Strike 1: By now, you probably know that Mike Quade is no longer the Cubs’ manager, and that Sandberg has been ruled out of the search for a new skipper.  Theo Epstein personally called Ryno to explain that he’s not on the list of potential candidates.  He was a little more blunt when he informed the rest of the world:

“We are looking for someone with whom and around whom we can build a foundation for sustained success.  The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.”

The message was clear–Ryno’s not an option.  But many other popular candidates and dark horse contenders still remain in the running.  I’ve said for a while now I think Bob Brenly might be as a good a choice as any, and I don’t see anything on that list that would disqualify him from the search.  Another intriguing name that came up a lot yesterday was Mike Maddux.  Depending on how long the search goes, there might be time to properly breakdown and handicap the candidates.

But for now here’s my question to you–based on that criteria, who do you think is best suited to be the Cubs’ next manager?  Lots of longshot names will be tossed around in the next few days as Epstein and Hoyer make their decision, so for now there’s no wrong answers.  But looking around the league, who do you think best exemplifies and embodies the qualities Epstein highlighted above?

Strike 2:  On Tuesday Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and the MLB reached an agreement to auction the team in bankruptcy court, with the hope that the new owners could take control in time for the 2012 season.  It’s no secret that McCourt has not been a good owner, and the extreme shadiness of his business dealings make it clear now that he probably never should have been given control of a team in the first place.  Add to that the public fiasco of his highly contentious divorce, and he might be in the running for the title of Worst Pro Sports Owner Ever.  Who in your estimation would be his rivals for such an ignominious crown?

Strike 3:  If the NFL season ended today, the Indianapolis Colts (themselves no strangers to bad owners) would own the first pick in the draft–the one earmarked for quarterbacking wunderkind Andrew Luck.  With Peyton Manning determined to return to action–possibly this season, if you believe Peyton–what do you think the Colts should do with the pick?  Should they draft Luck and part ways with Manning?  Or trade down in the draft, and stick with their aging superstar?  It’s clear right now that the Colts are only as good as Manning–regardless of what you think of him or Luck, that’s not a sustainable model for the team.  Is now the time to reboot with the highly-touted prospect, or does Manning still have enough in the tank to stick with him?

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