Earlier this week I talked to an acquaintance who works for the Cubs, and I was surprised to hear that along with all of the big-money player moves this off-season, the Dawn of McDonough has seen some genuine changes in the mood and manner in the Cub offices.
My friend says there is now a seriousness and a feeling of accountability among the staff that wasn’t characteristic of the Andy MacPhail years and that many employees, even lifers, are quite unsure where they stand as Cubs President John McDonough reshapes the organization.
These are good developments, I think, and insecurity, at least in limited doses, can be a powerful motivator. Whether it’s by his words, his actions or sheer intimidation, if the new Cub president creates a more determined, more efficient, more effective organization, he will have succeeded in one, important aspect of his new position.
One other observation on this JMcD front:
Though I have looked all over for it, I can’t find any official announcement from the Cubs that McDonough had shed the “Interim” part of his title. The closest I have found is this story at cubs.com, in which the writer casually mentions that, “the interim title is gone now…”
That sort of thing is normally worthy of a press conference. Perhaps the club felt the dramatic, end-of-the-season gathering at which MacPhail’s resignation and McDonough’s ascendance were announced was enough. Or maybe after the $300 million investment in player salaries this winter, the Cubs could no longer afford to spring for Diet Coke and cold cuts (sportswriters LOVE free food and drink).
Or maybe the decision to not celebrate McDonough’s full-fledged presidency reflects the fact that the job was McDonough’s to start with and the only reason for the interim tag was to avoid the appearance that he might have lobbied for the job or somehow undermined MacPhail.
We’ll never know for sure and most fans don’t care, but in the upside-down, media managing world of the Chicago Cubs, I think it’s always fun to talk about.
(P.S. If you’re aware of an official announcement of McDonough being named President, please let me know and I will retract the preceding five paragraphs…but I really did look for the story.)