Sandberg admitted the change in other leadership roles was a factor in his stepping down. Andy McPhail, who was recently hired in the front office, probably no longer wanted Sandberg, even though the two worked together in Chicago with the Cubs. McPhail has also served with the Twins and Orioles.
"With some changes at the top looming," Sandberg said, "I did not want to be in the way of anything happening and the progress going forward."
The Philadelphia Phillies had a day off on Thursday. Many wonder why the team did not announce his decision then. Sandberg says the resignation was his own doing, but I don't believe that is the case.
"With some leadership roles coming up, I think it was important for me not to be in the way," said Sandberg, "but to allow the organization to go forward."
He explained that he "felt it was better now than later" that he hand over his role, citing the "accumulation of... losses" as a major factor in his decision.
The interim manager will be Pete Mackanin. Mackanin previously managed the Pirates (2005) and Cincinnati Reds (2007), two somewhat successful stints. In the last month of 2005, Mackanin led the Pirates to a 12-14 record, but he was not retained as a full-time manager. When Mackanin joined the Reds, the team was the worst in baseball, but with Pete, the team had a winning percentage over .500.
The front office said that the process of filling Sandberg's position will take a long time and is still in the early stages, giving time for Mackanin to prove himself as a suitable choice.
During a press conference, Pat Gillick would not elaborate on the organizational changes that bothered Sandberg.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated that the move came as a surprise. Sandberg made the decision when he came to the park around 10 a.m. today.
Expectations for the Phillies were extremely low coming into the season, and it has been anything but pretty. Coming into today's game, the Phillies have a 26-48 record, last in their division. It would be hard to place the blame for their woes on Ryne Sandberg, but he seems to have done exactly that.
Overall, Sandberg was 119-159 during his tenure with the Phillies. Only 40 games under .500 is not half bad for a team that has been rebuilding, as Amaro Jr. eluded.
[Image Source: Joe Robbins/Getty Images]