View From The Bleachers

July 18, 2006

Media Microscope: Phil Rogers

Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 10:56 pm

I will admit upfront to not being the biggest Phil Rogers fan. But I usually read his columns, because he’s the Tribune’s baseball writer, and I often get the feeling that his column is used by the TribCo as a trial balloon for various moves the Cubs might make. For instance, in my mind, it isn’t out of the question that Andy McPhail called Phil up the other day and asked him to write about what a good idea it would be to extend Dusty Baker’s contract.. While I’m sure in reality Phil thought of this by himself, a Cubs mandate might explain Phil’s feeble reasons for supporting an extension for Dusty. For one thing Phil says:

Baker offers you one thing you’re not going to get anywhere else stability. The greatest failing of the Cubs in the Tribune Co. era is the tendency to make knee-jerk decisions, never sticking to a course. Jim Riggleman is the only Cubs manager since Leo Durocher to last even five years. Why not give Baker six and see what happens?

Yeah! Stability! That seems like a good reason for keeping a manager. I mean, a stable organization is a winning one, right? Well, it turns out that stability argument is one of those that sounds right, but it doesn’t really hold up against things like facts. Let’s look at the managers of the World Series Champions for each of the last 10 years, and the number of years they had been with their team when they won:

2005: Ozzie Guillen, 2nd year
2004: Terry Francona, 1st year
2003: Jack McKeon, hired midseason
2002: Mike Scoscia, 3rd year
2001: Bob Brenly, 1st year
1998-2000: Joe Torre, 3rd through 5th years
1997: Jim Leyland, 1st year
1996: Joe Torre, 1st year

So much for stability. Joe Torre is the only manager in the last 10 years to have been with a team for more than 3 years and won the World Series, and that was while managing a baseball dynasty. We can also use this list to address Phil’s other reason for keeping Dusty:

Try as I might to come up with a better alternative to Baker, I’ve failed. You could grow with a Joe Girardi, but the Florida Marlins aren’t letting him go without Carlos Zambrano or Mark Prior as compensation. Lou Piniella would buy you good press and might catch some lightning in a bottle, but he’s not a long-haul guy. An unsung choice like Razor Shines, the White Sox’s Triple-A manager, could work wonders or be eaten alive.

He can’t think of anyone better than Dusty to manage the Cubs? Really? All the other good managers are taken? Or is it possible that there’s somebody out there who deserves another chance, or maybe their first shot? Looking at our list of managers, only Jim Leyland was hailed as an important hire at the time. Torre was coming off a sub-par stretch with the Cardinals, Mike Scoscia was considered solid, but he’d never managed in the big leagues before taking over the Angels. Brenly was yanked out of the broadcast booth and given the helm, McKeon was considered an over-the-hill baseball lifer, who was going to be a placeholder until 2004. Terry Francona was welcomed by Boston simply because he wasn’t Grady Little, and Sox fans widely believed that Ozzie Guillen had been forced on GM Kenny Williams by Jerry Reinsdorf as a way to keep costs down. So a manager can come from just about anywhere, and if the Cubs can’t sift through the minor league ranks, major league coaches and ex-mangers looking to get back in the game, then maybe they’re in the wrong business.

We’re not done with Phil Rogers yet though, because next he turns his pen to the next order of business: rebuilding the team for 2007. First the budget:

Hendry should have $30 million to reshape his roster for 2007.

Fine, so what should we do with that money? First, left field:

The likely free agents include Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Cliff Floyd, a left-handed hitter who would offer balance and come cheaper than Lee or Soriano.

Probably a good idea, the Cubs should definitely pass up two younger, healthier (more expensive) players and sign Floyd, a guy on the wrong side of 30 with a history of injury problems. Hendry can spend he money he saves on a front line starter, right?

Get Prior healthy. Invest most of the remaining flexibility in a top-of-the-line starter maybe not Barry Zito, but someone very solid, and then sign one or two bargain arms to round out a rotation that includes Carlos Zambrano and Sean Marshall.

Yeah, I guess it’s not such a bad idea to keep depending on bargain bin pitchers, I mean we got a good year out of Glendon Rusch back in 2004, and that Wade Miller signing sure paid dividends. Plus, we’ll need to replace Todd Walker. We’ll need an impact guy too, since Ronny Cedeno’s offense is so bad.

Mark Loretta tops the free-agent wish list, followed by Adam Kennedy and Ronnie Belliard

Signing Loretta at this point seems like a gamble, since he’ll be 35 next year. Belliard is a good hitter, but still doesn’t have a high enough OBP and Kennedy isn’t good enough. Oh, and none of these guys can hit leadoff, which we’ll need with Felix Pie in CF next year, right?

Offer Juan Pierre a low, one-year deal to stay and re-establish his maximum value as a free agent. If Pierre leaves, find a one-year Plan B. Felix Pie is going to be a force but might not be ready until next July.

I’m sensing a theme here. And it’s the same old song from the Tribune. Stay the course with the manager. Ignore all the impact(expensive) free agents, sign some middle of the road veterans, hope that Mark Prior is healthy and bingo! Instant contender!

Just like the last two years.

Update from Mastrick: I don’t know what Phil’s been smokin’ but I want some. I’ll betcha I know what Harry Caray would have said if he’d read this article!

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July 11, 2006

Mid-Term Grades

Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 11:27 pm

Here are my mid-term grades for the Cubs:

Michael Barret: A-, the minus is for his defense (still can’t throw runners out)
Henry Blanco: C, picked up his offense when Barrett was out, still plays good defense.

Derrek Lee: Incomplete, just needs to work on getting his strength and timing back for next year.
Todd Walker: B-, still a .290 hitter but his power has disappeared, defense has been good enough at both 1st & 2nd.
Ronny Cedeno: D+, doesn’t hit or field well, other than that he’s great.
Aramis Ramirez: D-, his numbers may recover in the 2nd half, but he was terrible when the Cubs needed him most, and his lack of hustle is appalling. His improved defense keeps me from failing him.
Neifi Perez: D+, still playing too often. Seems to have lost a step on defense.

Juan Pierre: D+, like Aramis, he’s rebounding now that it doesn’t matter.
Jacque Jones: B+, biggest surprise of the season, but I can’t give a guy who’s so terrible fundamentally an “A”.
Matt Murton: C-, Murton needs coaching badly. He’s lost in the field, but has at least maintained his plate patience somewhat.

Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano: A, lone All-Star recovered quickly from a tough start.
Greg Maddux: C-, running on fumes, but still running.
Sean Marshall: C+, he’s done better than expected. Cubs need to monitor his workload in the 2nd half.
Carlos Marmol: C+, reminds me of a lot of Cubs pitching prospects, flashes of brilliance combined with frustrating walks.
Glendon Rusch: F, the lightning is out of the bottle.
Kerry Wood: Incomplete, career my be in jeapordy.
Mark Prior: Incomplete, should be placed on 60 day DL to preserve service time immediately.

Relief Pitchers
Ryan Dempster: C-, went in the tank after setting save record.
Scott Eyre: A-, he’s gotten the job done.
Bobby Howry: B+, he’s been slipping as of late.
Roberto Novoa: D, never met a deficit he couldn’t increase. Needs to be taken away from Dusty.
Scott Williamson: C+, he’s right about Dusty playing favorites (see Novoa) but he hasn’t exactly lit it up.
Angel Guzman: C-, electric stuff, no control.
Will Ohman: C, he seems worse to me than his numbers indicate.

John Mabry: F, this year’s Troy O’Leary.
Phil Nevin: C-, aquired 6 weeks too late, Dusty didn’t start playing him for another 10 days. Needs to be traded.
Angel Pagan: C+, the Cubs have managed to find another 4th outfielder. Now they just need a 2 and a 3.
Freddy Bynum: D+, slightly better than Jose Macias. Should NOT be platooning with Murton.

Not graded: Jerry Hairston, David Aardsma, Jerome Williams, Mike Wuertz, J Ryu, Tony Womack, Michael Restovich, Ryan Theriot

Manager and Coaches
Dusty Baker: F, no, the team’s record is not all his fault, but Baker has not done a good job with the facets of the game that are under his control. Constant double switches, batting low OBP players high in the order, whining in the press, not holding his players accountable. Dusty now seems more interested in deflecting blame than anything else. I can’t give him anything but a failing grade.

Gene Clines: F, team is near the bottom of MLB in almost every offensive category.

Larry Rothschild: F, pitchers on pace to issue most walks in Cubs history.

Upper Management
Jim Hendry: F. The Eyre and Howry acquisitions were good, but the bullpen is no better as a whole. Criminally ignored the starting rotation, counting on Kerry Wood (out for the season) Mark Prior (out for the season) and Wade Miller (may be released) to give the Cubs innings. The offense is terrible, as the Cubs got faster, but have little power and terrible on-base skills. He also is wrongly allowing Baker to twist in the wind. Fire Dusty and be done with it.

Andy McPhail: F, Extended Hendry based on two good weeks in April. Has not stepped in to fill the leadership void.

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July 9, 2006

Behind Enemy Lines

Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 11:02 pm

So, the Cubs improbably won their 3rd game in a row today, and even more improbably, they did it behind 5 decent ininngs from Glendon Rusch, and an 11 run offensive explosion. But first I’m going to talk about yesterday’s game, or game experience to be specific. Thanks to a good friend of mine, I was able to attend Saturday night’s game at Miller Park. So here are my thoughts on the park 90 miles to our north:

The Good:
The Seats: We sat in the the upper deck near the right field foul pole, but we could see everything perfectly, except for the RF corner.

Parking: The entire stadium is ringed by a huge parking lot, and we had no problem finding a spot 30 minutes before game time. A big change from Wrigley, where parking is near the field is always an adventure, and tailgating is virtually unheard of.

The Food: The food was pretty good, and there was a good selection of grilled sausages (what else would you expect from Milwaukee?). The prices are pretty high though.

The Fans: Lots of Cubs fans. Makes me wonder what it might have been like if the Cubs were actually in contention.

The Bad:
Parking: the bad part about one giant parking lot? Well, when everybody leaves at once, you’ve got one giant traffic jam.

The Fans: we actually we talked to more White Sox fans at the game than Brewers fans. The stadium people were passing out yellow shirts that said “Take Back Miller Park”. It doesn’t bother me too much, but it’d be nice if the Brewers had a little more support. They’ve got a decent team this year, and have the potential to be a lot better.

Beer: nothing is actually wrong with the beers, but it’s served in plastic bottles. That just seems like tempting fate, especially considering what happened at Wrigley during the White Sox series.

The Ugly:
The disctractions: Evidentally, the Brewers organization feels that watching a baseball game is nowhere near enough entertainment for the fans. I do not need to have my senses constantly assaulted by video boards, loud music, and interviews with fans from the crowd. Also, many of the Brewers fans would cheer only when instructed to by the scoreboard. That’s just something I find weird.

The Brewers Uniforms: Actually, I don’t think Milwaukee’s uniforms are that terrible, they’re just bland. The old version with the baseball mitt on the hat were far superior, and there many more fans wearing that jersey than the current one.

So those were my impressions of Miller Park. Overall a good game experience, enhanced by a Cubs win.

Cubs News:
Mark Prior has a strained oblique muscle. I look forward to hearing Dusty complain about not having his team, as both of his “horses” are injured again. I also look forward to another spirited discussion in the local media on whether a “strain” and a “tear” are the same thing.

What the hell is our training staff doing, anyway?

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June 27, 2006

Cubs Quiz

Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 10:30 pm

Instead of actually writing something constructive about the Cubs, I’ve decided instead to give our readers this quiz to take.
Each answer has a point value:
A – 0 points
B – 1 points
C – 2 points
D – 3 points
E – 4 points

1. Cubs fans are:
A – extremely loyal
B – extremely drunk
C – getting fed up
D – apathetic
E – part of the problem

2. Jacque Jones is:
A – a steal!
B – a .300 hitter
C – the only option for right field
D – there’s still a chance he can be traded, right?
E – par for the course

3. Matt Murton:
A – should be benched
B – should be platooned
C – has red hair
D – needs at-bats
E – won’t be here next year

4. Neifi Perez is:
A – a number 2 hitter
B – a gold glove defender
C – a decent bench player
D – taking up a valuable roster spot
E – blackmailing Dusty Baker

5. Jim Hendry’s contract extension was:
A – a good move
B – a necessary evil
C – possibly premature
D – a big mistake
E – highway robbery

6. In 2007, the Cubs will be managed by:
A – Dusty Baker
B – Joe Girardi
C – Bob Brenly
D – somebody new
E – the college of coaches

7. Carlos Zambrano:
A – needs to control his emotions
B – needs to let his emotions control him
C – will toss a 163 pitch no-hitter
D – is the only thing worth watching on this team
E – is the 6th best hitter on the team

8. Derrek Lee’s wrist injury:
A – definitely cost us the Pennant
B – probably cost us the Division
C – may have cost us the Wild Card
D – cost us two extra weeks of contending baseball
E – probably hasn’t healed correctly

9. The Phil Nevin trade:
A – was a stroke of genius
B – didn’t cost anything
C – was about 6 weeks too late
D – will cost Matt Murton his job
E – Phil Nevin is still in the league?

10. The 2006 Chicago Cubs need to:
A – look to the 2005 Houston Astros for inspiration
B – get everyone back healthy
C – trade for a superstar player
D – blow up the team – trade everybody
E – blow up the team – collect the insurance money


40 – 31 points: You are the angriest Cub fan possible. You’re angry at everyone from Andy McPhail to the fans that continue to attend games. Heads need to roll, and fans need to stay away.

30 – 21 points: The team stinks, and you know it. If somebody offered you a free ticket, and you had nothing better to do, you’d still go a game and heckle every Cub player or coach that got within earshot.

20 – 11 points: You know the team is bad, but you still love the Cubs too much to go cold turkey. You still find yourself shouting at the TV when Dusty Baker makes another tactical blunder, despite the fact that it means nothing.

10 – 5 points: You are still kidding yourself if you think this team has any hope. Please, seek help.

5 – 0 points: You are one of the following: Andy McPhail, Jim Hendry, Dusty Baker.

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June 18, 2006


Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 9:11 pm

Here’s something from the Tribune today that made me mad:

The Cubs are unlikely to eat Glendon Rusch’s contract, which runs through 2007 and has more than $3 million left on it.

Why would that make me mad? I mean, sure Rusch gives up more runs per game than the Bears defense gave up points, but still, you can’t expect a multi-million dollar organization like the Cubs (which is backed by a multi-billion dollar corporation) to simply cut it’s losses on a $3 million dollar contract, right?

the Diamondbacks designated (Russ) Ortiz for assignment. They are preparing to pay him the remaining $22.5 million on the four-year, $33.5 million deal they gave him after the 2004 season.

This was also in the Tribune, in Phil Rogers column. Rogers goes on to mock Arizona’s management crew for their free agent spending prior to the 2005 season, when they acquired Ortiz, Javier Vasquez, Troy Glaus, Royce Clayton and Craig Counsell. Of this group, only Counsell remains with the team. I’m not sure what Rogers point is here. Did the Diamondbacks make some dumb moves, yes. But the fact that they’ve recognized that the moves were bad and taken steps to correct them is part of the reason why they sit only 1 game out of first place in the (admittedly bad)NL West.

Meanwhile, the Cubs assure us that they can win by staying the course, waiting for Lee, Wood, Miller and Prior to return to the lineup and to pre-injury form. Maybe somebody should explain the concept of “Plan B” to Jim Hendry and co.

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June 13, 2006

It’s Okay to Fire Dusty (really!)

Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 9:22 pm

There appears to be some sentiment going around that the Cubs shouldn’t fire Dusty Baker. Convential wisdom says that Baker’s contract extension was done the same day as Jim Hendry’s, and that the team is simply waiting for a hot streak(good luck!) to announce it. Jim Hendry’s public stance is that Baker should get a chance to manage the team when all the injured players are back in place.


Look, I’ll be the first to admit that blame for this year’s disaster is mostly on the head of Hendry. But Baker hasn’t shown that he’s gotten any better at managing. Batting Neifi Perez 2nd in the order, rarely playing Phil Nevin (on a team that is in desperate need of power), bizarre double switches, and of course, refusing to hold his players accountable these are all things we’ve seen before from Dusty and are seeing again this year. So let’s say that the best case scenario is that Prior, Wood, Miller and Lee come off the DL, and the team finishes .500 and in 3rd place in the NL Central. What would that prove? Managing this team means nothing now, in part because of these guys:

Kerry Wood
Phil Nevin
Juan Pierre
Todd Walker
Greg Maddux
Tony Womack
Wade Miller

I figure that none of this bunch will be back on the team next year, and it’s quite possible that Neifi and Glendon Rusch won’t be here either. Now most of us say “good riddance” to a lot of these guys, but looking at it them, the Cubs will have to fill 2 or 3 spots in their rotation, along with 2nd base and CF(one of which will have to be a leadoff hitter) in the offseason. For the Cubs to have any hope of contention next year, at least 2 of these positions will need to be filled by impact players, which means that Jim Hendry will have to sign some big time free agents. Think he can do that?

Fire Dusty Baker. Really it’s time. The Cubs need to be blown up, and I don’t think that Baker is the guy to manage the team through the rebuilding phase. The interim manager can be whoever they want. As long as he understands the following:

1. He is NOT beholden to the veterans in the clubhouse. They are not going to get him installed permanently. Which is important because
2. He IS going to play the young players.

What young players? The young players who are coming up to replace guys like Rusch, Perez, Womack, Nevin and Pierre when they are either traded or DFA’d. Guys like Ryan Theriot, Buck Coats and Mike Fontenot. Guys who the Cubs need to find out about, once and for all. Hell, call up Les Walrond and give him a start, if only to show the other guys on the minor league roster that if you do produce and play hard, you will be rewarded. Meanwhile, Jim Hendry should be listening to offers for everybody. Lee and Zambrano are the closest things to untouchable, but not even they should be off limits.

And while this is going on, Jim Hendry can begin his search for a manager. Maybe the guy he finds will be worse than Dusty Baker. But I doubt it.

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June 5, 2006

Cubs 8, Astros 0

Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 9:22 pm

Just when I thought you couldn’t get any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself.

–Harry Dunne
Dumb and Dumber

Wow. Now that was the Carlos Zambrano we all know and love. For those who haven’t seen or heard, Carlos was dealing tonight, pitching 8 innings, striking out 8 and walking only two. He took a no-hitter into the 8th inning before Preston Wilson hit an opposite field single to break it up. Zambrano was especially dominant early in the game, and it makes me wonder if things might have turned out differently had home plate umpire Kerwin Danley not left the game in the 4th inning with an injury.

Anything else? Oh yeah, how about a 3 run homer and 4 total RBI for Carlos? Zambrano was truly a one man gang tonight, but the rest of the Cubs pitched in and at least matched his offensive effort. Ronny Cedeno extended his hitting streak to 10 games, with 2 hits, including a triple. Jacque Jones continued his hot hitting as well, with a home run and 2 RBI.

It was definitely a nice game to see, one the Cubs controlled from the start with the only drama being Zambrano’s no hit bid. We could definitely stand to see a few more like this. Anyway, the Cubs are now 3-1 on the trip, and should be 4-0. This is no time for patting themselves on the back though. They’ve got a long way to go to even get to .500. Got to keep rolling.

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June 2, 2006

Cubs 5, Cardinals 4

Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 11:23 pm

That’s it, I’m tired. I tried, really I did, to stay up and watch this game until the end, but I couldn’t. I need to get up early on Saturday and what I’m going to say will be applicable win or lose, so I’ll just update the score and flag graphic later.

This game is in the 14th inning. But it doesn’t have to be. The Cubs made so many fundamental errors tonight that it’s ridiculous. Only by the grace of the obligatory 9th inning rally did they manage to get into extras. If there is a stat for failed sacrifice bunts, the Cubs would lead the league in it. I’m betting that their manager will tell us that this was somehow due to the guys not being used to bunting in a brand new stadium or some nonsense. And even if Dusty doesn’t come up with some sort of cockamamie excuse, I doubt that he’ll follow the example of certain other managers and hold a mandatory bunting practice.

A few observations from tonight’s as yet unfinished game:

I mentioned the bunting above, but Sean Marshall in particular failed 3 times to get down a sacrifice. You’re in the big leagues now, Sean, you’ve got to be able to do that.

Jacque Jones may prove us wrong yet. He’s the hottest hitter on the team right now.

I like Scott Eyre. For one thing, he’s fat, and you have to like that. For another, Eyre could teach a guy like Carlos Zambrano how to interact with his fielders. In the 10th inning, with men on 1st and 2nd, and two out, Aramis Ramirez made a good diving stop to keep a ball in the infield, but his throw pulled Walker off the bag, resulting in the bases being loaded. Ramirez was obviously upset with himself, and Eyre made sure to get Ramirez’s attention and assure him that he had made a terrific play, even if it didn’t result in an out. The next hitter lined out to Aramis, who handled it easily.

John Mabry just made one of the ugliest diving catches I’ve seen in a while to rob Yadamir Molina of a double.

Speaking of Molina, why are people(in St. Louis) raving about this guy? He’s a terrific defender to be sure, but he’s hitting .176. As far as I’m concerned, the he’s Henry Blanco Jr..

Somebody asked me today what the Cubs need to do to have a successful road trip. Considering the Cubs brass think they’re still in this thing, only one result can be considered “good”. The Cubs must go 10-0 on the trip. All 10 games are against divisional foes, and they can’t afford to give up even one. To even entertain thoughts of contending, they need to rip through this part of the schedule like General Sherman through Georgia. While it’s crazy to think they can do it, worse teams than this have put together longer winning streaks than that (Tampa Bay’s 15 game streak of a couple years ago comes to mind). Of course, a 10 game streak would only take them to 2 games under .500 and probably 3rd place, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The real point is, it’s early June, and the Cubs need to win 10 straight games to even get within spitting distance of 2nd place. That is not a good situation to be in.

While I was typing all this, Neifi Perez finally got down a sacrifice bunt, the Cubs pushed across a run, and Ryan Dempster finished the game off to earn his first win of the season.

Guess we can change the graphic:

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May 26, 2006


Filed under: General — Chris Troha @ 9:22 pm

It’s embarrassing.

–Ron Santo during the 9th inning of Friday’s game

Ronnie may not be a great color announcer, but he described today’s ninth inning to a tee. For those who don’t know, Ryan Dempster came on in the ninth to protect a 2 run lead. 2 singles and 2 walks later, it was 5-4 with 1out and Andruw Jones at the plate. Andruw lofted a deep flyball to our own Jacque Jones, who caught it and actually got the relay in the vicinity of cutoff man Neifi Perez, as Brayan Pena scored the tying run. But Neifi failed to handle the throw, so Marcus Giles raced around third and scored when Perez’s throw to home was 10 feet over Barrett’s head. It was the first time I’ve ever heard of 2 runs scoring on a sacrifice fly. And the strange part is, Santo called the Cubs effort embarrassing BEFORE this all happened.

This team is lousy. There’s really nothing more to say about them. If Dusty Baker can ever engineer a 5 game winning streak, he’ll get an extension, but right now the Cubs don’t even look capable of that. The front office needs to go. I know I’ve been harping on Dusty Baker since last season, but today just provided me with more fodder. It’s bad enough that Perez was batting 2nd today, but with the team down 1 run in the bottom of the ninth, Dusty let Neifi hit for himself. That’s right, Neifi, he of .221OBP, the guy who was charged with 2 errors on the play that allowed the Braves to go ahead in the first place was allowed to bat, despite the fact that Matt Murton and Jerry Hairston were still both on the bench (Tony Womack may have been there too). Jim Hendry remains sequestered in an undisclosed location, emerging occasionally to tell us that he’s working hard on a trade, but that nobody will make a trade this early in the season (meanwhile, the Mets made two separate deals for starting pitchers). Finally, Andy McPhail assures us all that he will do everything in his power to make sure that he brings the Mackinac Cup* to Tribune Tower. Actually, that’s not fair. Andy McPhail just wants to remind us that the Astros started the season 15-30 last year and went to the World Series, so obviously the Cubs are following that same blueprint. Except instead of Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt all throwing 200 innings each, the Cubs will have Mark Prior, Wade Miller and Kerry Wood throw 200 innings combined.

So please, if you’re still entertaining thoughts that the Cubs are somehow “in it” don’t write me an angry e-mail or comment about how a true fan of the team shouldn’t give up. A true fan of baseball should recognize the crap we’ve been handed and realize that this team is an embarrassment. You know what’s really sad about this whole thing? There are 3 other baseball teams close by, the White Sox, the Cardinals and the Brewers. Now, I can’t bring myself to root for any of those teams, but I have been watching them, and they are all playing exciting baseball. They all have talented yet selfless players, who are fundamentally sound, who hustle, and who seem to have legitimate fun when they step between the white lines. I don’t see this with the Cubs, and it’s a damn shame, because as fans of the game of baseball, we deserve better from this team.

* for those who don’t know, the Mackinac Cup is the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual yacht race from Chicago to Mackinac Island

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