Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg returned to Wrigley Field on Friday as the interim manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.
After the Phillies came back from a five-run deficit, the lineup card of his team’s first win at Wrigley Field under his direction was prominently featured in the middle of the Philadelphia interim manager’s desk. The Cubs Hall of Famer had spent a chaotic day that included 25 interview requests, Chicago and Philadelphia television appearances and countless one-on-ones.
With a veteran team going nowhere, Sandberg has been able to get his players to bust their behinds for him in his quest to become the full-time manager in 2014.
"There is some good energy on the bench," Sandberg said. "Guys were talking it up and pulling for each other. (Jeff) Samardzija was in a good grove for a while, but we were able to get some guys on base and put some hits together."
Sandberg used his bullpen to perfection, getting four shutout innings in relief after Roy Halladay gave up five runs in five innings.
Sandberg could not resist telling reporters about his warm welcome by the fans and the subtle differences he noticed at the friendly confines.
"The empty seats in the bleachers and the empty seats are something new to me," the manager said. "Most of my career from 1984 on was a tough ticket and a sellout. So it was a little odd to see the bleachers that empty. Other than that I noticed a lot of Phillies fans who made the trip. They got a little bit loud in the ninth inning."
Sandberg admitted it was awkward to take the lineups out to home plate before the game while hearing the Cubs fans.
"It was good, I heard it -- a little tip of the hat," said Sandberg. "Once I got up there with the umpires and we chatted a little bit, I asked them if they wanted me to tell them the ground rules."
Sandberg, as usual, would not expound on how personally gratifying the win was for him. He had been passed over twice in interviews for the Chicago manager job.
"It is a good win to get," he said. "Down 5-0 out of the chute and the guys battle back. It is extra special."
Sandberg and Rogers Hornsby are the only Cub Hall of Famers who managed against their former team after being inducted to Cooperstown.