Author Archive

Ron Santo finally has an heir

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Hendry scored a point today by signing Aramis Ramirez. I feel vindicated in my approach to the Musketeer’s contract negotiations — we weren’t going to hear the truth from either side, so I decided not to listen until he was signed.

But now he’s a Cub for the rest of his prime years. Yes!

In lesser news, the Cubs extended Kerry Wood’s subsidized Disabled List tour. The important part of the article above is this line:

Wood will return as a reliever, hoping to regain his arm strength after rehabbing a rotator cuff injury since August. He said in September he felt an “obligation” to return, and lived up to his word.

Two things to say:
1) A reliever. Great. They didn’t mention how much he’ll make to not pitch on consecutive days for an inning or two here and there.
2) Kerry Wood is a living embodiment of the Cubs.

  • The old Chicago White Stockings were dominant. So was Kerry Wood when he first came up.
  • The Cubs were a dominant team at the turn of the century. Wood was a dominant pitcher at the turn of the 21st century.
  • The Cubs made the playoffs and were close to the World Series many times from ’08 to ’45. Wood was in the playoffs in ’98 and ’03 and was close to the World Series in ’03.
  • The Cubs have done jack squat ever since 1945. Kerry Wood hasn’t contributed significantly since 2003.
  • The Cubs’ seasons have been cut short by injuries more than a few times. Same with Kerry Wood.
  • Through it all I have still rooted for the Cubs. I’m still rooting for Wood.

P.S. Do an image search for “disabled list” on Google. Our own Mark Prior is the top result! He’s the best!

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What I learned about today.

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

The Chicago Cubs opened the season with high hopes. In a division they knew was weak, they added a leadoff hitter and a left-handed bat. They strengthened their bench. They had a mix of young and old, with Murton and Cedeno offsetting Jones and Maddux. They had players in their prime who were offensive powerhouses in Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. They had an emerging ace in Carlos Zambrano, a solid closer in Dempster, and other pitchers like Prior, Wood, and Rusch who had good seasons for the team in the past. They had a manager who had been successful and a big payroll. 90 games, it appeared in the preseason, would have won it. They didn’t have to build the ’27 Yanks. The ’87 Twins would have been enough.

And then the season happened. Injury and bad management were the antagonists, and this movie would end up having the kind of happy ending only Bergman could devise. When the curtain closed, the hated St. Louis Cardinals took advantage of a weak division that, had the Cubs played slightly above .500 ball, they would have owned. The rival Cards back-doored into the playoffs and emerged on top of the major leagues, hoisting high the World Series trophy.

It is in this way that I discovered a new sort of religion. It is this:
Hell is being a Cubs fan.
We’re being punished for something we did a long time ago. For me, it was the pain I inflicted upon my brother James, who bore the brunt of all the misguided agression from my childhood.
My personal hell is also inflicted due to the bludgeoning-based bullying I committed as an unhappy youth upon the Loser (pronounced LOW-ZER) family, Chris and Brandy. I regularly beat them up as a child.

I apologize to the aforementioned. I have to believe something which cannot be explained by the natural laws of the universe is afoot. After seeing the Green Bay Packers beat the crap out of the Bears throughout the nineties and now watching the St. Louis Cardinals, 83 game winners and my personal baseball bane, win the series, there’s some personal crap going on ‘tween me and the universe.

I’d like to believe that it’s a management team that’s just one step behind the competition. Again. For the 98th straight year.

I’d like to believe that, in a 7 game series, the hot team, not the best team or the best matchup, wins.

But for Buddha‘s sake, I’m 35 and in the third generation of inept management! My dad was FOUR years old the last time this team was in the World Series! And I’m looking down the barrel of another gun packed with a “Win Now” manager and a short-term GM willing to sacrifice his farm system to save his job.

On this night when the team that even Cardinals fans must admit has been their crummiest in years emerges as the World Champs, that these years I’ve been enduring as a Cubs fan are penance for all the things I did wrong while I was learning what I now know.

Congrats to the Cards. I hope Chris and Brandy Loser are Cards fans.

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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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Who will it be?

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Do we get a money-first, Tribune Insider toadie or a team-first outsider willing to shake things up to install an organization-wide philosophy?


Marketing genius John McDonough, who knows a lot about making money but not a lot about steering a baseball team, is the new Prez.
His vague, but repeated, mentions of winning a World Series and mention of talking over some kind of plan, put me ill at ease. He mentioned nothing about HOW he’s going to steer the organization to success. I’m sure the Trib’s in for record profits, but I hope we’re not in for more disjointed team building.

I guess I can’t dismiss the guy before he starts his job. He deserves a chance. But this is no “hooray” moment for me. I was hoping for a Papa Smurf, but marketing guys make me think about people who wear all black and carry around cats named Azrael.

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It’s all in how you look at it.

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

It is clear that the Cubs do not have the best player at any position. Their best position players are dwarfed by Poo Holes, Howard, Cabrera, Wright, Rolen, Mauer, McCann, Posada and so on.
It is clear that the Cubs’ only standout pitcher this year, Z, will not win the Cy Young.
The Cubs’ record sucks. Today’s slaparound puts them at 59-89, 2 games better than the Kansas City Royals (and in a worse division).


Look at it this way:
Carlos Zambrano is, by far, the BEST Zambrano in the major leagues.
We have the league’s best Barrett, Theriot, Cedeno, Murton, and Pierre.
Our Ramirez is in the top 3 in the league among Ramirezes.
Our Lee is top 3 as well! Our Izturis is top 2!
Our Jones still sucks, but he’s on the list!
We have the best Marshall, Hill, Eyre, Dempster, Howry, Aardsma, Ohman, Mabry, Bynum, Coats, and Pagan.
We have the second-best Jose Reyes in MLB!
We have the market cornered on Walronds and Marmols!

Best of all, our All-DL team could kick any major league team’s butt! Prior, Wood, and Lee alone would smack anyone else down.

So hold your heads up. Isolated by last name, the Cubs are league leaders!

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