Mike Quade has said for months that he envisioned “taking a moment” today to soak in his first Opening Day as a big-league manager – but then figured to get right back to work.
Now that the moment is upon him, maybe it’s a little bit bigger and worthy of more than a mere moment of reflection, he admits. Certainly, it’s the most exciting opener of his long-and-winding baseball career.
“Oh, man. Yeah, yeah. As much as I downplayed it, yeah,” Quade said a few hours before today’s opener against Pittsburgh. “My first trip to the big leagues in Oakland as a coach [in 2000] was pretty good. They mispronounced my name. Perfect. … And I had three good years there.
“But it doesn’t get much better than this, does it? It doesn’t for me.”
Quade, who’s staying downtown until his place closer to the ballpark is ready for moving in, has taken the “L” to the ballpark the last two days and been able to remain largely unnoticed.
“It’s kind of fun to get on the train and come to the ballpark and walk to Wrigley incognito, and feel the excitement,” said Quade, who smiled when asked how he’s still able to blend into the crowd now that he’s so high profile. “I managed to do it for the last two days. With a face like this, you can put makeup on, you can put wigs on, hats – I can do anything I want. I just throw a jacket and hat on, sit in the back of the train and do what I do, and then keep my head down. And I almost have to do it. I don’t want to be inundated on a day when I’ve got so much on my mind.
“But I can’t help but try and get the flavor of the ballpark and the neighborhood, especially on a day like this. Now this day will come and go, and I’ll still ride trains and do what I do.”
Seriously, why hasn’t anyone in the marketing department come up with a advertising campaign built around this guy. Talk about a no-brainer.