CHICAGO -- Hall of Fame Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg received a big ovation from the crowd as he took the Philadelphia Phillies lineup to home plate in his return to Wrigley Field on Friday.
Sandberg, who was passed over twice by the Cubs in their managerial searches, said he doesn't hold any ill will toward his former organization.
"The Cubs gave me a chance to start as a manager in (Single-A) Peoria," said Sandberg, who is the Phillies' interim manager. "They gave me a chance to manage for four years, and other than that I understand how baseball works."
Sandberg, who has led the Phillies to an 8-6 record since taking over for the fired Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16, said he is content with his new job.
"I am pretty much focused on what I am doing here," Sandberg said when asked if he follows the Cubs and the players he helped develop as a manager in the minor leagues. "Every now and then I see if something stands out. I check on some of the players I had."
It's no surprise when Sandberg talks about focus and hard work as a manager. Knowing him for 32 years, I always believed Sandberg outworked the opposition and his own insecurities to become one of the best to ever play second base. I expect him to do the same as a manager.
"I think players can be guided in the direction you want them to go," Sandberg said. "You can get things done the way you want them to be done with structure and communication. I think the players like that. I think any team and any player needs leadership, and that basically starts with the manager. I am all about that."
Sandberg, who left 15 tickets to Friday's game for family, was unsure what to expect from his weekend at Wrigley.
"I pretty much have had my managerial hat on," he said. "I was thinking about the lineup coming in here. I of course did wonder what this [return] was going to be like … not knowing what this would be like, having not been in these shoes before."