Mike Quade had his hands full when he got the phone call he'd been waiting for all his life.
"I don't usually fish on Saturday or Sunday, said Quade, who was reintroduced Tuesday as manager of the Cubs. "But I decided to try to get some blue crab in my net. I spent about 3-4 hours, and I did very well. I had some crabs to clean. The phone rang, and I looked at the name, and it was (Cubs general manager) Jim (Hendry).
"I'm looking at these crabs I've got to boil and clean. I'm looking at the (phone) and saying, 'This is not going to work out. There's no way I'm getting both of these things done.' I called a friend of mine and said, 'I got fresh crabs for you, but you've got to clean them, and you've got to boil them,' so it was a good thing.
It was definitely a good thing for the 53-year-old Quade, a graduate of Prospect High School in Mount Prospect. Hendry settled on Quade as his manager late last week and called Quade's Florida home over the weekend with the good news.
Thus ended a short wait from the end of the baseball season, when Quade guided the Cubs to a 24-13 record down the stretch.
Hendry talked with Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and former big-league managers Bob Melvin and Eric Wedge, with Wedge and Sandberg joining Quade as finalists.
Quade won out, taking the next big step in a sports career that began in earnest at Prospect and included minor-league managing and coaching stops in such places as Macon, Ga., Rockford, Harrisburg, Ottawa and Des Moines.
"It's funny, Quade said. "You start out thinking, '85, wow.' Macon, Ga.? That's a long way back. In fact, I got a wonderful text from somebody today who said, 'It's a long way from Macon.' And it is. But I love the game.
Quade's only big-league managerial experience came during the final six weeks of this season, when Hendry tabbed him to replace Lou Piniella, who resigned to take care of his ailing mother. During Tuesday's news conference at Wrigley Field, Quade showed no jitters.
He was as relaxed with the media as he was during the season. When a reporter threw the word 'pathos' at him, Quade replied, "Easy on the words, bro.
But seriously, he added: "I'd like to think I take this thing very, very seriously, but maybe don't take myself quite as seriously … an honest, straightforward approach with people, whether that's with you guys (the media) or whether that's looking somebody in the eye in the clubhouse.
"It's the way I've always done things. I think that will serve me well down the road. I guess we'll find out.