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updated: 10/9/2013 4:55 PM

Cubs' loss of Girardi not too painful

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  • Although the Cubs wanted to talk with him, Joe Girardi has signed a four-year contract extension to stay with the New York Yankees as their manager.

    Although the Cubs wanted to talk with him, Joe Girardi has signed a four-year contract extension to stay with the New York Yankees as their manager.
    Associated Press/file


Oh, no, the Cubs' world came crumbling down Wednesday.

More likely it didn't at all unless Wrigley Field's concrete finally gave out on its own.

Joe Girardi -- who since the end of baseball's regular season became bigger than life and better than Tony La Russa -- isn't returning to Chicago.

Did Girardi have bad pizza when he was here? Wasn't he mesmerized by his Cubs experience when he played here? Would he have filled the Cubs manager's office if Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Roger Ebert were still around?

Or did Cubs ownership and management overestimate how attractive their manager's job is at this point of the rebuilding project?

Worry not: No gain, no pain.

Precedent hovered over the Cubs flirtation with Girardi. Bears general manager Jerry Angelo was fixated on Nick Saban to replace Dick Jauron in 2004.

It was a long shot, but Angelo shot his shot anyway. Predictably, the Bears lost out on Saban and settled for Lovie Smith, who provided mixed results over nine seasons.

Media chatter the past couple weeks insisted that Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was pursuing Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was approaching free agency.

So much for that.

The Yankees tweeted Wednesday that they re-signed Girardi for a reported $4 million to $5 million annually for four years.

Not surprising, really. Girardi's family is situated in Westchester County and he's situated with the most successful team in baseball history.

Girardi had the option of staying with the franchise that has won 27 World Series or going to one that hasn't won one since 1908.

Finally, Girardi must not be as captivated with Chicago as many believed even if it is New York with a smile. After he spent six seasons in the middle of a pennant race with the Yankees, he couldn't be expected to escape New York for a team that hasn't won a postseason game since 2003.

Some observers consider the Yankees' organization to be in such bad shape that Girardi would be fascinated with the prospects of inheriting the Cubs' allegedly stocked minor league system.

Well, no, no he wouldn't. Not even with the Cubs reportedly poised to offer him more money than the Yankees did.

The Yanks have enough resources to rebuild faster than the Cubs' resources will enable them to contend within the next couple years.

Isn't the Cubs' timetable dismal in 2014, respectable in 2015 and maybe pennant contention in 2016 at the earliest?

You can decide for yourself whether the Yankees or Cubs will win a World Series sooner.

Joe Girardi provided his answer by staying in New York.

What someone might want to verify is that Epstein really wanted Girardi as badly as reports insisted. He might have wanted him because Cubs owner Tom Ricketts wanted the club's former catcher.

You know, perhaps Epstein was fully aware that Girardi never was going to leave New York.

Epstein might have realized all along that the Cubs aren't a great fit for a manager who won a lot of games and a World Series but would do neither here for a while.

Regardless, who comes next in the Cubs' managerial search? Someone from a gaggle of candidates that are a collective No. 2 to Girardi's No. 1 just as everyone was a collective No. 2 behind Nick Saban's No. 1?

None of the names mentioned -- Manny Acta, Sandy Alomar Jr., A.J. Hinch and so on -- jump starts the heart.

Yet whomever Epstein settles on and settles for just might be a better fit than Joe Girardi.

The danger is he might also wind up being baseball's Lovie Smith.

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