Archive for March, 2006

Uh Oh

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

As the resident optimist on the VFTB staff, I am in Big Trouble. The season hasn’t started and I’m already in late August mode.

This isn’t good folks.

I cannot, I will not go through six months with this sinking feeling of malaise.

Wood and Prior injured at this point has left me empty, hollow, frustrated and queasy. (My colon does not need the macarena effect before the college bb tourney.)

If something really positive doesn’t happen and soon I cannot be responsible for my actions.

Readers. Do you really want to read all negative posts from this forum? OK, Joe is still the lone holdout here and maybe Dave. But guys, I guess what I’m asking for here is an intervention to get me back into Spring Training form, heart and soul wise.

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It Happens Every Spring

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Well, that didn’t take long, did it? The Cubs have played 2 spring training games now, and Kerry Wood is already having his first surgery of the year. Meanwhile, Mark Prior has yet to face a live batter, and Steve Stone said in an interview with the Score today that he’s pretty sure that Prior’s injured. And while Stone does have a bit of an axe to grind with the Cubs, he’s also has a habit of being right about these things. Now Wood’s surgery doesn’t bother me much, since I wasn’t counting on getting anything out of him this year anyway. But if there is a real problem with Prior, then the Cubs may once again be caught short. The current rotation as of right now is Carlos Zambrano, Greg Maddux, Glendon Rusch and Jerome Williams. If Prior isn’t ready for the start of the season, who steps in? The team says that Wade Miller is ahead of schedule, but he still won’t be ready until May. That means that we might see either Rich Hill or Angel Guzman break camp with the team. Hill started a few games last year, but wasn’t very impressive. If he still hasn’t developed another pitch to go with his nasty curveball, he won’t be of much use. Guzman still has good stuff, but his health history makes Kerry Wood look like Cal Ripken Jr.. If he gets through spring training without hurting himself, and the Cubs need a spot start in Prior’s place, I’d like to see him get it.

The other thing that got me off my butt to write today was a quote from our Fearless Leader, Dusty Baker, talking about Marquis Grissom:

“He doesn’t have to have a great spring,” Baker said. “Spring training is for the young, especially early because they’re in shape in no time and, No. 2, most young guys hit fastballs. Pitchers aren’t ready to throw good breaking balls. It’s hard to throw them here in Arizona because of the air.”Baker said he would evaluate Grissom by his health, speed and bat speed.”You want to see progress as spring goes on,” Baker said. “I have a pretty good idea of what he can do. I’m looking for just what he has left.”

I’m sure that on whatever planet Dusty’s from this makes total sense. But it puzzles me a bit. Why does he feel the need to reassure Grissom in the papers that he’s basically got a spot on the team sewn up? I guess we wouldn’t want him to think that he’s got to compete for a job. Or show up to spring training in shape. Can the Cubs still seriously be thinking of giving this Dusty a contract extension?

The scary thing is, what if Grissom actually has a good spring? It’s too frightening to even think about. I sure hope that Matt Murton can hit .600 in the Cactus League. He may need to.

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Some takeaways from the Cubs’ second Cactus League game

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Well the offense exploded again – if we get half the offense we’ve had in the last two days when it counts this team could very well go far! Aramis scorched the ball again today, going three for three with a homerun and three ribbies. Jacque Jones also is on fire, he added three hits and Brandon Sing was 2/3 with 3 RBIs and 2 homeruns. Brandon appears headed to Iowa as their starting first baseman as I don’t see Micah Hoffpaiur anywhere in the Cubs organization or future. Former Cubs utility guy Augie Ojieda went two for three but don’t let that fool ya – he’s still Augie Ojieda. Former Michigan catcher Jake Fox and Dennis Anderson (formerly a Marlins prospect) combined to go four for five with three RBIs as the Cubs backstops.

Now for the downside – Neifi started at second and went 0/3. Oh well, Neifi is Neifi – what he does in spring training doesn’t matter because he’s gonna get his 500 at bats as long as Dusty is manager. Also going 0 for 3 were Juan Pierre, Ronny Cedeno and West Tenn catcher Casey Kopitzke. Wellemeyer got absolutely rocked and is really doing the Cubs a favor as he’s out of options. If he continues to pitch like he did today the Cubs will have no problem whatsoever deciding about Todd. I see a black and yellow hat with a P in his future, wonder what they’ll give us in return.

Tommorrow the Cubs will play the Giants with former Giant Jerome Williams scheduled to start; it remains to be seen whether or not Barry Bonds will trade in his dress for a Giants uniform. Only in San Francisco…

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Okay, where’s Prior?

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Today is March first and to date I have only heard of Prior throwing once, that being fifteen pitches last Friday. I just spent about ten minutes downloading Spring Training pictures from chicagosports.com – Kerry Wood is all over them but there were only two of Prior. So I wonder what the real deal is – Prior says he’s healthy but I sure don’t see him practicing. Anybody heard of reports that Prior is doing anything except the towel drill?

Update:
The Cubbies won their Cactus League opener powered by the pitching of Carlos Zambrano and some very effective smallball. Included were a bunt basehit by Pierre and RBIs by Hairston, Lee, Pie and Ramirez. Michael Wuertz got the win when pinch-runner Angel Pagan scored on a fielder’s choice by Jose Reyes. Cubs pitcher Brian Corey gave up all seven Oakland runs; what is it with the Cubs and that name?

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