True to his word, new Cubs manager Joe Maddon placed a call to former Cubs manager Rick(y) Renteria not long after the press conference to announce Joe’s hiring.
You might think it would be awkward for the old manager to have to talk to the guy who not only replaced him, but basically shoved him out of his job into the street.
You don’t know the half of it.
Joe: Ricky, it’s Joe.Â How are things going?
Ricky: To be honest with you, Joe.Â I’ve had better days.
Joe: Look brother, believe me, I empathize with you.Â It’s a tough way to lose a really good gig.Â I just want you to know the Cubs came to me.Â I didn’t politic for your job.
Ricky: Hey, I’m sure you didn’t.Â It’s not like you could have said, “You know Theo, you have a manager, so I’m not going to talk to you.”
Joe: Well, I’m sure I could have done that, but they made it pretty clear to me that you weren’t in their long term future.Â I believe the words they used were ‘cuddly little baby sitter.’
Ricky: Did he really say “cuddly?”
Joe: Hey, I’d take that as a compliment.Â They basically told me you got the job because they were worried that Sveum was going to go Private Pyle on the place unless they got him out of there.Â Cuddly’s a lot more marketable than sociopath.
Ricky: I guess.Â Hey, you know, I don’t really have any hard feelings.Â The Cubs gave me a chance to manage, which had always been my dream.Â I could have lived without having to have Edwin Jackson start 27 games for me, but otherwise it was a dream.
Joe: Atta boy! That’s the spirit.Â Hey, it’s not like you’re sitting on the floor, drinking wine out of a box still wearing your Cubs jersey and no pants, or anything, right?Â Laughs
Ricky: Sobs.Â Oh, sure.Â No.Â I’m doing that in a lawn chair.
Joe: I ever tell you about a guy I knew back in Hazelton called Skunky Pete?
Ricky: Uh…no.Â We’ve only spoken like three times in our lives, Joe.
Joe: Good.Â Well, Skunky Pete was the janitor at Hazelton High back when I was the quarterback of the football team.Â You know why we called him Skunky Pete?
Ricky: I’m sure I don’t.
Joe: He had this shock of white hair right down the middle of his head.Â The rest of his hair was jet black.
And, he molested skunks.
Kind of ironic, really.
Ricky: What does this have to do with anything?
Joe: Well, you see, Rick, Skunky Pete was married to a really attractive woman, but she was running around with the high school principal.Â You know what a cukhold is, Rick?
Ricky: More and more every day.
Joe: Good.Â Anyway, eventually everybody in town knew about the principal and Skunky Pete’s wife, and Skunky Pete was starting to crack under the humiliation of the whole thing.
Ricky: Is that when he started molesting the skunks?
Joe: I don’t know if he really molested skunks.Â I was just being folksy.
Ricky: Sighs.Â Of course you were.
Joe: So there you have it.
Ricky: What did Skunky Pete do?Â Did he crack and put on a diaper and drive across country to an RV park and wait until just after midnight and douse the principal’s ridiculously big Winnebago with gasoline and set it on fire and watch it explode and then paw through the wreckage to find a shattered pair of the principal’s ludicrous hipster glasses?Â And then did he keep digging until he found the guy’s skull and then take a dump in it and mail it overnight to Theo Epstein’s house?
Joe: I like where you’re headed here, Ricky.Â Let it out man.Â You keep this stuff bottled up inside of you and it’ll give you an ulcer.Â You don’t want to spend your glory years sitting on the shitter and drinking buttermilk to try to put out the fire in your belly.
Ricky: Look, Joe.Â I don’t harbor any ill will towards you.Â I want you to know that I don’t think you are a scumbag, who backstabbed me to force me out of my dream job so you could make five times what I’m making.Â It doesn’t bother me at all that just when this team is ready to win you’re going to swoop in and never have to make out a lineup card where you bat Luis Valbuena clean up because he’s the best option to hit there.Â I don’t mind that in a couple of years you’re going to be doused in champagne, holding up a World Series trophy in a completely renovated Cubs clubhouse, cementing your status as a baseball legend, while I’m out in Lake Elisnore hitting fungos to a 47th round draft pick from UC-Chico.Â None of that bothers me.
Joe: To be fair, Rick, it sounds like it might bother you a little bit.
Ricky: You know what REALLY doesn’t bother me?Â That for the rest of my life I’m going to be “that guy” who got canned by the Cubs so you could get the job and that people won’t be able to remember if it was me, or Manny Acta or Edwin Rodriguez.Â They won’t even remember my name.Â That doesn’t bother me at all.
Joe: You know, I could put in a word for you in Tampa.Â They need a manager.Â Lot of good guys in that organization, Rick.
Ricky: Oh, could you do that for me?Â Oh, goody, why that’d be peachy!Â Just what I need right now, a favor from the asshole who stole my job.Â You know what?Â Have fun with that bunch in Chicago, Joe.Â You’re gonna love having Crane Kenney skipping through the clubhouse with another gaggle of frat buddies telling them how trading for Anthony Rizzo was “his idea” and how much Theo relies on him.Â You’re also going to really love how every day during the taping of your radio show, Ron Coomer will see the sandwich on your desk, ask if you’re going to eat it and somehow be chewing before he gets to the end of that sentence.Â You’re going to love having Dave Kaplan point out that mole on his head and ask if you think it’s “changed” since the day before when he made you look it.Â He’ll do that EVERY day!
You’re going to love having to ask Carrie Muskat if you can bum a stick of gum off of her and how she’ll act like she doesn’t have any, EVEN THOUGH WE ALL KNOW SHE KEEPS FOUR PACKS OF GUM IN THE ZIPPER COMPARTMENT ON HER FANNY PACK, AT ALL TIMES!
WE KNOW YOU HAVE GUM, CARRIE!Â WE ALL KNOW IT!
Joe: Wow, it sounds like there’s a lot of jazz to deal with there that I hadn’t thought of.
Ricky: Oh, I’m just scratching the surface.Â Did you know Starlin Castro drinks cough syrup with codeine before every at bat?Â I had to pinch hit for Jake Arrieta TWICE this year because he was in the tunnel doing crunches instead of in the on deck circle.Â Did you know that Ryan Sweeney is allergic to pine tar?Â That Pedro Strop physically can’t wear his cap straight because his forehead is lopsided?Â That Wayne Messmer will let you rub the bullet in his neck for a dollar?Â That Len Kasper wants to talk music with you ALL THE TIME but won’t EVER admit that Tito Puente was a musical genius!
Joe: This stuff is gold.Â Let me grab my Moleskine so I jot some of this down.
Ricky: At least twice a week, Todd Ricketts will demand you let him give you a ride home, and you have to ride on the handlebars of his bike.Â The historical society restrictions on Wrigley include no indoor plumbing in the manager’s office bathroom so if, god forbid, you have to take a dump while you’re at work you have to do it in one of Yosh Kawano’s old hats.
Travis Wood had to shave his beard last year because the health department found that a ferret had nested in it.Â Pat Hughes gets a discount at Binny’s because he does their commercials there and as far as I can tell the only thing he ever buys there are Maraschino cherries. The Ricketts deny it, but I’m pretty sure the secret ingredient in the bison dogs is Mark Prior’s rotator cuff.
The janitor there who looks sort of like Ed Lynch, actually is Ed Lynch.Â If you ask really nice, the guys in the firehouse down the left field line will let you sit on a firetruck.Â The Cubs haven’t had Gatorade for five years because Carlos Zambrano still hasn’t paid to fix the machine.
Joe: Ricky, this stuff is gold.Â I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.Â Tell you what, I’ve got to run, but let’s talk soon again, OK?
Ricky: Gotta go, huh? Why, are you going to call the Cardinals to try to get Mike Matheny’s job?
Joe: Good one.Â Hey, safe travels.Â Be well.
Ricky: Do you still need a third base coach?