On the morning of Dusty Baker's last game as Chicago Cub manager it was very interesting to find this Rick Morrisey column in the Chicago Tribune. The first paragraph says it all:
While Tribune Co. chairman, president and chief executive officer Dennis FitzSimons runs around trying to keep all the plates spinning, the two luckiest guys in the world have to be Andy MacPhail and Jim Hendry.
Morrisey is the latest member in the MSM to call this thing the way many in the CBA have called it for weeks, months and in a few cases years. While Dusty Baker was a problem, he was only part of the problem. There are bigger issues further up the cub food chain.
On Wednesday of this week the Tribs baseball bigfoot Phil Rogers called out Andy MacPhail for having little focus on the Cubs on-field woes.
The Cubs are finishing up a horrific season, arguably their most disappointing since 1969. His boss, Tribune Co., is facing its own set of unpleasant issues. And because of the labor talks, MacPhail is being forced to take his eye off the ball--that is, the on-field product at Clark and Addison, as well as at every minor-league stadium where farm teams play.
I was waiting for Phil to mention the Race to Mackinac in this laundry list of Andy's distractions:
MacPhail's attention has been diverted for a variety of reasons since the day in 2002 he promoted Jim Hendry to general manager, delegating responsibility for the Cubs' manager and 40-man roster. As president, MacPhail dealt with Don Fehr, falling concrete, city officials and roof-toppers, all the while hoping that power pitching and an increased payroll would give the Cubs the consistent success they lacked in his first 10 years on the job.
And here's the kicker from Rogers:
The question is--how does MacPhail, a baseball man hired to build a strong organization from the ground up, continue to avoid accountability for an operation that--with the exception of September and October 2003--has borne very little fruit?
Earlier in the week Barry Rozner in the Daily Herald took this swipe at Jim Hendry:
The Hendry who first joined the Cubs 12 years ago would have been willing to listen to concepts like OPS and would admit his starting rotation needs a massive makeover.
Those two things should have happened last winter, and must happen this winter.
Of course compliments must go to the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles who was the first member of the MSM to write the story blogs have been writing for months. Miles also let the facts tell the story:
For the fifth time in the last 10 years, the Cubs will finish with more than 90 losses. For the past 12 years, the man at the helm of the good ship Cubby has been Andy MacPhail, brought in after the 1994 players strike to lend stability and sense to an organization beset by chaos and bad decision-making.
MacPhail, a third-generation baseball man, brought good bloodlines and a winning pedigree. As general manager of the Minnesota Twins, he won world championships in 1987 and 1991, although his critics up north point out that the key parts of the ’87 team were in place before MacPhail got the GM job.
Since MacPhail arrived in Chicago, the Cubs have compiled an overall record of 912-1,006 (.475 winning percentage).
After coming within five outs of the 2003 World Series, the Cubs finished third in 2004 and fourth in 2005. They’re currently sixth and last in the National League Central.
If the College of Coaches era is the most ridiculed period in modern team history, Cubs fans have every right to believe the MacPhail era is the most disappointing, based on the expectations MacPhail brought with him and the deep pockets of the team’s ownership, the Tribune Co.
And in a move that shocked me the Trib's Morrisey openly discusses the turmoil in Trib Tower:
This pathetic season truly has been a team effort, and how MacPhail and Hendry are able to keep their jobs can be explained only by the turmoil inside Tribune Co.
The right thing to do would be to clean house, but FitzSimons has bigger worries than a bumbling baseball operation. The newspaper industry is in decline, Tribune Co. stock has been in the dumper for a long time and FitzSimons has said a restructuring of the corporate giant is under way.
Wow! It looks like the the mystery has been solved. When Phil Rogers is calling you out there might be troubles. The word is out on the street that MacSweatervest has failed as team President. Well, there's no time like the present for the Tribsters to do something about what really ails the Cubs.