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Scenes from Spring Training: It’s hard not to like Mike Quade

Feb 28, 2011, 12:43 PM EDT

Mike Quade

I got down to the clubhouse a little late — and entered through the wrong door, oops! — but my timing ended up being pretty good, as manager Mike Quade was just opening up his office for the media gaggle.  I walked in and, as I usually do, hung in the back to take it all in.  My takeaway: Mike Quade is an impressive freakin’ individual.

It’s hard to point to a specific reason why. It’s just his manner and demeanor.  He’s a confident guy — really commands the room — but he has a self-effacing sense of humor you tend not to see from guys like that. Like Scioscia, he made a crack about his bald head. When asked about the lineup he said “I dunno guys, you have any ideas?” Based on his calendar, some photos and a sheet of postage stamps on his bulletin board, he really, really likes dogs.

And he was impressive and seemingly effortless on the normal baseball stuff that a lot of managers seem to struggle with.  He was asked about when you get on a guy for a mistake in the spring and when you don’t and his answer was immediate and straight forward (one mistake, you let it go; you deal with patterns).  He was asked a question about pitchers hitting 8th that, while I may be wrong, seemed to be calculated to get him to say something about Tony La Russa. He neither dodged it nor slammed La Russa. He said what he thought — he puts his worst hitter ninth and that’s usually his pitcher — and acknowledged that La Russa does what works for him and there’s no problem with it.

The point isn’t about the specifics of anything he said.  It was just the manner.  He seems like he has no time for baloney, but he isn’t so stridently anti-baloney that he’s going to bull through things that may seem minor with some sort of businesslike false bravado. He talked about delegating authority to coaches and being mindful of how hard it is for the marginal guys in the roster this time of year, but also made it clear that his job is to get his starting nine and pitching staff ready for the regular season.

When Lou Piniella stepped down last year and the search was on for his permanent replacement, a guy with close ties to many Cubs players told me that the strong preference of the players was for Quade to get the job. And he got the job.  And based on what I’ve seen from him, he was the right damn choice.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Is there anybody you didn’t like or were not impressed with out there? I mean, seems everybody is impressive to you this past week. Could it be that you are googly-eyed because you are hanging in the clubhouses during spring training…(not that there’s a problem with this believe me).

    • heyblueyoustink - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      Oh c’mon man…’s old hat……butter them up before the season, get them in their comfort zone, and then whence the season hits……bury them like Bartolo Colon and fried twinkies at the house of gravy

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Yeah, I’m just busting Craig’s stones…kinda. 😉

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      Actually, I’ve ran into a great many that have underwhelmed me. I’m just trying to live by the “if you don’t have something nice to say” rule, at least insofar as personal habits, traits and demeanor goes. I’ll rip when the ripping is warranted.

      That said — there is a tangible difference between spring training in Arizona and spring training in Florida. Folks are just way more laid back here. And maybe it’s because of the particular teams I’m dealing with this year, team employees and coaches and stuff just seem way nicer too.

      • spudchukar - Feb 28, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        Probably due to your ever expanding media presence. Next year’s arrival by limo, should insure the same if not better treatment in Florida.

  2. BC - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Wasn’t Quade the name of Schwartzenegger’s character in Total Recall?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      Arnold’s character’s name was Quaid.

      • BC - Feb 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        Darn spelling.

    • Panda Claus - Feb 28, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      I’ve heard the manager’s name pronounced “QUAD-ee”, but I’m not sure if that’s correct.

  3. Panda Claus - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    So Craig, do you like Quade or not? Stop keeping us in suspense please.

  4. Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    “And based on what I’ve seen from him, he was the right damn choice.”

    And it worked out for Philly too. I guess Ryne will be the next Phills skipper……

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

      Wait…wasn’t Sandberg sent packing, only to be supplanted by Juan Samuel (not necessarily in direct succession)? Crap….

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        Both played second base, but everything is blurry. Trading Ryne away ended up being quite a boo boo. Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus…. jeezzzz, bad……..

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2011 at 4:29 PM

        But now Samuel is back, too… [shivers]

  5. willcoop - Feb 28, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    Cmon it’s no secret anymore that Ryno went to the Phillies because he thinks Charlie Manuel is going to croak! Quade is made of iron, guy works out and still throws bp. Can you see Lumpy Lou throwing bp? If Ryno wanted a job as a skipper, Detroits the place. Jim (3 pak) Leyland is going to smoke his brains out and croak.

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