The Phillies have hired Hall of Fame Second Baseman Ryne Sandberg as the Manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, their AAA affiliate. Sandberg who decided not to return to the Cubs organization after losing out on the Cubs job managed AAA Iowa City to a 82-62 record last season and was named Manager of the Year in the Pacific Coast League.
For a team that has struggled mightily in each season of their existance, this is a move that you can’t help but like. Comments that Sandberg made during his induction into the Hall of Fame on July 31, 2005 tell the story about what he will expect from his players..”It was all about doing things right. If you played the game the right way, good things would happen. That is what I loved most about the game, how a ground out to second with a man on second and nobody out was a great thing. Respect….When did it become ok for someone to hit homeruns and forget how to play the rest of the game?…These guys sitting up here did not pave the way for the rest of us so that players could swing for the fences every time up and forget how to move a runner over to third. It is disrespectful to them, to you and to the game of baseball, that we all played growing up…Alot of people say that this honor validates my career, but I didn’t work hard for validation. I didn’t play the game right because I saw a reward at the end of the tunnel. I played the game right because that is what you are supposed to do, play it right and with respect…If this validates anything, it is that learning how to bunt and hit and run and turning two is more important than knowing where to find the little red light at the dug out camera.”
“The feeling that I have had since I got the call is a feeling I suspect will not go away…This is my last big game, my last big at bat. This is my last time catching the final out. I dreamed of this as a child but had too much respect for the game to think this was ever possible. I believe it is because I had so much respect for the game and respect for getting the most out of my ability that I stand here today. I hope others in the future will know this feeling for the same reason. Respect for the game of baseball. When we all played, it was mandatory. It is something I hope we will one day see again”.
What was written above, is exactly what was missing in Allentown last year. The fundamentals.