I watched the first half of the Cubs-Sox game last night. Samardzija looked good for two innings, before giving up a HR in the 3rd. I was surprised he went out to pitch the 3rd, after a long 2nd inning made longer by some iffy fielding. The best part of the game, for me, was listening to Lou’s extended interview with Len and Bob. Not much new came out of it, but I was reminded how much I like to listen to him speak. Maybe it is still a hangover from Dusty and the rest, but Lou always has a reason for his decisions (side note, I am terrible at grammar, terrible at spelling, I can’t spell decisions so badly that I have to mis-spell it 3 or 4 times before spell check can recognize what I’m on about). Right or wrong Lou’s decisions have been considered and fall into a larger idea of what he wants the Cubs to be. I take that back, Lou did give one interesting nugget, that the back up 3rd baseman was probably not on the team. Which indicates that Hendry has a Reed Johnson type move in mind.
I am not just a Cubs fan, I am a general sports fan in general. All Chicago all the time. Then, Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois, and the Big Ten in general. I really like Marquette basketball (more in a moment). And everything I know about basketball I learned listening to Al Maguire. I feel really guilty because I injured Dominic James. I did. I have a novel rotting away and based in Richmond Indiana. The other day I had a idle thought, “I can set the thing during DJ’s homecoming after wining the national championship.” This is a good idea, because it gives the book the built in shape of a returning hero contrasted with my hero’s crooked dreams, and Marquette really has a chance to make a run (still.?.). And in any case I love the way Jerel McNeal plays, smooth and strong with complete confidence. 5 minutes after having this thought I turned on the Marquette-UConn game, and 2 minutes after that I hear that James has broken his foot. I don’t believe in chance, and a small part of me died when I realized it did not matter how I held my Bears football. But James’s injury could not have been purely coincidental.
Which is all a big preamble to say, that I think some my best contribution to VFTB will be outside the realm of strict Cubdome. I ask for your indulgences. Which is convenient since I gave up moderation for lent
If you needed any, here is more proof that I have no sway over the games whatsoever. With 14 min to play, the Marquette-Pitt game is tied, I pause the DVR so the family and I can go for a walk. And when I get back, game is still tied at the 14 min mark. But everything goes to hell anyways. Shouldn’t my doing the right thing equal getting the right results?
I’ve been waiting 11 months for Marquette to make a run in the NCAA’s, quietly confident, and now it looks like that might not happen. They’re too reliant on 3’s, lose the foul battle because for some reason a center is more likely to draw a foul at the basket than a guard driving the ball. But they play smart, are unselfish, and cold blooded. I worry a little about McNeal in the wake of James’s injury. I think he’s forcing the action somewhat, trying to take over games rather than letting his talent explode naturally. And anyone who watched last years tournament knows his talent explodes naturally. He’s not Dwayne Wade, he doesn’t have his hops, but I’d want him on my team.
Starting over from scratch, with the whole league available, what Cub player do I have to have on my team? Obviously I’d like the guy closest to perfection, but as A-Roid proves the best player might not be the best fit. For different reasons I feel that way about Ramirez, his numbers are great, but he doesn’t seem to lead. I think Big Z is often unfairly criticized, but I also fear the miles he’s logged on his arm. Maybe it is Marmol. I think he will close and close well, because he accomplished something last year: struggled and lost himself and then regain his form without losing his confidence, that is vital for a closer. But the fact is, he’s never done it. He has never closed, and as the Cubs have proved repeatedly, promotion to an untried position often meets with diminishing returns (see Mike Fontenot) Can I start a team with an unproven closer, whose maybe no more than a set-up man? Nonetheless he’s been the glue of these last two bullpens and I think he’s my guy from this team.
What does that say about the Cubs? Maybe, they are more than the sum of their parts. Maybe, that Lou knows how to manage and motivate his players. The other interesting thing Lou said yesterday was that he thought this roster was more athletic and gave him more of an opportunity to rest players than the last 2 years. We’ll see when the red meat hits the rug if he really rests Lee and Ramirez and Soriano and Theriot. If he’s right, my prediction yesterday of 86 games is low. And shouldn’t we be more comfortable believing him than me.