View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



June 2011




Written by , Posted in General

Welcome to a new week where things should be sunny and bright, but where in actuality the gloom continues to follow this team day by day.

I guess I’m the ultimate optimist because for some strange reason I honestly believed the Cubs could crawl their way back into the standings and salvage the season as they began to play better ball the last couple weeks. Many of you had already written them off, but I guess I was just holding to that last thread of hope.

I hadn’t really thought about a sweep of the Royals until I read the comments and saw other people were considering it. That being said, it put the idea in my head and gave my heart something else to hold onto. Well, after they won game 1, I could only hope they would sweep because as I am visiting my brother in Kansas City, I held tickets to games 2 and 3.

Experiencing a new ballpark is always fun, especially when your team is up 1-0 in the series. But after Saturday’s loss, my family honestly debated going to Sunday’s game for close to an hour. Was it worth sitting in the sun, sweat dripping down our backs, even if they managed to win? Well, the answer was clearly no, considering Randy Wells couldn’t get it together in the first and the game was essentially over before it started.

I’m rambling, so long story short, I no longer have any hope or belief in this season. However, this brought me to the realization that I hate looking forward to the future. It’s always “Next year is here” with this team, and with all the speculation about what kind of changes are going to be made in order to make this club a contender in a few years, I can’t stand getting in the middle because I don’t want to be let down about anything else.

Anyway, on to this week’s recap put forth by you all. Not much to talk about on the field, but you always find something new to discuss.

The Wizzies

  • All I look for in a hometown announcer is that they don’t make my skin crawl (see Hawk Harrelson)….outside of that I expect them to be homers (See Len and Bob)…I like Len and Bob…..especially Bob. If you want good/unbiased/fair commentary during a game you have to hope for national coverage. You will learn a lot more about the way “your” team honestly plays baseball from a national broadcast then you will from local. Local will make it sound like they are just struggling, national will tell you they suck. At any rate, this series is personal for me, I can’t stand sox fans…even the ones I call friends.
  • Speaking of announcers, someone on Fox or ESPN this weekend explained that Dempster’s wiggling of the glove was a timing thing. My memory from when Dempster started the wiggling is that it was to prevent tipping of the pitch. Is my memory wrong or was the announcer wrong? Not a good bet either way…I do like Pat Hughes. And he has stood the test of time for me. Often I will like an announcer for a year or so (or less!), but then he (she?) will have exhausted their vocabulary and stock of stories and tips on how the game is to be played and he (she?) becomes boring and repetitious. As I have gotten older, the announcer errors are more apparent to me (or maybe today’s announcers make more mistakes?) and I usually try to just ignore them.
  • I know the Cubs aren’t playing up to par right now, but I’m sure glad I’m a Cubs fan and not a Sox fan. We payed some serious money for Pena, but he’s starting to hit homers consistently, whereas Dunn looks absolutely lost at the plate. Plus, if you add Castro and LeMaheiu’s ages together, you still don’t even equal Omar Visquel’s. Yikes.
  • I have to agree and say that Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are the worst national broadcast team in the country. The second worst broadcast team in my book is Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for the NFL on FOX. Joe Buck’s pure hatred for Chicago is so annoying I often times turn the game off and just read the highlights here on VFTB!
  • Plus, I used to think Harry Caray was my grandfather. They looked a lot alike, especially to a three-year-old, so I would see the Cubs games on television and say, “Daddy, grandpa’s on tv!”
  • I’m with Chet, this series is personal. I can’t stand the White Sox, or White Sox fans. They’re just Cubs haters who need a team to root for. Cubs Suck is the entire vocabulary of a White Sox fan. They hate the Cubs more than they love the White Sox. I really want to give them a serious ass-kicking. Let’s sweep them and get our first 3-game winning streak of the year
  • I have to admit I’m a fan of Len and Bob, sure they are homers and definitely not impartial, but they have good chemistry and always find a way to make me laugh no matter how bad the game might be going for the Cubs. Since I have the MLB package on satellite, I don’t always get to see the Cubs broadcast of games (unless they are on WGN which I also get) and there are some really boring announcers out there for some of these other teams (mostly those part of local Fox Sports broadcasts).
  • I hope you’re sitting down…Pena just homered off a lefty.
  • Yah, but you still should be throwing away, away, away from Konerko right now…..we have fed him two gopher balls inside and he has deposited each into the seats…. next pitcher to throw inside to Konerko should do push-ups on the mound.
  • Jeff Samardzija’s mullet and facial hair remind me of someone, but I can’t quite place it. Maybe someone from a pirate movie? I was even thinking Timothy Dalton’s character in the Rocketeer (Neville Sinclair) but he had short hair and no beard.
    This is really bothering me. Almost as much as his pitching
  • I just think we’ve got a much better chance hoping that Colvin becomes a lineup mainstay, than we do flushing at-bats down the Campana/Montanez toilet. I mean even if Colvin winds up being left-handed Matt Murton; isn’t that better than two more Jose Macias’?
  • I don’t know what Campana’s Walk/Strikeout ratio is in his minor league career but you can’t steal first. He is the new and not improved version of Juan Pierre. No power, rag arm, nice guy.
  • The Tribune ran an article today (Source) about how the Cubs are feeling better about their play over the last couple weeks. I’ll agree that they’ve been playing their best ball of the season over the last three series, starting with taking 3 of 4 from the Brewers. I can’t help feeling like there’s some sort of satisfaction in the quotes, though, particularly from Hill. “It’s okay that we’re losing, at least we’re making a game of it” (my words, not his). I don’t know. I know that last week I said that if I couldn’t see wins, I wanted to see effort and hard-fought games. But now that I’m only seeing that, I want the results. I think I would have an easier time accepting the losses if the team had been playing hard all year (or at least had been making a show of playing hard all year). But they didn’t, and now that they finally seem to be trying, it’s too late.
  • I have to admit I’m becoming a fan of Carlos Pena. In spite of his wretchedly slow start, he’s actually turning into the power hitter he has been in the past. The way things are going in terms of next season, I can’t say I’d be upset if they resign him to stick around at 1B as opposed to going after Fielder or Pujols (both of whom will cost way too much).
  • I have to say that I think this year Mike Quade has proven that he’s not a big league manager. Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker should NEVER bat third in any lineup in the major leagues. Also, how is Koyie Hill still on this team?
  • Quade’s week to play scapegoat? Huh. I vote for giving next week to either “Rodrigo Lopez” or “injuries.”
  • Usually I hate days off. Today I’m good with it.
  • Letting Hill step to the plate with a runner on third a mistake. He looked bad in his other appearances. What led Quade to think he could at least hit a nice fly ball? He struck out just like we thought he would. This isn’t triple AAA ball or Spring training. These games really do count.
  • I’m not saying that Dempster has pitched well, but even if you could send him down to Iowa, who would you bring up?? Don’t know if you realize it, but starting pitching depth hasn’t been a real strength on this year’s squad.
  • Given Pena had a rotten April, his has hit 14 Hr’s since…putting up .245/.373/.548 in May/June combined. He’s been the least of the Cub concerns this season, IMO. I’d be more worried about the back of the rotation, Soto’s lack of hitting, Soriano’s contract, and whether Barney can be a starting 2B…..among other things. Also….hooray for Fukudome, but he’s a player who shouldn’t be here next season. the Cubs need to evaluate guys who can help them for the future…..which never seems to happen.
  • If Ricketts keeps Hendry into 2012 he gets what he deserves .What he will get is a ball park with a lot of vacant seats. Let’s see how many season ticket holders sign up for 2012! This August and September should have Ricketts wondering. Let’s see how many fans show up at the Cubs Convention .WGN is already started to remind us to book the overpriced room at the Hilton.
  • Breaking news: Jim Hendry turns hug at a Smorgasbord with Prince Fielder into 30 year $1.2 billion contract. Jim Hendry said of the signing “…as we left the restaurant and stood on the curb waiting for the driver, Milton…err Prince sorry…said, ‘I know it’s going to take some time, but I want to tell you I want to be a Chicago Cub if you want me.”
  • Based on these comments on the Royals (a team I admit to knowing very little about this season), I’m thinking Cubs sweep considering their decent play as of late.
  • I see no reasons to believe the first 3-game winning streak comes in KC this weekend. Cubs win 2 of 3, but please, let’s win on Sunday. It’s my birthday.
  • Some optimism from the Cubs faithful!! Want to be on board with you guys, but have this feeling the Royals will get a good old dose of Cubbie tonic to sooth their woes.
  • I say the Cubs get 1 for sure, maybe 2, but certainly won’t sweep. They’ve blown too many very winnable games for me to hope for that. To Mark in Toronto: what “decent play as of late” are you referring to? They’re playing only .500 over their last 10, managing to lose 3 1-run games.
  • Went to busch stadium last night just to verify pujols is indeed injured. Now today, time to complete the trip to kansas city to cheer on the cubs the rest of the weekend! go cubs go
  • I never remember such lousy baserunning in a game. Like Bob and Len said didn’t the Cubs know what great arms KC has in the outfield?? Who is doing the advance scouting for the Cubs? Really make ya wonder. It is a W for all purposes but a shaky victory ….
  • I feel good about any win this year, even a win against the perennial rebuilding small market Royals. They have 5 AAA pitchers in their rotation but let’s not draw the conclusion that small market teams are at a disadvantage in today’s MLB business model.
  • Can you believe the Cubs web site is pushing for All Star votes for Soriano? I have a hard time considering Soriano an All Star no matter what kind of offensive production he brings since his defense is so offensive. I have never seen an outfielder so allergic to theme run fence , the guy comes to a dead stop every time he steps on the warning track allowing fly balls to drop right next to him. An All Star outfielder has to be able to catch a fly ball up against the home run fence.
  • Bad play on both ends ….it was like the cubs were playing against themselves.

And, as requested, Wizins: (But I couldn’t decide which I liked more.)

  • Before we lambaste Quade we should look at the brushes he has at his disposal to paint the masterpiece….
  • I think the Cubs are playing hard, and have been playing hard. They’re just not very talented.

Here are those atop the standings:



Doc Raker-9

Seymour Butts-8


Doug S.-7



Larry Sproul-6

Mark in Toronto-5



Doug Bagley-2





Chris in Illinois-2

Rich Beckman-2

And there are 17 others with 1 point each. Keep up the good work.

Final Thoughts:

Obviously, I’m in a down mood. The only thing I could think while watching Sunday’s game was, ‘Why do we keep coming back? Honestly, what makes being a fan of this team worth the pain?’ Answer in the comments, or don’t. But if someone has a worthy answer, I would love to know because right now I need a break from this team. The only thing I am looking forward to is getting Marlon Byrd back, and even then I know it is unfair to expect him to be in full form.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    Its time to blow this team up… Goodbye vets, hello rooks, and in the off-season, hello young pitching with no No-Trade clauses. That is all…

  • Aaron

    Baseball is the only sport that’s actually playing now. Plus, given the collective bargaining situations in football and basketball, it’s going to stay the only one until college football starts. So I’d rather follow baseball than actually pay attention to things that matter (politics, my job, certain family members, etc).

    The reason we follow the Cubs is because we love them. They remind us of our connections to our family members who introduced us to the game, to the city where we were born (or live currently) and to each other, as we all share in the joy and misery of each win and loss. The reason it’s worth it is because when the Cubs do finally win the World Series – and they will, whether it’s next year or ten years from now or fifty years from now – we are going to be there, cheering them on and sharing in the indescribable joy (and disbelief) that they made it. If we give up and stop paying attention and just join back in when they start getting close, it just won’t have the same kind of reward when they finally make it (although the fans who do stop paying attention for a while will probably have fewer gray hairs and lower blood pressure than those of us who suffer through the whole thing).

  • Aaron

    Speaking of misery… is anyone watching today’s game? Why has Soto been allowed to try to make those catches in foul territory without anyone calling him off??? Fine, I’ll grant that the first one was a bit out of reach. Maybe. But both he and Pena were right there for the second one.
    They may as well just forfeit and say, “That’s okay, Colorado, you can just have this one.”

    At least they got out of the inning without giving anything up. And yes, I do realize the irony of the optimistic tone and hope of my previous post as compared with the rage I’m feeling now.

  • Aaron

    P.S. Why wasn’t Quade flipping out about those defensive miscues like I was? Shouldn’t he be angry too? Isn’t it at least partially his job to make sure those kinds of things don’t happen to begin with? How many questions is it acceptable to ask consecutively before it becomes annoying?

  • @Raker…did you take on a commenting understudy?

  • Aaron

    Sorry about the consecutive posts. I thought of other stuff after I’d already clicked “Submit.” But I’m going to take it as a compliment that I’m being compared to the good doctor.

  • Mark

    I think we’re all cubs fans because when they actually do win the world series we want to be able to say that we stuck with them through the good times and bad times.

  • Norm

    because baseball if f#*k@ng awesome!

  • I’m with these two ^

  • Seymour Butts

    Actually I did watch the game today..and we did not just give it to the Rocks, we pounded them into submission and a 1 game sweep.

  • Seymour Butts

    and Aaron….. I’m relatively sure it wasn’t a compliment…I’ve met him and would not take it that way.

  • Lizzie doesn’t have and Wizzies?

  • Brad Brewer

    Well, really happy to see Pena and Ramirez got 2-HR’s each today…. let’s hope it raises their stock so we can trade them!! 🙂 We’ll see….

  • Doc Raker

    1) For my grandparents who brought me to my first game. For my Dad who brought my brothers and I to many a game including Burt Hooton’s no hitter April 16 1972 in which I still have the ticket stub signed by Burt Hooton- had dinner with him. For may aunts and uncles that brought me to games. For my brothers, one of which was at Wrigley on June 23 1984 and the other was there when Eric Karros ruined Roger Clemens bid for 300 W in June of 2003. Rooting for the Cubs is a common thread in families and with friends, abandoning the Cubs is like abandoning your family. When the Cubs win the world series there will be traffic jams at the cemetaries as everyone will go and visit there departed loved ones to tell them the news.
    2) We love Wrigley Field, spending a day at Wrigley is a great vacation day like no other day.
    3) Baseball is the greatest game, win or lose.
    4) Everyone loves watching a train wreck and if the Cubs don’t win they sure offer a fine baseball train wreck over the course of 162 games in 180 days.
    Just some of the reasons I can never stop following the Cubs.

  • Doc Raker

    Different thoughts need a seperate post, Aaron is doing just fine. Don’t listen to Seymour, he orders his steaks well done.

  • Doc Raker

    The Cardinals are 1-5 since Pujols went down. Maybe LaRussa isn’t such a genius, the managerial genius factor always goes up when you have baseball’s best hitter in the middle of your line up, let’s see how well they do without Pujols. Remember what a genius Dusty Baker was during the Barry Bonds years in San Francisco? Dusty turned out to be not so much a genius.

  • Doc Raker

    Good job on the Wizzin’s, could of been a great job but you picked the wrong ones.

  • I passed my Cubs fan-dom up a generation to my Dad. Worst son ever? He started following in ’03…lucky son of a bitch…I would love to have that Cubs-frame of reference. Pretty successful ball club largely since then.

  • Steak over medium is a travesty. Not to mention those char lines…denaturing proteins to that extent cannot be healthy. Carcinogenic perhaps. Perhaps we should consult a cardiologist.

  • I’ll go for three. Random thought: even if Jeff Kent wasn’t on PEDs, his numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. With Barry either on first or in the dugout after a dinger, he must have seen two straight fastballs every at-bat. Good call on Baker, Raker.

  • Doc Raker

    Steak well done is like putting ketchup on a hot dog.

  • Buddy

    I’m in Colorado this week. Just saw Matt Murton. He said to tell everyone hello.

  • Seymour Butts

    Ketchup masks the flavor of rodent hairs.

  • Lizzie

    @Doug no Wizzies for Lizzie. Wizzies are way classier than my usual drivel. Rachel rewards actual baseball conversation about real baseball topics. Not like the gutter talk and locker room innuendos that I picked. LOL

  • Doc Raker

    Was Murton playing baseball or waiting tables?