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updated: 7/25/2011 4:38 PM

Cubs' Quade: It's a tough dream job

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  • Cubs manager Mike Quade, here celebrating a win over the Phillies last week with third baseman Aramis Ramirez, calls his job a "tough dream job". And while it hasn't been fun a times, he looks forward to going to work and solving the problems.

      Cubs manager Mike Quade, here celebrating a win over the Phillies last week with third baseman Aramis Ramirez, calls his job a "tough dream job". And while it hasn't been fun a times, he looks forward to going to work and solving the problems.
    Associated Press

  • Cubs manager Mike Quade said he doesn't worry about criticism from fans and the media. He tries, he said, to keep his perspective by talking with baseball people who will be straight with him.

      Cubs manager Mike Quade said he doesn't worry about criticism from fans and the media. He tries, he said, to keep his perspective by talking with baseball people who will be straight with him.
    Associated Press

 
 

Almost one year ago, Mike Quade took over as manager of the Cubs when Lou Piniella retired.

For Quade, a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Prospect High School, it was a dream come true. The Cubs finished with a 24-13 record under Quade, and he was given a two-year contract last October.

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It has been a different story this year. The Cubs have a record of 42-60 and currently have their only three-game winning streak of the season. Quade has come under fan and media criticism for some in-game moves and his handling of young players.

Before Sunday's 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros, Quade sat down with the Daily Herald for a quick question-and-answer session.

He admitted the season has been a difficult one, but his mood was upbeat. Here is how Quade addressed five questions:

Is it still the dream job?

Yeah, it's a tough dream job. And it has been very tough.

There have been times it hasn't been fun.

It's Chicago, but if you get a job anywhere and you go through some of the struggles we've gone through, it's still the job you wanted. It's still the job you want to do. It's still the problems you want to try to solve.

But it's not always going to be easy. I can't imagine going through much tougher than we've gone through when you consider everything.

So you look for perspective. You look to solve problems every day. You look to work every day.

I think the thing that keeps me going more than anything is, one, I like the guys. It's a good group of guys. And, two, I like to work. And we need plenty of that. You believe every day you're going to get better.

Are you holding up OK?

I think so. I have good support around here. I have great support around town, in my neighborhood.

And I'm my own toughest critic, so I worry about none of that. I just try and stay focused every day on doing the best job for the club and the organization. And try not to take everything personally.

That said, has anything surprised you about the (fan and media) criticism because it has gotten a little rough?

I really don't know what it is, the criticism. I really don't. And I don't really want to.

What I do more than anything when times are tough, whether it's times here or times I got fired in other organizations, I go to baseball people that I respect. People that I know will be honest with me, people that I can talk baseball with, people who really understand.

And that's the main thing. Managers that I have a ton of respect for have gone through this and have struggled like this. When you've got that around to go to, it's huge. It doesn't alleviate everything, but it gives you some ideas and perspective that get you through the tough times.

Whether it's tough times here or with your job, somehow you've got to get through them. Those guys down there (the players) come to the park every day with a good attitude, and I've got to be in lock step with them.

You understand if you struggle in this town, the criticism comes with the turf. But why would I spend any time focusing on that? I can't. I want to come to the ballpark fresh and ready to go every day and move on from there.

Is there any decision you'd like to have back whether it's the big picture, whether it's general or specific to one move that you might say, "I'd like to have that one back"?

All the decisions you make during the course of the game, so much goes into it, and very few people have a grasp of what you're dealing with bullpen wise and injury wise and everything else, and that's OK.

But in the bigger scheme of things, I haven't second-guessed myself very much at all.

I don't care who you are, you're going to make some decisions that you're not going to be happy with at times. There have been some, but not many.

There are going to be some decisions made that aren't going to work that are still the right decisions.

That's why it's great. Everybody can decide in their mind if it was the wrong decision or the right decision.

But to manage this pitching staff in particular and to use guys off the bench in the way that I've run things, I really don't think, other than circumstances presenting themselves differently this year than my stint last year, I think I'm the same guy.

Unfortunately, the results have not been as good.

You finished well last year. How can you finish well this year? Can this team get better?

We can pitch it better. And that's a fact.

We can play offense better. We can be better defensively. We can get better in every area as a club the last two months. We did it last year. We pitched the daylights out of it last year. We have the last couple days.

I'm going to do what I do. I'm going to run this bullpen and handle things the way I think we should handle them.

Ultimately, it's so crucial that these guys continue to roll out good starts. And even if we don't wear the baseball out offensively, we're in games.

Someone asked the other day, "Can you tweak?" No. You can't. These guys are in this lineup, these guys that we count on every day. We mix and match with Reed (Johnson) and Bake (Jeff Baker).

It's pretty much that this is the deal. We need strong finishes from Marlon (Byrd). Sori (Alfonso Soriano) needs to pick it up. That was the formula last year. It wasn't me coming in and doing a bunch of crazy stuff or different stuff. It really wasn't. But we pitched it.

• Follow Bruce's Cubs reports via Twitter@BruceMiles2112, and join the conversation with fans on our Chicago's Inside Pitch blog at dailyherald.com.

You understand if you struggle in this town, the criticism comes with the turf. But why would I spend any time focusing on that? I can't. I want to come to the ballpark fresh and ready to go every day and move on from there.

Mike Quade, Cubs manager

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