Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In what may go down in history as the GREATEST "addition by subtraction" move in Cubs history, Neal Cotts was sent far, far away (to Iowa). Unfortunately, they also sent Scales with him which ends (for now) the feel-good story of the year.
Who got the call, you ask?
1) Andres Blanco (.314 BA, 4 home runs and 25 RBI).
2) Jason Waddell (5.40 ERA in 18 appearances for Iowa)
3) The man, the myth, the legend...Jake Fox. (.423 BA, 17 home runs and 50 RBI in 40 games)
I don't think I am over-reacting at all when I say:
Ok, that maybe just a little.
Monday, May 25, 2009
So I have good news and bad news.
Bad news? I am going to the game tonight so there is a pretty good chance the losing streak continues.
Good news? There was a dance off during a rain delay of the UConn and South Florida game last week...and there's video.
Please to enjoy.
Go Cubs or something.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Paul Sullivan' article in the Trib today featured to VERY different takes on the Cubs offensive woes of late.
"Let's not blow it out of proportion," Lee said. "It's two games. Carpenter is the nastiest pitcher I've faced all year. No excuses. We're professionals. We've got to score, but just don't blow it out of proportion."
"I'm the main culprit," Bradley said. "I'm having terrible at-bats. Just not doing anything, not even hitting the ball out of the infield."
For all the bad press Milton gets for his temper and crazy behavior at least he has the cajones to step up and put the blame on himself instead of trying to make his suckiness about the media. Maybe Derrek should spend more time in the batting cage and less time worrying about what the media thinks of his performance.
I've had it with this dude.
Bring on Micah (or Fox).
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I can't believe I missed this today, but apparently Ricky wanted to get some extra press this week so he boarded the ludicrous train and headed straight to doucheville. As the Sports Guy likes to say...I am without speech. Enjoy.
Small hitter, big problem.
When even Theriot raises suspicions, baseball's earned cynicism.
Sorry, Ryan Theriot, you're a suspect. Forget Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi and Mark McGwire and all the other hulking, accused performance-enhancing drug users.
You, sir, all 5-11, 175 pounds of you, are doing devious things.
To wit, Theriot -- no disrespect, but if he's 5-11, I'm 6-12 -- hit two home runs Wednesday night at Wrigley Field against the Padres, giving him five times more home runs in 33 games this year than he hit all last season.
Brrinnnng! Eee -- ah! Eee-ah! Zzzt! Zzzzt!
That rings the steroid/HGH/ whatever-designer-drug-is-in bell, doesn't it?
Yup, he wrote that. Sober.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I turned on the game yesterday when it was 1-1 and watched as the Cubs proceeded to treat the woeful Padres like a red-headed step child. Three changes and six runs later, I flipped the channel never to return.
It was a beautiful day at the ballpark, and the Cubs were on their way to a sweep. I should have been dancing around high-fiving my imaginary friends. I wasn't. In fact, I couldn't have cared less.
What in the hell is going on? Have I grown so accustomed to them winning that it has become tiresome to watch? Doubtful. Are the Padres so bad that I didn't feel the last three victories were that big of a deal? Possibly. Is this team lacking a personality or players that are fun to watch? Bingo.
Don't get me wrong. There are some great players on this team, and I am excited that they are playing well, but I'm not really as emotionally invested as I normally am. With Mr. Clutch on the DL and Mr. Never Bunt For a Hit Ever Again nursing a bad hammie, I am hard-pressed to think of a guy on this team that pumps me up on a daily basis. Think about it. Outside of the Bobby "Story Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture" Scales and the suddenly home-run happy Theriot, this team is pretty boring.
Sure Soriano is killing the ball, but do his ABs really have that electricity or buzz that make them must-see TV? Not really.
Milton Bradley may be finally turning it around, but his plate appearances are like watching paint dry. A buddy of mine recently joked that he had yet to see Milton swing. He wasn't that far off. The man takes a TON of pitches. I realize that its because he has a good eye, but it is still mind-numbing to watch sometimes.
See, I can't even come up with anything remotely interesting to say about anyone else.
Without Z and Aramis, this is just a team of hard-working guys who get the job done. Nothing flashy, nothing highlight-worthy. Just good, honest, BORE ME TO TEARS baseball.
Yes, I am aware that I am looking a gift horse DIRECTLY in the mouth. Yes, I understand that I will be singing a different tune when the Cubs are mired in a seven-game losing streak and I am ready to sell my first born for a win. I get it. Really I do. It's just winning is so damn...uneventful.
Go (YAWN) Cubs.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
So Phil Rogers was apparently out of new ideas yesterday, so he decided to recycle everyone's favorite topic...booing.
With five victories in their last six games, the Cubs are 15-12. That's not bad, but the just-completed 4-2 homestand ended with many fans acting as if they were following a last-place team.
"I'll tell you this. It's counterproductive," manager Lou Piniella said of the booing. "Athletics is a tough profession. Playing baseball every day is not easy. Nobody's immune from struggling. The more they encourage our players, the easier for everybody involved."
As I've said many times before, the only thing keeping this team from winning it all is a little encouragement.
I understand that Lou is just answering a question, but he still manages to give the same BS answer we've been hearing in this town for years...
If we would stop booing, the players would play better.
Yeah. Somehow I doubt it was the lack of cheers that made Todd Hundley one of the worst-hitting catchers of my lifetime. I find it hard to believe that Patterson or Pie would have torn it up if we had all buttoned up. Don't try to blame your ineptness on us. We don't make you swing at ball four or miss the cutoff man.
Here's the deal. None of us find losing lovable anymore. In fact, many of us never did in the first place. We were pumped when the Cubs management finally started to understand that. But with all the big deals and big names comes bigger expectations. We EXPECT to win now. Actually, fuck that (sorry, Mom), we DEMAND it. It's been a long time coming.
If that seems unfair, well, it isn't. When the team we root for with every once of our being plays like shit, it upsets us. When we get upset, we boo. We don't boo because we are assholes (mostly) or because we don't like the players (occasionally). We boo because we want the players to want it as much as we do. It's that simple.
(Whew. I feel better now, thanks.)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Please hide the women and children, wrap Aramis in bubble tape, and PLEASE, for the love of God, don't bet on the Cubs this afternoon. Nothing good can or will happen today.
As my four readers are well aware, I am now riding a personal best 10 game losing streak dating back to the beginning of last year. Ten times, I have stepped inside the historic ballpark known as the Friendly Confines and 10 times the Cubs have lost...in a row.
Then why am I going back, you ask? Well, for two reasons.
1) I have been given free tickets to a suite where I will be able to enjoy copious amounts of free beer.
2) Actually, it's just the one reason.
So wave bye-bye to the four-game winning streak; say too-ta-loo to the return of D-Lee's power stroke; and wish the juiced-up Theriot happy trails.
It all comes crashing back to Earth right around 1:20 pm CST today.
P.S. In my pre-defense, they are going up against the reigning Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum, today, so the blame can't all be on my shoulders, right? Right? Bueller?
UPDATE: Pre-defense Part II:
This is the lineup that Lou is trotting out there today. Wow. Murder's Row. The loss will soooo not be my fault.
|J. Gathright cf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.111|
|A. Miles ss||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.190|
|K. Fukudome rf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.312|
|D. Lee 1b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.207|
|M. Hoffpauir lf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.324|
|M. Fontenot 3b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.266|
|B. Scales 2b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|K. Hill c||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.323|
|S. Marshall p|
Saturday, May 2, 2009
The reaction of some Cubs fans to this past offseason has been focused on a single trade: Mark DeRosa for three minor leaguers. According to many, Brock-for-Broglio is now #2 in “Worst Trades in Cub History.” The Cubs gave away the greatest player in Cubs history (next to Mark Grace, of course). In fact…
Mark DeRosa doesn’t read books. He just stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
Mark DeRosa’s hand is the only one that beats a Royal Flush.
Mark DeRosa can kill two stones with one bird.
While Mark DeRosa has been retroactively turned into Cubs’ fans version of Chuck Norris, it’s important to realize that there’s been a series of bad decisions, bad luck, and general crappiness that has lead to the blech that currently surrounds this Cubs team. Starting in July 2008, from top to bottom , this organization has made significant mistakes that, while they can certainly be overcome, have nonetheless put this team into a much bigger hole than most of us had anticipated for the 2009 season. While there are plenty more mistakes strewn about the organizational moves that have occurred over the last 3-4 years, but here are some of some of the most significant contributors to the Cubs’ current problems over the last year NOT including the Mark DeRosa trade:
#1: July 31, 2008-The LA Dodgers trade for Manny Ramirez
Without Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers would ne-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ever have won the West last year. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the Dodgers were the single worst matchup the Cubs could have had in the playoffs last year. No team in the playoffs had a series of excellent control/sinkerballing right handed pitching that would highlight the Cubs’ general right-handedness. Of course, losses in these three games would mean more than the wins in 97 other games, because...
#2: October 2008-Jim Hendry Watches Playoffs
Could someone have simply lured Jim Hendry to some tv-less island in the Pacific with the promise of honey glazed delicacies during the 2008 playoffs? Yes-the Cubs had a lot of right handed hitters. In 99.9% of the situations, it wouldn’t have made a huge difference. In fact, it didn’t make that much of a difference in the 2008 playoffs (Ryan Dempster’s inability to throw strikes, along with about 1,000 other things, should be listed before “too right handed” comes in). Unfortunately, in true Jim Hendry fashion, he saw a single (minor) problem, decided to fixate on that problem, and built an entire offseason on a philosophy that really wasn’t going to make this team better. Speaking of philosophies that won't make the team better…
#3: November 14, 2008: Cubs trade Jose Ceda for Kevin Gregg
Why is it when Jim Hendry openly declares that he wants to address a certain position in the offseason (in this case, the bullpen), he rarely succeeds in making the position better, but most certainly makes the position more expensive?
Year to year, the least predictable position on every single team is the bullpen. All bullpen pitchers are inherently limited. If they were truly solid, consistent pitchers, they’d be starters. The only thing that is guaranteed by signing middle relievers to contracts over $1 million per year is that you’re going to waste money. Yet Jim Hendry does it year after year. After year. After year.
Kevin Gregg is a mediocre middle reliever. So, really, is Aaron Heilman. There is almost no difference between Angel Guzman and Aaron Heilman, except maybe $1.5 million.
The Cubs will pay $9.5 million to relievers not named Carlos Marmol this year. Think about that a little bit, then try and not swallow a bottle of aspirin.
#4: November 18, 2008: Cubs re-sign Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster had a career year last year and a significant amount of it was due, unfortunately, to luck. Virtually all of his peripheral stats indicated that his shortcomings didn’t quite impact his overall numbers in the way they should have.
While Dempster is a decent starter, Hendry yet again jumped the gun and overpaid without letting the market dictate the best course of action. At the news conference announcing the signing, Hendry said, “"It was imperative that we kept him in-house. No doubt in our minds that Ryan would have exceeded this deal on the streets in three or four weeks from now, the way the market is for starting pitching.”
Unfortunately, the market didn’t quite respond the way he thought it would. Aside from the Sabathia and Burnett signings, very few of the Free Agent pitchers did better than Dempster, who unfortunately may be what he’s been for the majority of his career (i.e. a 4th starter) over the next four years.
#5: December 31, 2008: Cubs sign Aaron Miles
I played in a Six-Foot and under intramural basketball league in college. It was nice-all of us short, sad players were put on the same level and didn’t have to deal with 6’5” trees making us feel bad with all their “talent.” Apparently, Jim Hendry needed extra players for the MLB version of the Six Foot and Under league.
It wasn’t just that Aaron Miles sucks. Or that he sucks. Or that he sucks. It’s that, once again, Hendry completely misjudged the market, bid against himself (AGAIN), and paid 2.5 mil per year for a guy he could have gotten for $500,000 a month and a half later. Take a look at the infielders who signed this offseason:
Orlando Hudson: 1 year, $3.4 million ($4.6 in potential bonuses)
Ray Durham: Unsigned
Mark Grudzielanek: Unsigned
David Eckstein: 1 year, $850,000
Adam Everett: 1 year, $1 million
Alex Cora: 1 year, $2 million
Felipe Lopez: 1 year, $3.5 million
Joe Crede: 1 year, $2.5 million
Aaron Miles: 2 years, $4.9 million
This is a list of players who aren’t very good. Still, I’d take every single one of them over Aaron Miles-and Aaron Miles, considering both cost and length of contract is the MOST EXPENSIVE PLAYER ON THIS LIST.
While overreacting to 21 games is a little ridiculous, I don’t think it’s too early to begin to critique some of the moves Jim Hendry made this offseason. This GM has consistently been able to gloss over his mistakes by throwing unprecedented amounts of money at the Cubs’ shortcomings. Realistically, there is virtually no way to spend $134 million on a team (in a division in which no team spends near that much) and not be the best team. But, unlike GMs like Theo Epstein who spend a lot of money but also develop from within, Hendry has been unable to develop a minor league system that can fill gaps on the major league team-hence the need to consistently overpay for mediocrity.
Given the current financial situation of the Cubs, Hendry will have to actually be a real GM for the next year or so. So far, the returns aren’t good. The core of this team is aging quickly (some much more quickly than others, right Derrek?). If Hendry continues to show an inability to do what needs to be done within a budget, the next few years could be ugly.