View From The Bleachers

October 5, 2008


Filed under: General — cubbiedude @ 3:35 pm

I’m floating in a dream sequence. It’s not the least bit unpleasant. There is music. These are the words I’m hearing:

There’s a place for us
Somewhere, a place for us
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us,

There’s a time for us
Someday, a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to learn, time to care

We‘ll find a new way of living
We’ll find a way of forgiving

There’s a place for us
A time and a place for us
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there
Somehow, Someday, Somewhere

You might recognize the words to the song “Somewhere” from West Side Story, with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The particular version I’m hearing is by Tom Waits from the “Blue Valentine” project. (Hey, it’s my dream sequence and I can pipe in what ever music I want.)

In MY dream, however, the play is titled “North Side Story”, and the place is, of course, Wrigley Field. Someday is this past baseball season. Or the one before that. Or any season before that. Or next year. In my dream, time is pretty fluid.

The Chicago Cubs’ 2008 Postseason ended a few hours ago, but I’m feeling OK. My secret is something which I will refer to in the comedic sense as “A Paradigm Shift”.

Simply stated, I’m not thinking of this very short postseason as a big disappointment. Rather, I’m thinking of the 2008 Regular Season as the most spectacular Chicago Cubs Baseball Season of my life. I’m serious. And it works for me. I’m just happy that I was here to enjoy it.

The way I (choose to) see it, we were doing just fine, and things were chugging along magnificently, until these Extremely Vulgar BiCoastal Media Jackals appeared out of nowhere, crashed our party, and brought everything to a screeching halt. Full stop.

Because up until then, it was our party. They hijacked our party and it became their disgusting “Celebration of BS Fest”. And that’s where I get off. In case I wasn’t sure before, when I saw an entire stadium full of people waving white “Hankies”, that’s when I knew for sure that I was in the wrong place. And the directors at TBS are showing this as if to demonstrate that “something is really happening here”. Which only emphasizes that “nothing is happening here”.

I’m not going to play “The Blame Game” in trying to explain why the Cubs’ postseason ended so prematurely. I suppose there are some lingering questions which a reasonable person might reasonably ask one’s self. Such as:
– What happened to Sean Dempster in Game 1? Answer, I don’t know.
– What happened to our entire infield in Game 2? Answer, I don’t know.
– How come our leadoff man went 0 for 5 in Game 3? Answer, I don’t know.
– How come our leadoff man went 1 for 14 in the Playoffs? Answer, I don’t know.
– How come the #2 hole in our lineup went 2 for 12 in the Playoffs? Answer, I don’t know.
– Could the Cubs’ Hitting Coach use a little additional help? Answer, I don’t know.
– How come Ted Lilly and Kerry Wood and Reed Johnson saw no action at all in the Playoffs? Answer, once again, I don’t know.

I’m not blaming anyone.

The thing is, there was this enormous positive energy generated during the regular season. And then, in what seemed like only a heartbeat, all of that positive energy was redirected by events into an even bigger negative energy. But, as Albert Einstein demonstrated, energy doesn’t go away. It just changes form. Or it doesn’t.

So we can use this enormous energy, currently negative, and rechannel it into something equally but oppositely positive, like say, an artistic creation or a web site creation, or something. Or, as Duke Ellington said, you can sublimate the energy from a negative experience, using it as the inspiration to create a positive musical composition.

Or, if you are not careful, the negative energy can auger in deeper, dragging you downward to depths of depression from which you might not recover. I would not recommend this last course of action.

Like I said, I’m not gonna dwell on the Playoff Series. That was somebody else’s party. A Hankie party. I’m going back to my dream sequence, reliving the most spectacular Chicago Cubs regular season of my life.

I will leave you now with these thoughts, which have served me well over the past 12 hours or so, and beyond.

Do not underestimate the value of lowered expectations.

All good things come to an end.

Nothin’ Lasts Forever (by Delbert McClinton).

And never forget – tears are a form of wealth – you earned ‘em.

Rugrats in Paris full
Abandoned hd
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I'm a third generation cubs fan, living in southeastern Wisconsin.

  • Rick Beato

    Kerry Wood pitched Thursday and gave up an unearned run.

  • Rick Beato

    I had quite the opposite reaction to the lovely images presented here. I basically think I want a complete makeover. Right now there are no players on that roster I want to keep. Give us a rotten expansion team that will duplicate what Arizona did, what Florida did (twice), what Tampa might be doing right now. Give us a win in the ONLY game that matters every year — the clincher of the World Series.

    I sat in Wrigley Field Thursday at what truly felt like a funeral. And I thought then that we have all had the wrong idea. We need to put our sights on winning the only true championship. The Division title? Absolutely worthless (see 2007 & 2008). I might feel that tthe NL pennant was decent — we have not won one of those in 70 years except for a 1945 war year fluke. But dammit, now, we need to iinsist on a title. And do whatever it takes.

    Of course, we can never get rid of everyone, so here are a few ideas for 2009, which gives us absolutely no hope right now.

    1. Get a real #3 hitter. D.Lee was one for one year and then got his wrist broken. He has no drive power and hits into far too many DPs with far too few HR. Remember, the Dodgers would never have appeared in the postseason without Manny Ramirez. Our #3 would hit at least .290, OBP at least .390, a minimum of 30 HR and 130 RBI. A dominator who can center a lineup and strike some fear in opponents. Lee, who is no longer anywhere near a gold-glover, would bat #6 or #7 in this plan. This power hitter would play CF or perhaps RF in my plan. Jim Edmonds was great in ’08 but at his age he is not the answer. If the new man is in CF, then Reed Johnson should platoon with Fukudome in RF until and unless Fuku gets the hang of American baseball. He was pitiful in the second half of the season. If the new man is in RF, then platoon Pie and Johnson. That makes Fuku a solid sub, highly overpaid at $12 million, but I want to win.

    2. Leave Aramis in the #4 hole. Move Soriano to the #5 hole. I do agree that he is the best leadoff hitter in baseball when he is hot, but he is never hot in the postseason. The main gain for this might be simply to shake things up. Without such a shakeup, this team might well win the NLC next year again, and then stretch the postseason losing streak to 12. No, thanks.

    3. Get a great leadoff hitter. I would like to see Brian Roberts or his reasonable equivalent. Someone who can hit, walk, steal, strike some fear into the opponent. Rafael Furcal would work. Either Theriot or DeRosa is expendable. Both had great years, neither is an all-star fielder, one or the other could be great as a backup. I know about DeRosa’s 21 HR. Does anyone expect a repeat? We could use better defense at 2B as well.

    New Leadoff, ss or 2b
    Theriot,ss or Fontenot, 2b
    New Power, cf or rf
    Ramirez, 3b
    Soriano, lf
    Soto, c
    Lee, 1b
    Pie or Johnson, cf or Fukudome or Johnson, rf
    Dempster, Lilly, Zambrano, Harden, sp

    4. Ronny Cedeno and Daryle Ward must go. Hoffpaur can be the PH/DH. Howry should go and I question whether Kerry Wood should be given a huge contract to close. Good he was this year, but we need better than that. Carlos Marmol should close and we need to groom Samardjzia to set up. Cotts must go. If Sean Marshall is our situational lefty he should take that position and not be used as a starter.

    Meanwhile, both Z and Harden look hurt. Relying on two hurt pitchers has been suicidal for the Cubs in the past (Wood & Prior?) Find out what is what and get us enough starters who can actually go regularly on 4 days rest and collect quality starts.

    So much anguish after all these years. Honestly, the past two years of winning all summer and then not just losing but being so AWFUL make me realize this. The terrible 100-loss seasons could be rated as a 0. The 90-loss seasons, not much better, could be rated as a 1 or a 2. The wild card season might be a 7 or 8. The Division titles might get rated 10. Yes, that sounds good. It is not good. Winning a World Series is rated 100.

    On that scale, the worst years of my 52 seasons are not all that much worse than the best ones. Because we truly are not that much closer to the big prize. That is where we need to be.

  • Rich Beckman

    Every player on the team is expendable. And the more that are expended, the better.

    I can see an argument for not letting Soto go. But if someone will give us a single A player for Soriano, I’d take it. Ramirez, Lee, and Fukudome too (because their contracts might make them hard to move).

    It’s a sale. Everyone must go!!!!

    Everyone else should be able to be traded for roughly equal talent.

    Pie and Hoffpaur were not really members of this team, so they might be worth keeping. Some of the pitchers are probably worth keeping. Marmol, Lilly, Samardzija, and probably Zambrano.

  • Matt Jacobs

    No one is going to take on Soriano, Lee, Ramirez or Fukudome’s contracts. They’re too big, they’re back loaded, and they all have no trade clauses.

  • cubbiedude

    Rick: You are so right about Kerry Wood pitching on Thursday. My apologies. As far as your second comment, I cannot argue with any of it. You have come up with a logical and well thought out plan. Moving in that direction would not break my heart.

    Rich: I have nothing against your plan either. There are, of course, no guarantees that the new batch would be any better. But, if you wanna roll the dice, roll ’em.

  • cubbiedude

    Matt: We’ll make ’em an offer they can’t refuse!

  • 1960Cubfan

    The Cubs need to add a couple of everyday players with experience winning in the playoffs. Look at the difference Manny makes so far for the Dodgers. We have a lot of talent to win the central division, but we lack the grit to win in the playoffs, as evidenced by the collapse of the past two years. D-Lee, Aramis and Soriano are not the leaders we need. Soriano is making too much money to be traded. D-Lee is probably the most easily traded. He’s unreliable with men on base, and there is a young power hitter waiting to take his spot. The Cubs cannot advance through the playoffs in their current form. Rather than more talent, we need heart.

  • dave l

    Our #3 would hit at least .290, OBP at least .390, a minimum of 30 HR and 130 RBI.


    Do you know how many players had 130 RBI in all of MLB this year?

    Let me answer for you. Two. Let me say that again. Two. Just two players had 130 RBI in ALL of major league baseball this past season.

    D-Lee is probably the most easily traded. He’s unreliable with men on base

    Unreliable? Maybe this year, in limited plate appearances. But not in his career. Here are his numbers with runners on over his career: .284/.380/.481 OPS: .861. That would be right in line with his career overall numbers of: .282/.367/.497 OPS: .864. Shocking, being that it has been shown over and over again that there is little such thing as a “clutch” hitter.

    But go ahead and make an analysis based on a limited sample size.

    Oh wait… you didn’t even do that. 2008, with runners on: .314/.381/.442 OPS: .823, which is quite similar to his overall numbers for the year: 291/.361/.462 OPS: .823.

    Rather than more talent, we need heart.

    I have no idea what this means.

  • dave l

    Sean Dempster

    Who is Sean Dempster?

  • Matt Jacobs

    Sean Dempster is Ryan’s evil twin. I believe he pitched in game one.

  • cubbiedude

    Sean Dempster? That’s a oops. Thanks for the save, Matt.

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