The news that broke at midday Monday that the Cubs had hired Craig Counsell to be the team’s field manager for the next five years shocked everyone. Just a few weeks prior, David Ross had been given a vote of confidence from both President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer and Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts.
Some of the reaction I saw, both in comments here and on social media, bothered me. It was along the lines of, “Well, no one told David Ross first and that sucks and Jed Hoyer is a bad person for doing it this way.”
Except that’s not the way it happened at all, as Sahadev Sharma laid out in this article in The Athletic. The hire did come together quickly and in fact, in the sort of secrecy we rarely see in professional sports these days, what with leaks and social media around:
To ensure that this stayed quiet, Hoyer was the only person to meet with Counsell, very few people in the front office were aware of the meeting, and Counsell never came to the Cubs offices adjacent to Wrigley Field, according to a league source.
You’ll all certainly recall that Theo Epstein was famously spotted at a Starbucks more than a mile from Wrigley Field at the time he was in town interviewing to become Cubs President of Baseball Operations back in October 2011. No doubt, Hoyer wanted to avoid such a scene again. And after the deal was made with Counsell, Ross was absolutely told before it became public Monday:
Hoyer immediately booked a flight to Florida to meet with Ross in Tallahassee. The two had a long and at times tense conversation, during which general manager Carter Hawkins called some staff and players to deliver the news, and word quickly spread throughout the team.
So what I’d advise here is less overreaction and more “let’s learn the facts.”
Then, in the aftermath of the hire, some commenters here wondered why a news conference introducing Counsell as Cubs manager wasn’t being held right away. “The Giants introduced Bob Melvin the next day!” after his hire, wrote one commenter here.
The answer is obvious. Jed Hoyer’s not in Chicago this week — he’s in Scottsdale, Arizona at the general manager meetings. “Early next week,” as was stated in the team’s press release announcing the “dismissal” of Ross and hire of Counsell, is the earliest possible time for such a presser. And no, there hasn’t been a specific date and time announced for such presser, and of course I’ll cover that here when it happens.
What I’m trying to say here is this: We have been given news that’s pretty much unprecedented in MLB history, never mind Cubs history. It would be wise, I think, when something like this happens, to take a step back and let things happen when they happen, and wait for facts to come out before rushing to judgment.
There is an apt quote, from a number of years ago, from Orioles manager Buck Showalter, that I think applies here:
What is it about our sports world, and society in general, that wants to know about something before it happens? I’m OK knowing about it when it happens.
So I would advise, or perhaps, “Counsell” you, to think a bit about a situation before you put words down about it that might or might not be true.
In the meantime, I look forward to Counsell being introduced as Cubs manager — when it happens.