When Larry Rothschild went to the pitcher's mound Friday, it was pretty much a nonevent.
No booing. No cheering.
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That's probably the way Rothschild wanted it.
After spending nine years as pitching coach of the Cubs, under five managers, Rothschild left in the fall to become pitching coach of the New York Yankees.
He needed to tend to family matters, and the Yankees train in Tampa, not far from Rothschild's home. Although he was under contract with the Cubs, they allowed him to leave.
So far, so good.
"It's been good," he said in the visitors clubhouse at Wrigley Field. "Being home for spring was special because I got to spend a lot more time with the kids and go to some of their sporting events and just be around them, more importantly. So that part of it's real good.
"It's been fun being around all these guys. I miss a lot of the stuff in Chicago. I was born and raised here and developed a lot of friendships over the last nine years. I think it's worked out well."
It certainly has in the won-loss records. Even after the Cubs' 3-1 victory Friday, the Yankees have a record of 39-29 while the Cubs are 29-40.
Cubs fans may realize now what they had in Rothschild. Frequently a lightning rod for criticism even though he had to answer to managers with their own peculiar concepts of how to handle pitchers, Rothschild is one of the more respected pitching coaches in the game.
"It sounds like he took his share of criticism like we all do," said Cubs manager Mike Quade. "I've been around some really good pitching coaches. And understand, he's a friend, not just a good pitching coach. But he's one of the best I've ever been around. I learned a great deal from him. So much of what we do in this job involves handling pitching.
"To have somebody with that kind of experience, to handle it and to learn from, was huge."
If Rothschild has any regret about his time in Chicago, he said it's only that the Cubs couldn't close the deal after making the playoffs in 2003, 2007 and 2008.
He knows he's in a pressure cooker now.
"Probably because George (late Yankees owner Steinbrenner) isn't around, it's probably similar to other places," he said of the culture. "There's a lot of detail. There's a lot more detail, probably than most teams in baseball. I'm sure there are some that do as much due diligence, but it's been interesting. It's 'win' and that's it. And I think everybody knows that."
Cubs pitchers were fiercely loyal to Rothschild. Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano all filled different roles under Rothschild.
"He did a really good job here," Dempster said. "He watched some guys grow up. He had Z for nine years, and Woody and myself. He's doing well over there and is well-liked over there. So I hope the fans give him a nice round of applause."
Rothschild said he hadn't reflected on whether appreciation of his talents grew over time in Chicago. Instead, he brought it back to family, noting that his 84-year-old father was attending Friday's game.
"I don't know; I haven't really thought about that," he said of his legacy here. "I'm here to do my job, and that's it. "After nine years of coming in the other door, it's obviously different. It would be for anybody. We're here to get a job done, and that's it.
"I'm pretty fortunate that I can come back and say hi to people. I grew up here. My family's here. My kids get to spend some time with their grandparents, which is good."