A Picture of Ryne Sandberg, Smiling

Ryne Sandberg, manager of A-ball Peoria Chiefs
Ryne Sandberg, manager of A-ball Peoria Chiefs

Why? Just because I like Ryne Sandberg.

I like everything he stands for, in his playing and managing career, and as a person.

I loved his Hall of Fame induction speech.

And today is as good a day as any to post a picture of Ryno, because tonight, his Peoria Chiefs are playing the local Class A team, the Kane County Cougars, but not at the usual site in Geneva; tonight’s game is at Wrigley Field.

It’s good to see him getting into managing, and deciding to start at the bottom, in Class A ball. Riding buses from Peoria to places like Appleton, WI for 8 hours is not a dream come true for a lot of people. Especially former baseball players who used to make millions of dollars, and had stadiums full of people cheering for them.

Lots of former players in the Hall of Fame probably wouldn’t do that. Heck, lots of guys who are not in the Hall of Fame wouldn’t even think of doing that.

But Ryne Sandberg is the goods.

From an mlb.com story:

“I’ve heard him say numerous times, ‘When I was in the Minor Leagues, I wasn’t the best player, I just worked harder than anybody else,'” said Rocky Vonachen, the Chiefs’ president and general manager. “I think that’s the attitude he’s trying to teach guys.”

From another story in the Peoria Journal-Star:

Good teams take advantage of whatever little piece an opponent gives them.

Right now, in first place in the Midwest League’s Western Division, the Peoria Chiefs are a good team.

The local nine capitalized on almost every mistake, no matter how big or small, by the Great Lakes Loons for a 7-1 matinee victory Monday.

“That goes hand in hand with a team that is playing well and in first place,” Chiefs manager Ryne Sandberg said. “No matter who it is, those types of teams will take advantage when you give them more outs. That’s kind of the case with us right now.”

If the Cubs are smart, they’re grooming Sandberg to succeed Lou Piniella in the next couple of years. He’s exactly the kind of player that makes a good manager: smart, attentive, hard-working, disciplined, and focused, and he demands that baseball be played like the team game it is.

He is also a quality human being, and he deserves every good thing that comes his way, and more.

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