Archive for September, 2004

Splitsville

Monday, September 13th, 2004

It’s getting hard to write optimistically about the Cubs. Split a series with Florida. Lose 2 of 3 to Montreal. How does this team expect to have any team respect them when all they seem to do is play down to their competition?

Instead of talking Cubs, I want to take a quick second to point out that both my college football teams won big games this weekend. WCU beat Nicholls State 28-7 and Notre Dame won a big game over Michigan. Thanks for giving me something to cheer for this weekend, guys.

postCount(’109507670418535146′);

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Days Of Old

Friday, September 10th, 2004

In the wake of a mistake-ridden first game against the Marlins, this nostalgic Cub fan found one shining light in the ballgame. The seventh inning stretch featured my all-time favorite Cubs player, Andre Dawson. The Hawk gave us his rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” and unlike many of Wrigley’s guest conductors, every note that escaped his mouth was…in tune.

At the top of the eighth, Chip and Steve shared their standard meet-the-conductor interview with their guest, and Andre talked about his memories as a Cubs player. He said what he enjoyed the most was the way the fans respected him and his teammates, even in the years when the Cubs were one of the worst teams in the league. In fact, it was 1987 when the Cubs were dead last in their division, yet Dawson had the best year of his career and became the National League MVP.

I pondered his words and thought about the last few games at Wrigley Field. This certainly hasn’t been one of the greatest stretches of games in Cubs history, but the 2004 Cubs are certainly doing better than the Cubs of 1987. But judging from the continued boos inning after inning from the box seats, upper decks and bleachers of Wrigley Field, it seems to me that the fans aren’t offering the same amount of respect to this team compared to the Cubs teams of old. Could Dawson have had his amazing 1987 season if the Cubs of 1986 (which he was not a part of, of course) had gone deep into the postseason only to suck it up the following year? Would the fans at Wrigley have booed The Hawk every time he struck out?

It’s clear to me that past success can be one of the heaviest items a team can have on its shoulders. Coming within five outs of the World Series is an amazing accomplishment, but for fans who have waited their entire lifetimes to see them come away with the biggest prize in the sport, the expectations they place on this team may not disappear for many years to come.

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

A short poem on the Cubs’ offense

Friday, September 10th, 2004

A short poem on the Cubs’ offense

Heavy on righties and uppercut heroes,

they’ll score fifteen one day, then for two days it’s zero.

With little in mind but swings prodigious,

they act as if singles are sacreligious.

For if they should happen to get on the bases

a baserunning error will redden their faces.

And bases on balls are something quite shameful,

but shallow pop flies are not disdainful.

So swing hard, you Cubs, with no consideration

for need of runners or situation.

For according to you the wins are not relevant

the game is to show that you’re strong as an elephant.

And if in the process you’ve blown the wild card,

and hoisted yourself on your own petard,

no matter to you, you’re still filthy rich!

Why should you care if your loyal fans bitch.

–A loyal fan

postCount(’109484094243782670′);

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

What can you say?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

I watched the game last night. I was disappointed, but I started to think about if the Cubs really deserved to win anyway. A few of the runs they did get were due to poor fielding on the part of the Expos. So, it’s hard to say we should have won, but it is definitely a game we COULD have won.

I think Maddux will step up for us tonight and get us the solid pitching we need. After using practically our entire pitching staff last night, we could use a nice 8 inning performance. There really isn’t much more to say. This is crunch time. It’s up to the Cubs to rise to the occasion like every other team is.

postCount(’109467244694096110′);

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

4 days off can be a big help

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

For the past few days, I decided to take a break from baseball, and writing. It seemed like the perfect time, considering the Cubs were on a temporary hiatus from the game. However, I have to admit, I literally almost went insane from the lack of Cubs on TV. I am addicted and I will not deny it. Come Monday, I was so ready for the game, that it was all I was thinking about all day. I probably would have pulled my hair out waiting for it had I not been reformatting my computer in the office. That kept me busy until right up to the start of the game.

As I said before, having 4 days off can in fact be a big help. With the Cubs being idle, I was forced to get other things done. I reorganized my office desk, formatted the hard drive, and was able to get some things done for school. I had a fairly profitable week. However, I would assume that most, if not all who read this site do not really care about what I did. They care about the Cubs. Well for the Cubs, in my opinion, those 4 days off can also be a big help to them or a big problem. I’d like to make a case for both sides.

Why the rest may help

  • Sometimes it helps to just take a step back and evaluate the situation. This extra time off allowed the Cubs that opportunity. They were able to step back, see where they stand, and decide where they want to go. “Do I want to help this team make the Wild Card?”, “Do I want to win the World Series?”, and “What do I need to improve?” These are all questions that needed to be addressed individually when given the opportunity. Having some days away from baseball gave the Cubs just that opportunity. Whether or not they took advantage of it, we’ll just have to wait and see.
  • Having days off at this time in the season allows players to rest ailing bones, and nagging injuries. This has been a year full of them, so a little extra R & R goes a long way toward promoting a healthy team down the stretch. Days off allow Nomar and Ramirez the chance to sit and rest, while not missing any games in the process. Hopefully this extra rest will go a long way toward getting these guys healthy. If Ramirez’s two HR game yesterday is any indication, the rest seems to have worked.

Why the rest may hurt

  • Because of the series with the Marlins being wiped out, it forces the Cubs to play doubleheaders down the stretch. While the makeup dates to this point have not been officially announced, there is a good chance the Cubs will have a grand total of 1 off day until the playoffs. I really hope that this does not come back to bite us, but around baseball, the consensus feeling is that it will. Hopefully the Cubs will come out swinging and get to the point that at least one of the games are not necessary. If not, pitching on short rest could be in store for our already beleaguered starting staff.
  • Because of the short rest for our pitchers down the stretch, we may have to endure a start by the disaster that is Sergio Mitre. God help us if we do. Keep your fingers crossed that his arm falls off magically and we are all sparred from the torture of watching him pitch.

So, will the days off from baseball be helpful or hurtful? We’ll just have to see. If nothing else, they were helpful to me.

postCount(’109458039565364445′);

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Taking A Glance Around Sports

Friday, September 3rd, 2004

With the Cubs idle yesterday, and idle today due to someone name Francis, I figured I would take a look at other happenings around the league and sports in general to share my thoughts with the world.

I. The AL Playoff Picture

Unlike the National League, the American League playoff picture is fairly clear. If the season ended today, the playoff matchups would be as follows:

NY Yankees vs Minnesota Twins

Oakland A’s vs Boston Red Sox


Of those two matchups, the Yankees will no doubt get more coverage, because they are, well, THE YANKEES!!!! However, I think the more intriguing matchup of the AL is the A’s and Sox. Both teams have a great starting staff and are very hot right now. It would be a great series to watch. Who wouldn’t want to watch Pedro vs Hudson, Shilling vs Mulder, etc. I know I would.

In the Yankee’s series, I feel as if the Yankees will have a hard time with the Twins despite their lack of offense. Yankee’s starters are struggling this year and they have yet to figure out a way to fix the situation. Esteban Loiza, the consolation prize in the Randy Johnson trade talks, has been awful since donning the pinstripes of NY. If New York does not figure out a way to get some quality starts come October, they will have little chance facing starting staffs that boast Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Pedro Martinez and Curt Shilling. I look for the Yankees to fall short again this year by losing in either the first round or the ALCS. The will not make it to the World Series.

II. Russia beats up on Team USA Hockey

It seems like all the pro athletes in Olympic type competition feel like this is the year they need to get beat by the world. With the Olympic mens basketball team limping to a bronze medal in Athens, the USA hockey team feels they need to follow suit in the hockey World Cup. They got beat by Canada on Tuesday night and now lost to Russia last night by a score of 3-1. The problem with this team is the exact opposite from the problem the basketball team experienced. USA basketball was made up of young, inexperienced talent. They all know how to play basketball, but have yet to learn “team” basketball. This hockey team is made up of veterans who know the game of hockey, and have experienced winning. Names like Chelios and Mario are found in the lineup. The problem with this team is they have too much experience. They are simply too old. Too many tired legs on the ice. They simply can’t keep up. People who pick these teams need to learn what they are doing. It’s not all about star power. It’s about team play and chemistry in international competition.

III. WCU Football wins 77-7 over West Virginia State

I know all of you are wondering why I would even post this score. This is my school. I was at the game last night until halftime. I couldn’t watch the blowout anymore. Our guys limited poor West Virginia State to relatively no offense in the first half. WCU did not even allow them into their territory the whole first half except for one play late that got them 2 yards in. I hope this is a good sign for the year to come for the Catamounts, who play in the Division IAA Southern Conference.

IV. Non Sports Related Topic

There are two things I would also like to mention to you. First, if you have not ever played with it, there is a website called bloglines. With it, you can subscribe to all your favorite Cubs and non Cubs blogs on the internet. I highly reccomend this program because it will save you endless amounts of time searching blog to blog just to see if they have something written. Simply log into your bloglines account and it will tell you all the sites with new content. It’s the only way to go for people who have little time, but alot to read. If you are interested in signing up, there is a link to bloglines in my sidebar. Click it and it will walk you through it.

The second thing I would like to mention is something that I am very excited about. This site will be moving to it’s own domain in about a week. As soon as the move is complete, I will be posting all the new information for the site and RSS feeds here for people to click and then change their bookmarks.

postCount(’109422040547213425′);

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us:

Rick Morrissey Strikes Again

Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

As you know from some of my earlier posts, I really enjoy reading Rick Morrissey’s writing. I generally get a nice laugh from it, and generally agree with it. I guess it also kind of helps that he did an interview for us as well. I didn’t get a chance to talk about his latest Cubs post, but it was a great one. If you haven’t read it, take a quick trip over and give it a read.

I don’t intend to discuss his article, but rather some of the quotes and concepts he talks about because they are, in my opinion, worthy of being discussed. It seems that all year, all I have seen from the Cubs has been a bunch of whining, complaining, and begging for someone to throw them a pity party. “The Umps don’t like us”, “Our broadcasters don’t like us”, “We have too many injuries”. All this complaining all year from all kind of different players. I am going to pull some block quotes from Morrissey’s article and give my opinions on them.

On Friday, reliever Kent Mercker called the press box to complain about what he considered to be excessive praise of Houston’s Roy Oswalt by WGN-TV announcer Chip Caray. In a daily double, Mercker also found time to scream at an umpire after the game.

I’m sorry, but if you have time to call up to a TV booth to chew out the announcers, you need to be using your time better. As a reliever, you have all the time in the world time simply sit, watch baseball and study hitters. These guys, more than any other players should be the most scholarly on every hitter in the Major Leagues. They should be able to know the hitters inside an out. As a result, because they pitch for such a short period of time, they should be able to have lower ERA’s than starting pitchers due to the amount a hitter sees them. They rarely work through any part of a lineup more than once so hitters do not get much of a chance to see their stuff. Kent Merker, who is having a pretty decent year should be closing his mouth, studying the game and preparing for the situation. If he did that, he wouldn’t have time to complain about Chippy and his annoying call of the game.

After a 7-6 Cubs loss Saturday, starter Carlos Zambrano complained about home plate umpire Eric Cooper’s strike zone, never mind that it was Zambrano’s error that helped give the Astros three runs. The carping has been a trend, to the point where the umpires view the Cubs the way most of us view ingrown toenails.

I watched this Zambrano play. Had he not blown that play, the Cubs win that game. Rather than transferring the blame, take it on yourself Carlos, be a leader. The umps didn’t lose this game for you, you did that yourself. Umpires are not giving you calls because they are sick of your complaining shut up and maybe you’ll get a few calls your way. I find it funny that one of the player who doesn’t complain, Greg Maddux, is still getting calls to go his way. He gets strikes on the corner as he always has. Umpires respect him and will give him those calls. This Cub team needs to earn some respect first and then they will start getting the calls they are looking for.

I read this next section, in response to Pee Hands complaining that Chip and Stoney were not kind enough to the team in their broadcasts, and about rolled on the floor laughing. I would love to see Rick ask Moises if this is what he would like the broadcast to be like.

Here is what the Cubs apparently would like from Caray and Stone on TV:

Chip: “Alou strikes out on three straight pitches. The umpire really is jamming him, Steve. It’s a travesty.”

Steve: “Sure he swung on all three pitches, but you couldn’t be more right, Chip. It’s totally unjust. And let me take this opportunity to say that the city of Houston is a hovel.”

Chip: “Sammy Sosa’s .257 batting average is really deceiving. The great man is hitting .400 in my book.”

Steve: “I hate the White Sox.”

The fact of the situation is this. This team is not and has not played up to their full potential this year. Until they do, they need to keep their mouths shut about someone calling their game. Take what they say, pin it up in your locker and use it as a motivator. That’s what old school players would have done.

Finally, good ole’ Dusty “Magic Dust” Baker is always good for a laugh.

“There could be some merit to the players’ complaints. We don’t have no crybabies here. I don’t think we have a team that’s going to complain unjustifiably either. It appears there’s more focus on what we haven’t done in general vs. what we’re doing and what we’re accomplishing.” ~ Dusty Baker

Ok, so let me make sure I have this correct. Dusty wants more emphasis on what the Cubs are accomplishing. Well, according to my calculations, their most recent accomplishments are as follows:

  • 8-0 loss to the hopeless Montreal Expos
  • Lost 4 out of last 5 games
  • Failure to capitalize on an easy schedule and distance from the pack in the wild card race.

Dusty, you ought to be like a proud father and hold that up for all the world to see. You must be so proud. At any rate, I will be expecting a call later tonight from Kent Merker telling me I too hard on the team. It’s a good thing I have caller ID.

Guess who’s back in the bigs

It seems that once highly touted Rick Ankiel is going to get another go round with the Cards. I am excited about seeing this happen. As much as I hate the Cards, something always interested me about this guy. I am curious to see what he does. If nothing else, he’ll offer me some nice entertainment as I watch umpires duck out of the way of his wild fastball. What a nice September it’s going to be.

postCount(’109405128794124736′);

Like what you see here? Never miss new content. Follow Us: