If there's anything I can say definitively about Ryne Sandberg it's that he has extremely white teeth. The dude clearly brushes twice a day, keeps up with his flossing, and might even splurge on the occasional cosmetic dental procedure.
Beyond that, his managerial tactics are Yostian (pre-playoffs version). He uses guys in "their inning" and rarely deviates from it. This has led to some curious decisions to pitch left Jake Diekman against strings of right handed hitters at times because god forbid a bullpen pitcher not know before the game starts the precise moment at which he will enter it.
Generously, Sandberg has given his time to answer some questions for us about the 2014 season and what lies ahead. Moreover, Sandberg insisted that I inform the reader that he respected all of the questions and answered them the right way. Of that, consider yourself informed.
If I had traded you midseason, would the team have done better or worse?
Before the players arrived at CBP for the home opener this year, I hung three phrases in the dugout: "Respect the Game," "Be the Ultimate Teammate," and "Play the Game the Right Way." It was kind of a last minute thing, you see, so I didn't even have time to laminate them. They were simple, Times New Roman font, Landscape Orientation (back in my day we called it Hot Dog before all the vegan politically correct police took over), on some Extra Bright WB Mason paper. These are values that transcend their presentation. Anyway, what was the question again? Oh, right. What I'm getting at is that I find it difficult to respect this question because it implies some sort of disrespect toward me in that you would even consider trading me. But I'll be respectful to you. An eye for an eye, then the whole world goes blind, you know?
I'll tell you what, if I were traded mid-season, the game would not have been played the right way here in Philadelphia. Without that sign reminding them, Cole Hamels would be pitching toward second base instead of home, Dom Brown would hit the ball and run down the third base line. You want to see ugly baseball? Try seeing a team that plays the wrong way (that's the opposite of the right way, you know). No one has played the wrong way for the citizens of Philadelphia since y100 went under in 2005. Sublime will not be making a comeback on my watch.
All my options are open for next year. Should I trade you, release you, or keep you?
Would the ultimate teammate give up on his teammate one year into a three year contract? A teammate respects promises made to other teammates. You promised me three years, one year doesn't change that. We're teammates in management and a teammate stands by his teammates through thick and thin. It's your duty to keep me.
Do you think you will be part of the next great Phillies team?
I think next year can be the next great Phillies team. You thought we had a lot of veteran leadership this year? Well, guess what: we'll have more next year. Chase Utley will be veteraner; Ryan Howard will be veteraner; Jimmy Rollins will be veteraner; Marlon Byrd, Cliff Lee, Chooch, Papelbon will all be more veteran than in 2014 too. If Burnett had come back, he would have been the veteranest. That loss definitely hurt our chances, but veteranness still abounds. Everyone knows that experience wins and we've been stockpiling all the experience for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Overall, explain to me how your time with the Philadelphia Phillies has been the highlight of your life.
I'll direct you to 0:46 to 1:09 in the following video:
Two things I want to clarify:
- Just because my wife and I like to take walks around Center City Philadelphia does not mean I like walks in a baseball game. Walking is for Rittenhouse Square; hitting is for baseball. Imagine if we started hitting people in Rittenhouse Square because we liked hitting in baseball? It would be pandemonium. Let's keep hitting and walking in their respective places, ok?
- I really like hustle and bustle, but moreso hustle because it is a pure expression of all three clubhouse sign commandments. You respect the game by showing you hustle for it; you are an ultimate teammate when you show your teammates you will do whatever it takes to win the game; and you play the game the right way when you hustle counterclockwise, not clockwise, around the bases. It's like being in possession of all three hallows in Harry Potter. 4th sign for 2015: Hustle is the Deathly Hallows.
On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst, how do you rate on the "it's my fault we're in this freaking mess and finished in last place" scale?"
The players play the games and if they would only show some damn respect for it I wouldn't have to sit here and answer all these disrespectful questions. I've had enough. Exit Sandman.