What’s up, Cubs fans? Ha, it’s too bad there’s nothing going on with the team right now. Nope. No one is talking about the Cubs on the Interwebs or the radio today. Nothing to see here. Moving along, folks.

Editorial: Aw, who am I fooling? The Cubsosphere is thick with the volcanic ash spewing forth from yesterday’s announcement that Carlos Zambrano would go to the bullpen. And as well it should be. In my opinion, this is a strange and desperate act by a team with a long, long, long history of strange and desperate acts. Like many others, I don’t like the decision. In fact, I’ve been taking the move awfully personally – so much so that it actually dampened my enjoyment of yesterday’s 9-3 smackdown of the New York Mets.

I mean, just when I thought the Cubs were truly establishing themselves as a 21st Century team, they do something so completely illogical and contradictory to common baseball intelligence that I wonder whether we’re back in the 1960s greeting the arrival of the College of Coaches. Simply put, you don’t take a guy capable of throwing 180-200 innings with decent to good results and sit him in the bullpen. It’s just a terrible waste of resources. And, believe me, every other team that was likely to face Big Z as a starter is celebrating the fact that they now won’t have to.

What’s more, to make this move in April is not only a demotion for Carlos (who really hasn’t pitched badly at all aside from the Opening Day debacle), but also a strike against the confidence of any of the guys in the pen who were desperately trying to establish themselves. I know Justin Berg and Jeff Gray aren’t likely to set the world afire anytime soon, but these guys are ground ball pitchers who, if allowed to throw their game, could very well end up doing what Z is supposed to do without hurting the Cubs (so-far-excellent) rotation.

Having said all that, I realize that this may well be a temporary thing. Who knows, maybe Carlos goes down there, adds some stability to the whole confusing mess and helps the Cubs claim a few of these quite winnable series coming up. And maybe he does all that until Carlos Silva turns back into a pumpkin, opening the door to Z’s reentry into the rotation.

But, as mentioned up front, this is an odd, disturbing, risky move that does not reflect well on an organization that’s presumably trying to exude some confidence and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the here and now. If it works, Lou will look like a genius. If it doesn’t, we’ll be reading about “Carlos Zambrano, set-up guy” along with the P.K. Wrigley’s sports psychologist and Crane Kenney’s sprinkle-happy postseason priest in forthcoming historical volumes on our beloved Chicago Cubs.

And now, on the with the news. Here are seven stories* that don’t begin with Z:

1. Did Braden Looper force Lou’s hand?  We learned yesterday that former Brewers starter Braden Looper, who was flat-out awful last season (-0.9 WAR), threw for Cubs scouts. Although the Loop claims to be game ready, the Cubs apparently weren’t impressed by what they say. Carrie Muskat tweeted “…don’t expect a signing.” My question is: Was the scouting report on Looper so bad that it pushed Lou over the edge into making the Z decision?

2. Kevin Millar lands on his feet – and in a TV studio.  You can’t keep a good idiot down, as the (off-the-field) star of the Cubs 2010 spring training has accepted a job with MLB Network. I guess Mitch Williams can’t be expected to provide all of the comic relief.

3. X gets a ring.  Ever fantasize about a Cubs player getting a World Series ring? Well, that happened yesterday (Wednesday) as Yankees GM Brian Cashman travelled to Citi Field just to give Xavier Nady his 2009 World Series ring. Sure, X played in only seven games for the Yanks before going down with that much-discussed elbow surgery. But, hey, congrats to him.

4. BREAKING: Football will return to Wrigley this fall.  This story just hit the news. The Northwestern Wildcats and Fighting Illini will play a football game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 20. A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) with all the details.

5. How many stars would you give Wrigley Field?  Two, three-and-a-half, four? Stadium Journey is a Web site that reviews sports venues of all shapes and sizes. Check out their fun-to-read look at the Friendly Confines.

6. Get in on the ground floor of a new social media site.  Could you identify a Cubs fan or Sox fan on sight? Y’know, assuming they weren’t wearing any identifying garb? That’s the premise of Eight Bit Studios forthcoming foray into social media. Click on that link to be one of the first fans to submit a photo and we’ll see just how Cubbish (or, gasp, Soxxish) you just might appear.

7. Ha ha – you shall not escape me so easily! You thought you’d gotten through an “In the News” post without nary a mention of a sign. But I’ve gotten you again! The owners of Wrigleyville’s rooftops have posted a silly YouTube video protesting the impending Toyota sign. You can read all about it – and watch the video – at the link posted.


*Reddish text = hyperlinks.

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