I met Jim Hendry once a few years back. I was shadowing a Sun-Times reporter for the day and was able to hang out in the Cubs dugout for a little while during batting practice. While sitting on the bench next to Jacque Jones, Hendry sat down on my other side and we started to make small talk. It was nice of him to give a young journalism student 10 minutes of his time to just shoot the breeze about whatever. Among other things, we talked about Park Ridge (where we both live) and high school football. It was nice and he was nice.
Unfortunately nice isn’t enough anymore. Especially when it comes to the GM of the Chicago Cubs.
Before the 2009 season started, lots of fans were excited at the idea of having Mark Cuban own the Cubs because we knew he was a passionate owner who would spare no expense in winning a championship. Now 70 games into the season, we’re all screaming for manager Lou Piniella to show some fire and get this team motivated.
But we are looking for passion and fire in the wrong place. We need it in our general manager.
We need a GM who doesn’t just want to win, but needs to win. We need a guy with a competitive fury that rivals that of the players on the field. We need a GM who will rip the competitions’ head off and defecate down their necks without thinking twice.
Not too long ago I read “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis and the type of psychotic behavior displayed by Oakland GM Billy Beane is the exact attitude I want my GM to have. This dude is throwing chairs through walls, telling people to eff off, and putting up 300 lbs. on the bench press during games. He is completely obsessed. All he wants to do is win. That’s what I want my GM to do.
Then I look at guys like White Sox GM Kenny Williams. Is he the smartest guy in the world? No. Does he have the biggest budget in baseball? No. But the guy makes moves that count and when he hits, he hits hard. Say what you will about Kenny, but he doesn’t believe in rebuilding and always does something that opens some eyes.
Or how about Cardinals GM John Mozeliak who not only got one of the best hitters on the trading block right now, but simultaneously gave Cubs nation a big “FU” at the same time.
Where’s our statement trade? Where’s our “FU” to our rivals?
For those of you who want to defend Hendry for not having the financial freedom to do anything because of the Cubs ownership issues, let me say that I only see this handcuffing as yet another reason to get rid of Hendry. If the Cubs can’t do anything to their roster and if Piniella’s job is safe, then there is only one move that we can/must do: Fire Hendry. We have no other options.
Jim, I like you and you’ve been a decent GM who has tried to make significant moves. Unfortunately you have come up empty over the past few years. Dems the breaks fella. Nice guys finish last today.