Saturday, November 1, 2014
RICK RENTERIA GETS LEFT ON THE DANCE FLOOR
Anyone who has spent significant time on earth knows that life is not fair and no one goes
through it forever riding the good ship lollipop. Rick Renteria, a baseball lifer who got
to manage the Chicago Cubs in 2013, sure found that out. After one season, he was forced
to walk the plank and replaced by a superstar manager who himself, had suffered more
than a few of life's hard knocks.
The only thing Renteria did wrong was not be Joe Maddon. Renteria was a good and loyal
soldier, but in the baseball world he just wasn't as polished, sophisticated, accomplished and
as good looking as Maddon. It was as if the Cubs had been dating Kirstie Alley and brought
her to a dance only to find out Charlize Theron was there and extremely available. She was
the hottest girl on the floor and they just had to have her, even at the expense of hurting
the feelings of the date they brought to the dance.
The Cubs pursued the object of their desire as their Kirstie Alley was still under contract
and recently praised by the front office for guiding to young, talented, but still raw team
to a 73-89 record. Just last week Maddon divorced himself from Tampa Bay to seek a big
market, not to mention a bigger paycheck. And after being showered with love, affection,
and gifts, much the way a man wooing Theron would, Maddon and the Cubs left the
dance together, leaving Renteria all alone without a ride home.
Was it a do-wrong by Theo Epstein and the Cubs? That probably depends on who
you ask. Was the courtship of Maddon while a team already had a date unheard of?
Absolutely not. In 2011, the Miami Dolphins openly pursued Stanford's Jim
Harbaugh to be their next head coach. Owner Stephen Ross flew across the country with
a boatload of cash trying to convince Harbaugh to come back with him to South Florida.
There was only one problem: the Dolphins still had a head coach in Tony Sparano. Like
Renteria, Sparano had been a football lifer who paid his dues before getting his
first chance to be a head coach. Getting replaced is one thing, having your employer
trying to replace you in front of the entire world is downright embarrassing and humiliating.
Luckily for Sparano, Harbaugh rejected the Dolphins advances and they left the dance
without getting the prettiest girl on the floor. They had to go back to their date and
soothe his feelings, which they did with a contract extension.
The Cubs ended up giving Renteria a pat on the back and a nice chunk of change before
sending him on his merry way. They will show off their Charlize Theron Monday at
one of the biggest press conferences the city will see since Michael Jordan announced
he was leaving the Bulls for good.
What happened to Renteria is what happens very often in life. Whenever a company
thinks they can get someone better than what they have, they do it. Baseball is a cutthroat
business in a cutthroat world. The Cubs knew they could give the managerial position
and instant upgrade and got the hottest prospect at the dance.
Joe Maddon gives the Cubs credibility and a brilliant mind who can help the team win
a World Series for the first time in more than 100 years. Rick Renteria is now all
alone on baseball's dance floor looking for a new partner.
It's life, it happens and sometimes dances can really end up sucking.