Here are some things I think that I think as the Cubs' manager search winds down:
• Cubs people we talk to believe the contest will have a winner declared before the World Series concludes, perhaps long before Joe Girardi is done working for the year.
• It may be down to a two-horse race, with the leader already in the clubhouse.
• Ryne Sandberg's done everything the Cubs have asked the last four years, and then some. Unfortunately for him, Mike Quade was given a gift and has run with it, doing a fine job. He now has the advantage of already possessing the title.
• Had Sandberg been given the chance Quade was given in August, it would be just the opposite now.
• Sandberg's been a long shot since this started, but he's won PCL Manager of the Year, drawn raves from players and execs, and gone through the interview process. He surprised the Cubs enough to become part of the conversation.
• Unless Tom Ricketts finds reason to overrule his GM and gives it to Sandberg, you wonder how Quade doesn't keep the job.
• Unlike Lou Piniella, Quade's been solid in the clubhouse and on the field. He communicates with the players, baby-sits Carlos Zambrano, and he's been very good with the media, prepared to answer questions with genuine thought.
• That may not seem like a big deal, but the manager is the most visible part of management and when he speaks to the press it's the team's best chance to let the fans know it has a pulse.
• If Quade has ignored one aspect, it's that he hasn't pressed enough the lazy veterans, with Aramis Ramirez saying publicly that veterans will respect Quade if the manager first respects the players.
• That's the exact opposite of how it should work, and a manager ought stomp any clown even a $15 million player for saying something so truly idiotic. Players earn respect. They're not handed it based on the size of their ego or paycheck.
• Quade doesn't seem the type to take this garbage, so once he's been given the security of a contract for 2011 if that occurs we're hopeful he would change that approach.
• Having mentioned that once before in this space, the Cubs quickly reacted in a few media circles by planting the notion that Quade has indeed done what we've asked.
• If you were a conspiracy theorist, you would take the Cubs' subtle protest as further proof they're trying to boost the image of their next manager.
• The Cubs would have to search for a reason not to give Quade the job, unless they have someone better in mind. And as I've stated before, if that were Sandberg, GM Jim Hendry would have hired him in July or August.
• Considering that the GM may have only a year left to prove to ownership he can make this work, a short-term deal for a guy like Quade makes complete sense.
• Why hire another manager for three or four years with the possibility of the next GM inheriting a manager he might not want?
• Add up all these items and it sure feels like Quade's the guy, with Sandberg having rallied to come in second.
• While he'd certainly be disappointed, it's not a bad result for Sandberg. If he doesn't get a big-league managing job elsewhere, any major-league bench would be a good place to sit for a year.
• On the bright side, Sandberg's first major-league managing job wouldn't be with the 2011 Cubs, who have every right to be terrible.
• As of this moment, the Cubs think it's Quade's job to lose, and he hasn't done anything to lose it.
Jay Cutler is not as proud of his toughness as are his teammates and coaches after three vicious beatings.
"I got hit a lot in college, too, so it's been happening for a while,'' Cutler said this week. "The older you get the harder it is. The more hits you take, the longer it takes to recover."
The message being, this better stop soon or they may have to scrape him off the field.
Apropos of nothing, Denver's Kyle Orton is second in the NFL in passing yards (1,078), only 9 behind the Chargers' Philip Rivers.
Orton's also seventh in passer rating (97) behind Peyton Manning (116), Mike Vick (110), Jay Cutler (109), Tom Brady (109), Drew Brees (107) and Mark Sanchez (104).
Orton leads the NFL with 13 completions of 25 yards or more, and against Indy on Sunday he threw for a career-high 476 yards, second most in Denver history.
One of Orton's favorite targets, ex-Bear Brandon Lloyd, ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards (339) and receiving average (24.2) after hauling in 6 passes for 169 yards Sunday.
Ryder Cup captain's pick Padraig Harrington, on the significance of playing well in practice rounds: "As Lee Trevino said, 'The worst score I ever shot was a 65 on Wednesday.' "
Lake Villa Lee: "Jerry Angelo's best draft as GM of the Bears was in 2010 because he didn't have any picks available to foul up."
And finally -
Hunter Mahan, on the Ryder Cup: "It's not life or death out there. It's just golf and we've all done this before. If it was chess or something like that, I would be sweating."
• Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.