Archive for October, 2006

Joe declares for Brenly

Sunday, October 8th, 2006

I love Joe Girardi. I think Joe Girardi would be a great choice for the Cubs. I think he would be the best fit for the Cubs if Jim Hendry wasn’t operating at the speed of a tortoise. But alas, Jim Hendry is operating at “his own pace” and that makes Joe Girardi my second choice as a result. Instead, i’m going to throw my support toward a man whose name I constantly misspelled for the better part of last season. Thanks go out to Tommy for the corrections. I’m going to go with Brenly for three reasons. There isn’t much to them that hasn’t already been said, but I figured people should know where we all stand.

1. He’s been with the team for two years
A manager has to be in direct contact with the GM about what type of players to bring in. Brenly already has the knowledge of not only what type of players he likes, but also the type of players this team needs. Being around for the past two years, Brenly has had a great chance to evaluate what type of talent is on this team and where the holes are. That knowledge would take any other manage significantly longer to be able to decipher. That, to me, gives Brenly a big notch up.

2. He’s a former catcher
Obviously, this one also applies to Girardi. I feel that Catchers make the best managers and best pitching coaches. They have the experience of being the field general and the knowledge to work with fragile psyches of pitchers. Because of that, Brenly should be able to be the type of leader in the clubhouse the team sorely lacked over the past four years. We need someone in there to kick some tail, not to be everyone’s uncle. Brenly can do that, as evidenced by his critical remarks throughout the season.

3. He’s won a world series
In my mind, the biggest thing on Brenly’s resume is the bling on his finger. He’s been to the big dance and beat one of the most storied franchises in the game. That takes skill. We need that experience. Brenly brings that and Girardi doesn’t. Case closed.

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Pre-Season Prognostication (NL edition)

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

As we patiently wait for the divisional playoffs to give way to the more exciting League Championship contests, itís time for the VFTB crew to beam with pride or eat crow as we revisit our pre-season National League projections. None of us will be quitting our day job anytime soon.


ìWatching the NL West this year should prove as initeresting as watching grass grow.î So stated Mark (Mastrick) at the end of Spring Training. And if he made that statement last year he would be right. But this year was more entertaining, especially after Greg Maddux traded Cubby Blue for Dodger Blue. San Diego and L. A. each improved over a year ago and they ended up tied 14 games over .500 and both landed a spot in the playoffs. Technically the Padres finished ahead as they won the tie-breaker in head-to-head play so credit Dave as he was the only one to choose them. The rest of us liked the Dodgersí chances.

The Mets ran away and hid early with the division so the real question was if the Phillies could pull off a wild card berth even tho they jettisoned their best player half way through. Ooops, I mean their second best player. Ryan Howard put this team on his back and almost succeeded grabbing the wild card. Fans in Philadelphia will be muttering ìwhat ifî all winter long. And the Marlins surprised us all.

I was the only one to guess the top three finishers in the East and to his credit Chris also picked the Mets. Joe and Mark were still drinking the Atlanta Kool-Ade and Dave obviously felt the Phillies would keep Abreu the whole season.

Well, that Brewers dynasty didnít quite take root this year so Mark and I were left looking kind of foolish (and more me than he for choosing Pittsburgh second!) My only saving grace was that I was the only one of our blessed fraternity who correctly predicted that the Cubs would finish in the basement. Am I proud of that? Hardly, tho I kept bragging about it to anyone who would listen. Is that sick or what? Joe, Dave and Chris correctly picked the Cardinals to win the division but Chris was the only one to also predict Houstonís second place finish. None of us saw the Cincinnati surprise as we unanimously chose them 5th.

Unofficially, Chris won the Central, I won the East and Dave won the West. Chris said he would cover the American League. Now Iím off to think good thoughts about The Professor as he tries to stave off elimination against Delgado and the Mets..

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Dave declares for Girardi

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

Ever since light-hittin’ Joe started picking his nose on the bench for Joe Torre people have been speaking about him as a future Cubs manager. The failure of the Magic Dust, and Girardi’s problems with Marlins ownership, has accelerated the timeline for consideration of Girardi as skipper.

I think it’s time.

Many of the reasons people speak of don’t mean crap to me.
For example, I don’t care if he’s a former Cub. Apart from 2 year Cub Don Zimmer, no former Cub has enjoyed success as manager since, um, Charlie Grimm?
I don’t care if he’s a former catcher. More ex-catchers have become managers than any other position, but Bill James showed in “The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers” that catchers are no more adept at running a team than any other team. Dave Pinto of Baseball Musings found that they were last in winning percentage (Left Fielders-turned-managers are tops, believe it or not). The reasons and samples are varied, but you get the point.
His drill sargeant/old school tactics aren’t what sold me either.

Here’s what I like about him:
He expects to be able to be in charge on the field. When his crybaby paycheck writer boo-hoos from the stands about an umpire’s call, he tells him to shut up.
That’s it.

I expect that Girardi will not tolerate the front office telling him what to do. I suspect he will work toward his own agenda. That agenda will have nothing to do with having the most expensive players on the field; just the most effective.

Girardi won’t stand for his players whining about the broadcasters. He’d put them in their place, and if he thought the announcers were wrong, he’d address them personally instead of to the press.

With a weak general manager who let his previous manager be the focal point of the club, and with an ownership that creates no urgency to win, our manager has to be a guy willing to tell the whole world to go to hell. Dusty did his own thing, which I appreciated, but he turned out to be clueless when it came to what the “thing” should be and spineless when it came to handling distractions. Girardi’s owner spat proved to be a distraction, but not because of Joe. He did the right thing by telling his owner to swallow his tongue.

On the field, the manager is king. Dusty took the scepter of rulership and used it to point blame at others. He let his players do whatever the hell they wanted and, in so doing, failed to install a direction for the team. Joe might be a little draconian for vets who want to take it easy (Aramis?), but for Theriot, Murton, Pie, Z, Pawelek, Marshall, Hill, and Moore, he’d be a guiding force behind the helm.

Disparaging the other guys doesn’t do them any service. Our perfect match with a corporate ownership, a marketing “whiz” for a team president instead of a baseball mind, Jimmy Donuts, and a team in need of turning the corner, is Joe Girardi.

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Mastrick declares for Brenly

Friday, October 6th, 2006

During the past week we Cubs fans have had plenty to digest and mull over – I’m sure Hendry feels the same way too. From what I’ve read, the Cubs’ GM was not expecting his boss to be clipped and watching your boss get fired really changes your world. It tells you that the movers and shakers want big changes and everything is temporarily in limbo. You have to find out what the new karma is and adapt and make damn sure you align with the correct faction. Such is power polemnics in a modern-day corporation; been there, seen it, done it got the T shirt to prove it.

Now that the dust is settling I’m hopeful that Hendry will move quickly and decisively. No more evaluating from a corporate foxhole – it’s now time to see 4$$holes and elbows. The Cubs need to start putting their gears in motion and no time is better than the present; free agents have to be signed and some will factor the manager into their decisions.

Bob Brenly has already tossed his hat in the ring, you can bet that Pinella’s interested and so is Girardi. Girardi basically said that he wanted to take a week off from the job search. What the heck is that? If I got fired tomorrow and a prospective employer called me the same day for an interview, there’s no way I’d give them some malarky like that. If Girardi’s interested, he should take the first available flight to Chicago – if he wants to “evaluate” then to heck with him. We need a committed manager, not some half-arse who has to take a vacation first.

I’m going to cast my vote now for Bob Brenly, he knows the team, he knows the problem areas. Bob has reached out to Cubs Nation and he speaks our language. I also think he’s adaptive, he has learned from his time in the booth and from his experiences in Arizona. He’s ready to take over now and he’s our man for the job. Take your stands, Cubs fans…

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Matt Murton on Minor League Ball

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Minor League Ball has a crystal ball feature they run. Here is the look back at Matt Murton.

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Herald Previews Managers

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

The Daily Herald has a little piece on the apparent “big three” in the hunt for the job: Girardi, Pinella, Brenly. It has a brief snip about each one.

Here is the link.

One part I noticed was that it said:

One name you can cross off the list is Buck Showalter, fired Wednesday by the Texas Rangers. Showalter sought the Cubs in 2002, and Hendry granted him an interview. The Cubs don’t appear at all interested this time.

What are your thoughts on Buck?

Update from Mastrick: The Sun-Times reports that Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre are interested in seeing who the Cubs pick for manager before deciding whether or not they are interested in returning to Chicago. Obviously Showalter or Pinella wouldn’t help in that respect but it would be interesting to see how they responded to Brenly or Girardi.

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More casulties

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

First Dusty Baker, now all of his coaches.

The Baker era in Chicago reached more closure Tuesday when all of the Cubs’ coaches were told their one-year contracts would not be renewed for 2007. The clean sweep included pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the only member of the staff who preceded the Baker era….

…According to sources, each coach was told he would be welcome to return if he is wanted by the new manager.

Chicago Sun Times – 10-4-2006

Everyone’s gone but Hendry. Why not clean house all together?

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A Tale of Two Teams

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

As I read on ESPN today that the Marlins had officially fired Girardi, something in the article frustrated me when combined with a previous article that I had read just the day before. I’d like to share.

Beinfest said the decision to fire Girardi was cemented two weeks ago. Aware that other managing jobs would likely come open, the Marlins first contacted Gonzalez on Sept. 25 and had an agreement with him by midweek last week, Beinfest said

Now, couple that with this clip and you’ll see why I’m frustrated.

“All I will promise you is it will be a very extensive search,” Hendry said. “I know how important this is for the franchise, and all of us involved with the Cubs. It’s going to be a huge decision. It’s first and foremost on my plate for the offseason. I’ll begin on the process as early as [Tuesday].

Hendry said he had not contacted anyone in advance of Monday’s decision to not renew Baker’s contract.

“Obviously, it will be a very exhaustive process,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll start with a 25-man list. I’m just looking for the best possible person, who I feel can lead us where we want to go and get back on track. We got off the track the last few years. It could be someone who’s already done it, or who I think is the best person for the job.”

TUESDAY?!?!?! Why not begin it long ago. Did you just figure out on Monday that you were not bringing Dusty back? As soon as you know that, start looking. Basically, what I see is that one GM knew he would have an opening before the season ended. He went to great lengths to get the job done before the season was over so that announcing it was just a formality. Our GM decides that an “extensive search” is necessary. Why does Jim Hendry seem to go out of his way to try to convince us that he doesn’t have a plan?

Don’t get me wrong. I think Jim Hendry DOES have a plan. He knows the guy he wants. He has been thinking about it since July. Why go out of your way to make it seem like you haven’t. BS us man. Make us think you have it together. When people ask you if you know who you are looking at, tell us YES. It makes us think you’re doing a good job.

Right now, i’m just frustrated at the lack of vision I see from him. Not everything needs to be a dang chess match, Jim. Make a decision and go with it. Maybe that’s why Florida has two nice rings and we have none in the last 98 years.

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Pick your poison

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

There is an article in the Trib today that mentions the potential list the Cubs will most likely choose from for Dusty’s replacement. They are:

Lou Pinella

Bob Brenly

Joe Girardi

Manny Acta – Mets 3B Coach

Fredi Gonzalez – Braves 3B Coach

So, my question to you is, from that list, who’s your guy? Why is he your guy? Who is the one from that list that you would LEAST want? Why? Let’s let the comments flow.

Update from Mastrick: Hopefully it will work out like this: Bob Brenly named manager, Steve Stone returns to the booth, Mark Grace named Cubs’ bench coach, Dallas Green made new Cubs’ president. Time to raid the Phillies again and the D Backs too!

Update Part II – What do you think of this?

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