I want to thank the Tribune Company and the Chicago Cubs' organization for affording me this opportunity. It's a tremendous challenge for me. It's something that I will work exceedingly hard at. I asked Jim when he interviewed me about 10 days ago down in Tampa ... we talked about varied subjects and I said, "Jim, now why do you want me as your manager?" He said, "We want you to come in here and win." That's exactly what I wanted to here.
But at the same time, I asked him, "What is your commitment and your parent company's commitment?" And he said, "We're going to put the resources forward and we want to get this going as quickly as possible." So urgency is important and really that's what I'm about. As a player, I was fortunate to play in a winning environment. I managed in a lot of places where winning was what we strived for, and that's exactly what I'm going to expand my energies [to] here.
The first order is to hire a really good coaching staff that can communicate and teach. I'm a delegator, so I like coaches that handle their particular areas and can do their jobs ... Outside of that, I couldn't be more pleased ... I was doing broadcasting for FOX. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do this winter for next year as far as managing was concerned. When the Cubs' job became available, my kids right away said, "Dad, that would be a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for you. What a great city, Chicago. We can come up and go to Wrigley Field and watch baseball games, and watch the Cubs win, so they got me enthused."
Now, the final blessing had to come from my wife. She gave it and I'm fortunate. I've been married 39 years to this wonderful woman and she's had to endure a lot, being away from home and so forth. But she gave this blessing and when that was the case, and once I had my meeting with (Cubs General Manager) Jim (Hendry) and my meeting yesterday with (Cubs Interim President) John (McDonough) and (Tribune CEO) Dennis FitzSimons, I was more convinced than ever that this was going to work and work rather quickly.
To our long-suffering Cub fans, they've got great, great passion. They really do. I saw that this summer first hand here in the broadcast booth. And we're going to win here. We're going to win here, and that's really the end of the story. We're going to work hard to put a good team together on the field and when we go to Spring Training, we're going work hard and get this thing moving in the right direction. I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to working with all of you (the media). I know that's an important part. I was on the media side all summer and it gave me a really good perspective, so let's have some fun, and Go Cubs.
And by the way, I know that the people who were considered here were very, very capable and very talented people, so I feel very fortunate that this organization chose me.
Asked if he needed to be re-assured that the proper resources would be available to him.
Jim made that perfectly clear from day one and after meeting with John McDonough, he re-iterated that just as strongly or even more strongly yesterday. So I've got no concerns at all about that. The resources will be there and it's going be up to myself, and the coaching staff and the players to get the job done.
Asked if this was the only job he was interested in.
I was considered at other places, but really this is where I wanted to come. You've got to remember that the Cubs and the city -- I used to love to come here all these years. It's a wonderful, wonderful city. It's a wonderful sports town. The Cub organization, the great players that have played here, the history and the tradition ... now what we've got to do is add the winning to that, and that's what I was hired for. That's what I'm going to expand all my energies doing. But the answer is yes.
Asked if it was understood that he would have significant input into getting the players he wants.
I'm a team player. I work within the framework of a team. I think when you look at a sports franchise, it works from ownership down to the front office, down to the manager and his coaches and down to the players. We're all going to work together at getting this thing done, believe me. I'm just a small, small cog in this thing here. The whole thing will work because everybody [will be] working together for a common goal. That's what I've envisioned and that's what's going to happen.
Asked about recent rumors of him managing the Yankees.
That's not true. I never once talked to the Yankees about anything. It was all speculation. I really never even paid attention too much to be quite frank with you. And I was a little embarrassed by it to be honest. First of all, the guy that they have over there – Joe Torre – is a very accomplished manager. I'd like to have the success that he's had over there over here.
Asked about speculation that he was interested in bringing Alex Rodriguez to Chicago.
I don't know where that came from. Somebody called me this morning. Look, we want all the great players we can get here, but we haven't had any discussions about A-Rod.
Asked if he could put together some of the team's he fielded in Seattle.
That's the goal. That's the goal here. You know, you win with talent obviously, but you win with that talent playing together as a team; for one common goal, and that's to go out there and play hard every day, to play with some passion and some dedication, and with a purpose: to win baseball games. You've got a nice nucleus of players here. Obviously, we're going to have to add a few. But listen – this here, I'm talking about the winning aspect of it – you can see what happened in Detroit and how quickly it happened. That's really what we'd like to emulate here; what they did on the North Side a few years ago, that's what we'd like to do. The South Side, I'm sorry. I apologize.
Well, they're both talented individuals obviously. They both have some physical problems. It's hard enough to play this game when you're totally healthy. And when you're physically hurt, it makes it much rougher. Hopefully, they'll both be healthy and really be a big part of what we're going to try to do here in Chicago next year.
On having a good bench to offset injury problems.
I like the idea. We've talked about that briefly, the bench part of it. The day games here at Wrigley should be an advantage for your home team. But you need to rest your players and you need to have fresh troops out there, so that's something we'll concentrate on.
On assembling a coaching staff.
We've talked about it. Jim called yesterday – no, yesterday was Monday, so Sunday. And he finally told me that he'd made a decision and that I was going to be his guy. I didn't give it any thought. I was working all week with doing the television games. I was busy enough doing that for the whole week with FOX, so we've talked a little bit about it. We're going to get the best people we can and it's important that they be able to communicate and to teach.
Asked about the hustle of his teams.
My team's have always hustled. They'll hustle. That won't be a problem, believe me.
Asked if he plans to meet with Cubs players one on one in the upcoming days.
If need be, I can call them. They'll get enough of a chance to meet me next spring. That's not a necessity ... I'm not going to go out of my way to have them fly to see me or me fly to see them. I will call them and talk to them, but look, there's plenty of time for that next spring.
On retaining Larry Rothschild as pitching coach.
I had Larry in Cincinnati. In fact, I was the one that brought him up to the big leagues in 1990. He did a great job for me for three years over there. He really did. He's a really good baseball coach and pitching coach. He really cares and he's passionate about his work. Yeah, we're going to keep him. He'll do a nice job here.