Archive for December, 2005

Some things will stand the test of time

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

“The feeling Iíve had since I got the call is a feeling I suspect will never go away. Iím told it never does. Itís the highest high you can imagine. I wish you all could feel what I feel standing here. This is my last big game. This is my last big at-bat. This is my last time catching the final out. I dreamed of this as a child but I had too much respect for baseball to think this was ever possible. I believe it is because I had so much respect for the game and respect for getting the most out of my ability that I stand here today. I hope others in the future will know this feeling for the same reason: Respect for the game of baseball. When we all played it, it was mandatory. Itís something I hope we will one day see again.

Thank you, and go Cubs.”

I’ve probably watched the speech ten times now but it still moves me. A speech from a guy who never wanted the limelight, talking about the one thing he loved and knew about. In the years ahead as a manager of people I will play this tape for my employees – it’s about as clear a statement as I know of why we should respect what we do and try to do the best we can.

If you want to hear it again you can go here and click on “video of address”

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I like this guy!

Thursday, December 15th, 2005

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been wrong before. But my every instinct is that the Cubs should lock this guy up for a three year contract at $18 million.

These are Juan’s best years – unless he’s a Davey Lopes and can be like wine and get better as he ages we are going to see Juan at his finest. While Corey Patterson is doing God knows what down in Kennesaw, GA Pierre is conditioning and getting ready for the 2006 season. Did he play winter ball? Well, no but he’s getting a month early start on the season by playing in the WBC.

Every team seems to have an Achille’s heel, the Cubs never seem to have third basemen and leadoff hitters. Well this year we have both. Good luck Juan and I’m thrilled to have you on board!!

PS: Pierre should send this picture to his family, he sure looks good in Cubbie blue!

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I’d Rather Have J. J. from Duke than…

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

jacqueJacque Jones from the free agent pool. Now that Milton Bradley has been dealt elsewhere, Hendry is looking seriously at Jones which would not be a very good move for the Cubs. His strikeouts are worrisome, his overall production is comparable if not worse than Jeromy Burnitz. If we weren’t going for a top level RF, why not re-sign Jeromy?

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The clock is ticking…

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

For Corey Patterson and Jerry Hairston that is. If memory serves me correctly, both are eligible for arbitration and must sign for at least their 2005 pay rate *or* be non-tendered effective December 20th. Patterson earned $2.8M in 2005 and Hairston pulled down 1.8 million. If I’m not mistaken, Wellemeyer, Wuertz and Ohman are on auto-renewal, as is Ronny Cedeno.

I also believe that Todd Wellemeyer is out of minor league options and must either make the 25 man roster or clear waviers, which he would not. You’ve got to figure that somebody would claim him; might make sense to package him in a trade for a corner outfielder.

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What ever happened to….?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

With Mark’s recent Christmas wishlist from the readers in the books, I’d like to ask you “What ever happened to…?” This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is just six random things I was thinking about.

1. Sportsmanship – All we see now in all sports is showboating or trashing your opponent. In the movie Coach Carter, Samuel L. Jackson gets angry at his players for this and asks them why it’s not enough to win anymore? Winning is not enough. Now, players need to win AND humiliate their opponent while doing so. It’s terrible.

2. Doubleheaders – One of the coolest things is buying a baseball ticket and being able to see two games for the price of one. Now, teams are so concerned about revenue and losing paid attendance and concessions, that they often times clear the stadium after the first game and bring in the new crowd.

3. Tall Socks – Why are there so few ballplayers wearing them? And why are the ones who do wear them considered throwbacks?

4. The Stolen Base – I long for the days where guys like Vince Coleman steal 100 bases in the season. It used to be that if your leadoff hitter got on with a single, there was a threat of him turning it into a triple with his speed and running instincts. Now, we play Dusty ball and have every player fill their shoes with cement before every game. Gotta make sure they don’t get any ideas about running.

5. The Scorecard – Does no one keep score anymore? I go to games these days and feel a little weird with my Bob Carpenter scorebook. It got old going to games and being forced to buy a program for $8 just to keep score. What happened to the days when EVERYONE kept score?

6. Pickup Games – When was the last time you drove by a park or baseball field at a school and see it being used for a game of RF is closed 5 on 5 baseball? It just doesn’t happen anymore. Now, we have MLB 2006 for the XBOX 360 to teach us all about the baseball fundamentals. So our kids can now hit buttons at the right time, but can’t hit a baseball to save their lives. They can turn a double play with the best of them on the PS2, but can’t even remember to turn their glove the right way to catch the ball in real life. It’s a shame.

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Ho ho ho!!

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

<img src=”” align=”left” title=”” border=”0″Okay Boys and Girls, it’s time to tell Santa what you want for your Cubs Christmas! Santa also likes to celebrate Chanukah, Kwanza and Boxing Day so feel free to include these requests too!

My friend Mastrick from Nashville, TN has written me to say that all he wants for Christmas is a right fielder who hits doubles (homeruns not required,) one that can field his position well, keep his strikeouts under 20% and be a positive force in the dugout.

Now is the time for you to tell Santa what you want!

PS: Santa reads regularly and is planning on giving Corey Patterson rocks and lumps of coal.

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More Tejada rumors

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

Rotoworld reports that the Cubs and Orioles have discussed a trade for Tejada but no official proposal has been made. They insinuate that a Ronny Cedeno/Felix Pie package would be the likely scenario for a trade. A stiff price to pay but I would pay it – Tejada still has three years left on his contract. BTW Cedeno is currently batting sixth in his winter league.

In unrelated news the Chicago Tribune ran an article that was very complimentary about Juan Pierre’s work ethic. Regardless of what happens with Pie we need to lock this guy up – Felix strikes out way too much to be a leadoff hitter.

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Onion Article

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

This article from The Onion’s sports section just cracked me up. If you haven’t taken the time to read the onion, you are missing out. Sometimes I feel like this is the way Hendry and the Cubs do business.

Indians Meet With Trevor Hoffman, Forget To Offer Contract

December 8, 2005 | Onion Sports

CLEVELAND—Despite spending two full days this past weekend with Trevor Hoffman, Indians GM Mark Shapiro admitted that, although the ultimate goal of the experience was to sign the free-agent closer for the 2006 season, the plan to make a formal contract offer completely slipped his mind. “I went to Trevor’s hometown of Del Mar, CA Saturday thinking nothing but ‘two years, $14 million,’ but once I got there and met [his wife] Tracy and the kids—wonderful people, by the way—any thought of money was gone before I even tasted Tracy’s homemade meat loaf, which was just delicious,” said Shapiro, who then traveled with Hoffman to Cleveland, where the pair took in a Browns game, visited the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and had dinner and a four-hour conversation at the famous Blue Point Grill. “Once we started talking, the evening just flew by. We’re both very interested in baseball, and Trevor had some great stories from the ’98 World Series that I could’ve listened to all night long. Really evocative storyteller.” Shapiro was afforded one last opportunity to make the deal when he sat next to Hoffman on their two-hour flight from Cleveland to the winter GM meetings in Dallas, but Shapiro said he spent the trip listening to his iPod and catching up on some much-needed sleep.

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Very Interesting

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

As we sit and ponder what moves Jim Hendry has left in his bag of improvements for next year, I would like to call your attention to a few media sources that had me pondering. Sometimes it is very frustrating to have to sit and wait for moves to be made. I wish there was a system in place where GM’s had two weeks and then all moves had to be done. If not, they had to wait until opening day. Wouldn’t that be great? Well, maybe not for bloggers and columnists who struggle as it is to find a good story in the offseason, but for a fan, that would be two of the most exciting weeks in all of sports. Since we don’t live in that world, here are the media sources I found interesting. See what you think about them.

Among other outfielders on the Cubs’ radar screen are the Mets’ left-handed Cliff Floyd (who may not be available), Twins free agent Jacque Jones (who isn’t a priority), the Dodgers’ switch-hitting Milton Bradley (a fallback) and such right-handers as the Rangers’ Kevin Mench (a real possibility) and Reds’ Austin Kearns (who may not be available).

The Cubs also could wait until Dec. 20 when young players, such as Patterson, could be non-tendered by their team.

Then, I am cruising the stories today and find:

The Diamondbacks’ pursuit of a centerfielder has brought them full circle – once more, they are trying to land Chicago’s Corey Patterson. Last season after the trade deadline had passed, Arizona put a claim in on Patterson after the Cubs had tried to slip him through waivers. The Cubs pulled the offer back

So it seems to me that this “deal” may have to happen by the 20th of December or Patterson will be non-tendered. If the first article is a tipoff, then the Cubs are planning on doing just that on December 20th. If that’s the case, Arizona knows it and will not give much at all for Patterson. Why should they? They almost had him for free last year and can have him for free this year. Hendry seems to have set himself up for failure on this one. Personally, and I know i’m one of the few, but i’d like to see us give Corey one more shot with this team, IF we can add a big bat like Tejada for the lineup. If that happened, Corey could play RF.

What WILL happen!!! – Jim Hendry will pursue this, be laughed at by Arizona for trying to be shrewd with a player he plans on releasing and will end up getting nothing in return for Corey Patterson come Dec. 20th.

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