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Welcome to the final installment of our In The Dugout series. In this edition we’re going to get to know the man the Cubs brass have entrusted to lead them out of mediocrity. Ladies and Gentlemen, without any further ado, let’s get to know the Cubs new skipper, Rick Renteria.
For a period of time, the Chicago Cubs manager was a position many desired. The exposure was already in place. The Cubs had a good core of players at the Major league level. And, I mean, who doesn’t want to break a 100+ year old drought? But that time has for the most part passed. The opportunity to manage a big league team is still exciting, but the Cubs position may have lost some of the luster it once had.
You’d be hard pressed to believe that after hearing Rick Renteria talk about the opportunity. He has no qualms about saying the Cubs can put a competitive team on the field, even at the sake of seeming naive. But Renteria has spent much of his life in this game, and sees it in a deeper way than most people do. More than numbers, it’s the players as well. And that’s a big part of why he was brought in as the Cubs manager. Renteria is of Mexican American descent. The ability to communicate with the Latin american players, which makes up a good portion of current, and future players in the organization, was indeed an integral part of his hiring. What also contributed was Jed Hoyer’s familiarity with Renteria in his time with the Padres organization, as well as Jason McLeod.
The Cubs also talked to former players of his to get a feel of the type of person Renteria is, and received nothing but affirmation that he was the right man for the job. He has spent all his time in baseball since being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1980 MLB draft. He spent five seasons with three teams (Pittsburgh, Seattle, Florida), before retiring in 1994.
He scored his first managerial job with the Brevard County Manatees in 1998 in the Marlins organization. In 2003 he was named hitting coach of the Lake Elsinore Storm, part of the Padres organization, and took over as manager the following season. After three seasons as the Storm’s manager, Renteria moved up to the Triple-a Portland Beavers. He then spent 2008-2013 as a coach for the San Diego Padres, the last three as their bench coach. Renteria also had the opportunity to manage Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic last year.
The Cubs managerial job in the past few seasons has been nothing but a revolving door. Many on social media don’t expect Renteria to get to year three. It’s not going to be an easy task. But in the short time he’s been with the organization I’ve been impressed by his outlook. How this translates to the field is yet to be seen. But in just a few short weeks pitchers and catchers will report and the “Wait til’ next year” will be over.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s feature on the men inside the Cubs dugout. I myself got to learn a little bit more about them, and who will be leading our Cubs this year. Keep following Cubbies Crib on for all things Cubs, and also on Twitter @Cubbiescrib