When the history of the Interim Ryne Sandberg era is written, it will be a story ruined by a lack of substance.
“What?” people will ask. “Why are you doing this?”
“Because,” we will say, “No one else cared enough to write it.”
“That’s because it doesn’t matter,” they’ll reply, but by that point, we’ll have already sprinted away in the opposite direction. History is important, but it is constantly getting further away at every moment, so we must hurry from place to place to ensure that it is preserved as quickly as possible.
The Interim Manager Ryne Sandberg Era ended yesterday; he’s now just “Manager Ryne Sanberg.” History had to wait until today, though. Yesterday we were busy. History needs to understand that I had to buy shoes for a wedding, according to my girlfriend.
For 38 games, Interim Manager Sandberg presided over the Phillies. He’d been handed a roster on August 16 that had succeeded in staying out of last place for the entire season. Even more impressively, at 53-68, they wouldn’t have been in last in most divisions. Just two.
Sandberg inherited the role as Charlie Manuel trudged wearily out of the stadium, carrying a sandwich in a plastic bag. Philadelphia wept, though most had been calling for this exact thing to happen for months or years. We’re always doing that in Philly; becoming inconsolably furious, then sobbing. We’re like a daycare center, but a city, with beer.
So Interim Manager Sandberg slid into Charlie’s chair, stifling excitement for a job he knew he deserved, no matter how back-stabbingly he got the job. He had some thoughts immediately, having gone from the guy who shouts the team’s record to the guy who facetiously demands to know what the team’s record is.
“These guys are professional players, they’re getting paid well. Sometimes players have to dig deeper, play with pride, play with heart and for the name on the front of the uniform.”
Ryne was right; in fact, my little league coaches stressed the same thing after seeing me play – “playing the game” wasn’t nearly as important as digging deep, and uniforms, and such, they assured my parents. The Phillies had been youthful, explosive dynamos, at the height of their athleticism and sexuality. But then the future arrived, and they were all old, or traded, or inappropriately promoted because there was no one else. Also, Pat Burrell was long gone, so the sex-having went down considerably.
It was time for a fresh start. Unfortunately, it was all over. The Phillies were very far out of contention. The best their feel-good comeback could get them was probably about third place, and that’s if they stopped signing Casper Wells and Roger Bernadina, which they didn’t, and got Michael Martinez banned from baseball, which apparently you can’t.
Interim Manager Sandberg was clearly here to oversee what most would call “…” because they were watching Breaking Bad on another channel instead of the Phillies. It was a challenge he wasn’t thinking clearly enough to not want. But now, we know he’ll be back next year, maybe with Larry Bowa in tow, and set to heap a whole bunch of pressure onto Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard.
And we here in Philly know all about pressure. Have I told you yet about the sobbing?
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE INTERIM MANAGER SANDBERG ERA
- Phillies play the Diamondbacks for over seven hours in what stoned guy who can’t find the remote calls “a nightmare scenario.”
- Jimmy Rollins becomes the 13th Major Leaguer to hit 33 doubles in 10 or more seasons, when he should have done it in 15 seasons by now but he doesn’t hustle.
- John McDonald traded to Red Sox in middle of night to prevent media over-saturation.
- Roger Bernadina is signed, becomes the center fielder of the future for 12 hours.
- Rockies coach screams at a child Phillies fan to get his sh*t together.
- Maikel Franco moves to first base in order to halt his development long enough to not bring him up anytime soon.
- Casper Wells’ web site is almost ready.
It’s been a turbulent era, and it’s hard to believe it’s already over. Some may look back on these days and think, “Hmm, yes. You can tell the Phillies were headed somewhere good.” And other people will say, “This is why I hate taking the subway. People like you.”