hopeful.
Hopeful it could mean a change for the Cardinals, as I tweeted at the time. Not that I really believed John Mozeliak would make a change and remove Mike Matheny as manager, but I could dream.
Maddon was indeed who I wanted as Cards manager back when Tony La Russa retired following the 2011 World Series — he was, as Tara wrote at the time, “the overwhelming AMF favorite.” As she wrote in November 2011:
He has personality galore, but he also has an understanding of Cardinal Nation. He did, after all, grow up as a Cardinals fan. He’s done wonders with a bare-bones budget in Tampa Bay. He works well in bringing up young players. But he also has enough “old-school” in his blood to satisfy the traditionalist.
During my lunch on Friday, I was listening to sports radio station the Score in Chicago. It wasn’t a surprise they were predicting Maddon would be coming to the Cubs — not a surprise because what team wouldn’t want Maddon?
I knew the Cubs would be getting their “real” manager sometime in the next year or two, meaning the manager who would be the final piece of their rebuilding process Theo Epstein began when he became Cubs president in 2011. And I figured that real manager would be a big name — but I was thinking, given his history with Theo, it would be Terry Francona. And that would have been fine. After 2004, I don’t really like either one. They’d be perfect together in Chicago. Continue reading