It's Baseball, Baby. Just play.
I read somewhere that the Cubs, in 1979, decided that they were going to hire Sparky Anderson to be their new manager — in 1980. A Tigers broadcaster heard the rumor from a friend who heard it from a friend who … well, you know. And suddenly, the usually tight fisted, no splash move making general manager, Jim Campbell, hired Sparky Anderson and fired the longtime company man Les Moss. Moss had finally realized an opportunity to manage the big club after years in the organization, including the minor leagues.
Anderson rode into town proclaiming that the Tigers would win a World Series within five years. He guaranteed it. Of course, if the Tigers had never won the 1984 World Series, we probably wouldn't remember that Anderson made that bold proclamation. The Tigers of the early '80s were a good bunch who grew up together. Much of the team was homegrown talent cultivated by company man Bill Lajoie.
This brings me back around to the Cubs and Madden. Even though the management structure is completely different all these years later, I'm sure there are people who remember when the Cubs took their time and didn't make the move to bring in Sparky. Maybe Sparky instead of Jim Frey could have led the Cubbies to the '84 Championship instead of the Tigers. As you may remember, Frey was appreciated in Chicago and won the '84 Manager of the Year.
Joe Maddon is a players' manager who gets great results from his teams. He is unorthodox, maybe even unique. He may be just the manager to bring in and put things together in Chicago. It's an interesting management structure in Chicago, and perhaps, Theo Epstein wishes he would have hired Madden all those years ago in Boston, after all. I like Joe Maddon and thought he would be a good addition to the Tigers if they so desired. But, this time, the Cubs struck first. It's not the terrible thing for baseball that everyone is making it out to be. I'm sure Rick Renteria will continue to get paid for the remaining two years on his contract and he may well end up managing elsewhere in the future. The Cubs have the resources to do what they feel they need to do to put themselves in the best position to win.
Is there anyone who doesn't wonder if Jim Leyland hadn't called Dave Dombrowski in 2005 and said, "Dave, I think I'd be willing to manage again if you had an opening ..." ? Leyland had quite after 1999 with the Colorado Rockies, saying he was burned out and didn't have the fire any longer. He regained it for eight years in the Motor City. The key to that move, though, was the Leyland had been a longtime Tiger before leaving for the Chicago White Sox in the early '80s to manage with Tony LaRussa, then an unknown.