Back with Cubs, Sandberg embraces return 'home'

Back with Cubs, Sandberg embraces return 'home'

CHICAGO -- Ryne Sandberg rejoined the Cubs as an ambassador to the team, and the best thing about the new deal, the Hall of Famer said, was that he's back "home."

Sandberg, 56, who played 15 seasons with the Cubs from 1982-94 and again from 1996-97, took part in the Cubs Convention this weekend, and he said he was looking forward to his new role.

"I get to be home now," said Sandberg, before talking to fans on Saturday at a Hall of Fame seminar with Billy Williams at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.

He received a standing ovation from the crowd when introduced at the seminar, which was attended by two of Sandberg's five grandchildren. That's part of the lure of coming back to Chicago, to be closer to his family. The other part is that he's always felt close to the Cubs. A nine-time National League Gold Glove Award winner and Most Valuable Player Award winner with the Cubs, Sandberg was back at Wrigley Field last October when he threw out a ceremonial first pitch before Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

"It felt right -- it was time," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said of Sandberg's new role. "When you're the manager of the Phillies, you can't come to the Cubs Convention."

Sandberg was named the Phillies' interim manager in August 2013 when Charlie Manuel was dismissed, and then given a three-year contract in September of that year. But Sandberg resigned last June after the Phillies posted a 26-48 record.

Now, his role as ambassador will include making appearances at Cubs related corporate outings, greeting fans and suiting up at Spring Training to talk to the players.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.