Cubs begin search for manager with Mackanin

Cubs begin search for manager with Mackanin

Cubs begin search for manager with Mackanin
CHICAGO -- Pete Mackanin wore a black and blue pocket handkerchief on Friday when he met with the Cubs and not a red one like he wore during his interview with the Red Sox. Mackanin, 60, is hoping it's what he said during his exhaustive session that counts.

The Phillies' bench coach was the first to be interviewed for the Cubs' managerial opening, and met Friday with Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations; general manager Jed Hoyer; assistant GM Randy Bush; and scouting and player development director Jason McLeod.

On Monday, the Cubs will interview Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, who was highly touted by the players for the job he did in 2008, when he was interim manager for the final 12 games. Milwaukee did make the playoffs that season, but Sveum was passed over then and again last year for the full-time job.

The Cubs also have received permission to talk to Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, who was scheduled to talk to the Red Sox on Tuesday.

Mackanin said the interviews by the Red Sox and Cubs were similar, but there were a lot of different questions from the Chicago staff.

"It was very comprehensive," Mackanin said of the Cubs' interview. "They didn't let me up for air -- they just keep pounding questions at you. It's very interesting and fun. It's great getting to know these guys and seeing what's on their minds. It's just a nice process to go through."

Part of that process included meeting with the media, and Mackanin answered questions for 20 minutes at the PNC Club at Wrigley Field. Epstein and Co. were in a corner of the room and out of sight of the television cameras and the media.

"I think they have a pretty good idea of who I am," he said of the Cubs' front-office personnel, most of whom he met for the first time Friday. "I told them from the beginning, 'Look, I'm not going to tell you what I think you want to hear. I'm not going to tell you something that you might want me to be or hope I would be. I'm just going to be myself. If you like me, that's important to me.'

"I would not want to get a job like this, saying the right things to get the job, and then having them find out, 'Hey, wait a minute, you said one thing in the interview and you're nothing what you said you were.' I'm confident enough in my ability to give them what I've got and tell them who I am, and if they like it, great, and if they don't, I understand."

Mackanin has been a player, scout, bench coach, infield instructor, outfield instructor and manager. He playing career as an infielder included stops with the Rangers (1973-74), Expos (1975-77), Phillies (1978-79) and Twins (1980-81). He was the Pirates' bench coach from 2003-05, taking over for Lloyd McClendon after he was dismissed. Mackanin led the Pirates to a 12-14 record.

Hired by the Reds to scout in 2007, Mackanin took over as interim manager when Jerry Narron was dismissed on July 1 that season. Cincinnati finished 41-39, but the front office decided to hire Dusty Baker as manager in 2008.

Mackanin, who speaks Spanish, has a full passport. He's been involved in the game in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Australia. A Chicago native, he attended Brother Rice High School.

"I grew up on the South Side, probably closer to Comiskey Park than Wrigley Field," Mackanin said. "Although I was a [White] Sox fan, I was also a Cubs fan. Theo also informed me that after that comment, 'Don't ever mention you were a Sox fan again.' I've got to defer to him. I had my heroes on both teams. I listened to Jack Brickhouse and listened to Vince Lloyd and enjoyed growing up."

The Cubs' interview process began with dinner Thursday night.

"They put me through the grinder last night, and I couldn't enjoy my dinner," Mackanin said. "They covered an awful lot of ground in regard to strategy, type of philosophy, things like that."

He also was tested on his decision making with a Cubs-Phillies game, which was stopped at certain points to allow him to make the call in different situations.

"You want to get into the head of somebody and find out exactly what they think about when they're making in-game decisions," Mackanin said. "In my case, they would show you particular portions of games, knowing who you've got available, and you try to make a decision accordingly.

"You're basically thinking out loud and you're letting them into your mind to know what you're thinking about," he said. "If in the event they make the determination your thinking is a little off key, it helps them make a decision."

He's been influenced by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as well as Gene Mauch, Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin, Dick Williams and Bobby Cox. Although he's old school, Mackanin believes in the increased use of statistical analysis in the game.

"The bottom line is the more tools you have to make that decision might lead you to a decision you wouldn't make if you didn't have those tools," he said. "Bring it on. I like it."

He is the oldest candidate the Cubs have been linked to so far.

"I'm not 70, I'm 60, and I think I'm a young 60," said Mackanin, who does throw batting practice for the Phillies.

So, what did he think of Epstein?

"Theo is just a very personable guy," Mackanin said. "I know he's super intelligent. I could tell just by looking at him. It's been a pleasure and very pleasant to go through this process. It is a long day, but in the end, I think it's well worth it to have the opportunity to sit and talk to them. I'm flattered they invited me to listen to me. It's been a nice little trip for me."

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