Archive for May, 2005

Top 5 Reasons to NOT be upset and panic

Saturday, May 28th, 2005

Well, I have to admit that I was bummed about seeing Prior get rocked by that line drive. I, like most people, panicked and thought horrible thoughts. However, the more I rolled it around my mind, the more I became OK with the situation. I know it seeps absurd, but I am honestly fine with it. So, to help ease your pain, I’d like to present my Top 5 Reasons to NOT be upset, from the home offices in do me, NC.

5. No Offense, but it’s the offense that is the problem, not the pitching.

I tried to use a lame pun there, but it’s the truth. The fact of the matter is, it’s not that pitching was our problem. Our problem was and is our offense. It’s nonexistant to this point. If it would have been someone like Derrick Lee going down, I would have been much more upset. If it HAD to be someone, I can live with it being a pitcher instead of one of our few producing hitters. Take heart in that.

4. We have a great amount of SP depth

Coming in to this year, we were once again at or near the top of the list for SP. We have great talent at the position with more to spare. Without Prior, we have Zambrano, Maddux, Rusch, Dempster, Mitre, Raul Valdez, Bobby Brownlie, Todd Wellemeyer, etc all of who are capable of doing the job for us. Plus, in a month or so, Woody comes back. We’re OK in this department, no matter what anyone says.

3. It’s not like we were playing well to begin with

I would be very upset if we were dominating this year and then had this happened. However, this team has sputtered out of the gate and hadn’t looked that promising. Prior had been pitching lights out and what had it gotten us? Not much. So, until the team decides that it’s time to play like they’re capable of playing, losing Prior is not going to make that big of a difference.

2. We could get closer to losing Dusty

Look on the bright side. If this team REALLY tanks it now, the reverend could be gone by the end of the year. That’s got to give everyone some bit of hope. I know it does to me. We just need something to spark this team, and I am positive that a manager change would do it. I’d really love to see the Cubs pull Brenly from the booth and put him the manager’s seat. The last few games, he’s been dead on in identifying the team’s problem. They are not seeing enough pitches and are trying to hard to make something happen. They need to relax, take some pitches, and get something to drive. Instead, the Cubs are swinging at everything they see. They flashed a graphic on the screen in the game yesterday that showed there were 3 Cubs in the top five for swinging at the 1st pitch. Patterson, Dubois and Barrett all hover around the 50% of the time mark. That’s a major problem in my eyes.

1. You had to know an injury was coming.

When have we NOT gotten hit by the injury bug? You had to be expecting it sometime.

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Saturday, May 28th, 2005

Last one on the ledge, please close the window.

prior hurt

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Thru Cub Eyes: Steve Stone

Friday, May 27th, 2005

If it’s Friday it must be time for another first person account of life in a Cub uniform. This excerpt is from Carrie Muskat’s fine compilation Banks to Sandberg to Grace. Look for it wherever fine Cub literature is sold. Sorry, I could not find a picture of Steve in a Cub uniform after an exhaustive search.

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A lot of people don’t realize when they talk about the Cubs’ 20 game winners that I won 20 games for the Cubs. But it took me three years. I was 23-20 in three years, and the fact is ’74, ’75 and ’76, we didn’t make anybody forget about the ’27 Yankees. The fact that I was over .500 was a major accomplishment.

I had some very good times in 1975. The Cubbies were actually in the race. I started out 5-0. The Cubs were in the race from the middle of June. We had a real interesting collection of guys. George Mitterwald hit three home runs and it was the highlight of his life because I think he ended up hitting ten for the year, maybe even less than that. We had Carmen Fanzone who was a terrific guy and, unfortunately for Carmen, a better trumpet player than a baseball player. We had Oscar Zamora as our closer, who told our pitching coach Marv Grissom that if he came to the park with his eyes swollen – because he never really had come in at night – that it was the ozone. It wasn’t that he was partying all night, it was the ozone. He’d come in with his eyes looking like the old fighter Carmen Basilio. Marv assumed it wasn’t the ozone. I think Oscar led our staff with 13, 14 saves. We weren’t particularly good, like so many teams I was on, but we had a good time.

I was the Cubs’ first free agent. I was the first guy ever to go without a contract. So the Cubs didn’t want to pitch me the second part of the year when I was healthy. They did pitch me in one game. Fortunately, Roland Hemond was in the seats. I threw five innings, gave up two hits and one run, and threw the ball great, and Roland Hemond and Bill Veek drafted me in that first free-agent draft. And I won 15 games for them in 1977.

I spent 15 years with Harry and we never rehearsed an opening. Not one. Ever. Harry wanted one microphone, took the mike, and Arne (Harris) would go in our ears “OK.” No countdown, just go get ’em. … I had no idea what he was going to say. I’m not sure if he knew what he was going to say, but I do know sometimes he would say exactly what I was going to say.

I thought it was up to me to analyze pitchers, A couple times Harry would go and analyze the pitchers first thing out of the box and then hand the mike to me. I had no idea where he was going and maybe the spontaneity of the thing is what made us.

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Reading Assignment

Friday, May 27th, 2005

Hey guys, I have a golf tournament today so unless my fellow writers feel compelled to jot a positive note down for you, I want to draw your attention to a couple articles in today’s newspaper.


That said, they cannot possibly be this bad, a view shared by Tribune Co. execs who warily approved the club’s first $100 million payroll. They are playing like a Dead Team Walking largely because Baker is moping around like a Dead Manager Walking. Is it me, or is he acting like someone who doesn’t want the gig much longer, a man weary of Wrigleyville’s 97-year burden and the reality that his best chance to break through vanished on a wicked October night in 2003? His energy level and toothpick quotient have dropped significantly since the collapses of the last two autumns, and while I won’t accuse him of quitting like Sammy Sosa, I will submit that $3.5 million a year is an obscenely high price for complacency. There is a school of thought that the Tribsters never would fire Baker and eat his salary before his contract expires after next season, but when a franchise has employed 14 skippers in 25 years of ownership, you come to realize anything is possible when the bosses are identifying scapegoats.


Cubs manager Dusty Baker wants to make sure his team doesn’t try to make up all the lost ground in too big of a hurry.

“You’ve got to do the slow walk,” Baker said. “If you keep winning series, you’ll slow walk. You go seven, six, five, four — next thing you know, hopefully, they see the whites of our eyes and we are right up on ’em.”

All in all, it’s not looking good for the Reverend and this team right now. They are playing like they forgot to put down the emergency brake. It’s causing them to just sputter and go very very slow. Someone needs to figure it out VERY SOON!!!!!

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Opinion on this?

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

Today I just happened to run into an article written by Teddy Greenstein. It compares Santo and Huges to Rooney and Farmer and gives a split screen of the calling the game. Here is a snip of the article. Be sure to click the link and the end and read the whole thing. Then, let those comments fly on your opinions of Pat and Ron or John Rooney and Ed Farmer.

It’s difficult to spell a lot of what comes out of Ron Santo’s mouth. How exactly do you represent the sound of a groan? Is it “awwwww” or “arghhhhhh” or “ohhhhh”? Or does it deserve to go in capital letters? It’s easy, though, to translate Santo into winning and losing. His words—and his sounds—don’t even matter. It’s all tone and volume. You don’t even need to hear a score to know whether the Cubs are on top. That’s the beauty of Santo. But the flip side can be a bewildering lack of preparation. In the sixth inning of Sunday’s game, Santo asked partner Pat Hughes, “Did [the Sox] have [Tadahito] Iguchi last year?” The question makes you shake your head. Then you remember that Santo is one of a kind. As always, Hughes provided a perfect yin to Santo’s yang.

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