Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Get Used to Disappointment

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

There is a scene in The Princess Bride (which is full of great quotes) where Inigo and Wesley (who, to Inigo, is simply “the man in black”) are having a sword fight and some very snappy banter. At one point, Inigo can’t stand it and, well, it goes like this

Inigo Montoya: Who are you?
Man in Black: No one of consequence.
Inigo Montoya: I must know…
Man in Black: Get used to disappointment.
Inigo Montoya: ‘kay.

I’m telling you the same message today, and I hope you take it as well. Get used to disappointment.

I KNOW this team has shown flashes of greatness this season. I KNOW we all have incredibly high hopes for this 2016 team – that they can finally win it all. I KNOW their record is outstanding. I KNOW we probably all WANT it more than any other fan base. But…

I also KNOW that this team has a number of weaknesses, and they are not the kind that you can overlook in the playoffs, rather, they are the kind that are exposed in the playoffs.

Weakness number one – inability to hold the lead. Even with Harold Chapman – who we possibly dramatically overpaid for – they haven’t held a lead in what seems like weeks. That adds such pressure to the starting staff, who doesn’t need added pressure. Now, if Chapman  can ramp it up, and if Strop and Rondon return healthy and productive…sure, that bullpen might get it done. At the moment, however, I’m not feeling real good about it.

Weakness number two – not a great clutch hitting team. Too many guys you don’t have to throw a strike to – ever – to get out. Too many guys who refuse to consider the situation (I do like that Contreras is willing to lay down a bunt in a “need baserunners” situation) As a team, the offensive patience appears to wear off as the games goes on. In my head, I keep thinking that with maturity that will change…but will it? Your guess is as good as mine.

The playoffs are when it is most important to be able to grind out a run and hold the lead. Wait. What? Our two greatest weaknesses are two key success elements in the playoffs? Yup. Of course, the starting pitching is also critical and so is scoring runs early and often…but teams are so evenly matched in the postseason that it’s the little things that matter. The little things are the Cubs’ weakness right now. I’m just saying – Get used to disappointment. It’s not like you shouldn’t be. You don’t fail 108 years in a row without some degree of normalcy developing FROM the failure. This is not a knee-jerk post – I’ve been watching this team all year and the pattern is undeniable. I hope they can change it. I hope the bullpen can get hot at the right time of the postseason. I hope they can score so many runs that it doesn’t matter. But remember, everyone else will be throwing their Aces, too.  I personally think the Cubs will win the World Series – just not this year. I think they will win several in the next 5 or 6 years…two and maybe even three…but 2016 isn’t going to be one of those unless some dramatic change takes place.

Hey – good luck to all of us…but if you are, in your heart of hearts, really BELIEVING that this team is going to win the WS this year? Get used to disappointment, my friends.

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GirlieView (08/18/2016)

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely, and/or interesting quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2016 Season = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.


  • Caffeine became “OK” when an interest in Alberston’s supermarkets was acquired. Everyone should have some flexible morals.
  • Hammel looked pissed when he was given the hook. Minutes later during the Strop experience I was too.
  • and Snoop dogg gets the error..
  • The fact that you like someone (anyone) in the 2 hole is probably better left unspoken.
  • I go back and forth on my feelings on Soler.
  • If Hendricks keeps this up, I would make him my # 1 starter in the playoffs. He’s better than Lester and Arietta as of late – go with the roll.
  • I feel very fortunate to have seen Ichiro play live as often as I did.
  • Dan Historn was a promising young pitcher in the Mets system, actually. His career was tragically cut short by a near fatal case of genital warts.
  • You guessed it folks, Cindy Sandberg.
  • Why not stop pouting, put the time in, and then be part of something special this season.
  • Completely agree on LaStella. Take a pill, apologize and get your ass to Iowa. As Joe says, there’s something special happening, be a part of it.
  • I keep reminding myself these pro sports guys are used to being pampered and babied along their whole lives. He probably doesn’t really know any other way than to pout.
  • LaStella thinks he is too good for Triple A and he’s not, given his place in the organization. That’s a problem.
  • LaStella failed to take into account that if someone gets injured he would have been the first one called up.
  • Was yesterday a day off? I thought there might be a recap today.
  • Sherm’s in China and we don’t know where Joe is.
  • Did you see Molina’s reaction on the cut to home on Coghlan’s RBI single? Molina was visibly upset. It was very entertaining.
  • Before the game, we got the results of the MRI on Pedro Strop and it looks like a meniscus tear that will put him on the shelf for 4-6 weeks, unless he channels his inner Derrek Rose, in which case he’ll never be right again.
  • Cubs are getting better and the Cardinals are falling into a sloppy mess. Bushmills on me!
  • Tony LaRussa must be rolling over on the floor of his Diamondback office watching these Cardinals make physical and mental errors day after day, it is just so enjoyable.
  • With Strop going down for 4-6 weeks all the more reason to look at Lackey as a bullpen guy in the playoffs if Strop doesn’t return to form, or maybe even he Strop does return to form since his form is mis shaped.
  • The Matheny way. Such garbage. Actually, I don’t mind Coghlan getting hit. Might be a way for the Cubs to put him on the 90 day DL and be done with him.
  • They won’t be happy with the tossed greens. They want red meat.
  • Julius
  • Obviously, I’m not seeing the games – the Olympics are on 24/7 though and apparently China is the only country participating.
  • KFC everywhere but I question the “C”
  • All of a sudden, our bullpen kind of stinks.
  • No man can be that stupid and selfish to just give up a chance to be part of perhaps the greatest sports story ever because he didn’t want to spend a couple weeks in Iowa, right? Right?
  • LaStella is having an ego meltdown. He thinks he is too good for 3A. He’s not. At least not on this team, the one he professes to want to be with. He’s got to grow up, eat some crow and report.
  • Aroldis Chapman – no first names
  • He used to be Harold Chapman, but Harold wasn’t scaring anyone.
  • Basically, the guy knows what he’s doing and so there are probably reasons these guys are hitting where they are beyond the stat lines off of which we base our arguments.
  • I’ll be one who looks a lot like my avatar, sans the geometrically shaped pie-hole.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday just look for the guy wrapped in bubble wrap – that’ll be Raker making Sue proud.
  • I have a ticket for Sue, haven’t heard back from her as of yet.
  • I thought we should just paint big blue letters on our bare chests – V – F – T – B, but then we’d have to remember to stand in the right order and it would become difficult. By time they showed us, it would be four guys with BFTV and that doesn’t sound right for a handful of reasons.
  • I know Kris Bryant is in the running and leads in WAR, but my MVP vote goes to Rizzo.
  • As great as Bryant is, Rizzo is the cornerstone of this team. If you’ve got to pick one, I vote Rizzo. That said, they go together like sham-a-lam-a ding-id-de-ding-de-dong. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen two guys who just seem to belong on the same team like they do.


  • they all count.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to New Guy for his first 2016 Regular Season Lizzie! Thanks for being here!


  • Congratulations to Sherm, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Even from China you’ve still got it!

Top 10 of the 2016 Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Sherm
2. Doc Raker
3. Eddie von White
4. Doug S
4. Seymour Butts
6. jswanson
7. Joe Aiello
8. Brad Lyerla
8. cap’n realist
10. Dork

Chit Chat

  • On M-Tu-W of next week a handful of our VFTB’ers will be meeting at the Cubs games in San Diego for some fun and fellowship. Safe travels, boys! What happens in San Diego stays in San Diego unless someone wants to send us some stories. Heh. Regardless, HAVE FUN!!!
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An Easy Win

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Brewers 1 @ Cubs 6 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

I like games like last night. You can watch and kind of half way pay attention while you’re working on other things. For me, that meant working on actual work stuff while I watched the Cubs jump out to an early five run lead and never look back. The Brewers just aren’t really a good baseball team and the Cubs are really hot right now. It makes for a pretty easy series.

    • Both Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler contributed to the party. Heyward’s double was meaningless in the big picture, but a double is a double and it’s all about baby steps. To be honest, I could care less about if he hits the rest of this regular season. It’s all about what we do in the playoffs and that’s anyone’s guess. We could see Heyward catch fire and put the offense on his back (Note: not likely). For now, a double on the night does me fine. It was Soler’s bomb that gives you a little tingle in down deep in your loins.
  • Tommy La Stella reported to AA Tennessee yesterday (He was 1 for 1 before getting hit in the foot by a pitch, and leaving in the 5th inning., ending his long hold out. I don’t know what the answer is for La Stella. I can imagine that it will be awkward if/when the Cubs bring him up in a week or so when rosters expand. The Cubs could certainly use his left-handed bat off the bench, especially come playoff time, but I have to imagine that a lot of the players feel let down that he would just quit on them. My hope is that he goes down, kills it in AA and is a good soldier. I really want him on this playoff roster. I love the combo of La Stella and Matt Szczur off the bench. We’ll see how this plays out.

Click the scores to bring up full box score

Cubs [AAA] Won 8 to 7

SP – Stephen Fife – 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K

3B – Jeimer Candelario – 2 for 4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI

Smokies [AA] Lost 5 to 1

SP – Tyler Skulina – 5.1 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 B, 3 K

RF – Ian Happ – 3 for 3, BB, R

Pelicans [A+] Won 6 to 5

SP – Preston Morrison – 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K

LF – Charcer Burks – 2 for 5, 2B, 2 R

Cubs [A] Lost 8 to 5

SP – Oscar De La Cruz – 3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 4 K

3B – Matt Rose – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI

Emeralds [SS] Won 3 to 2

SP – Dylan Cease – 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K

RF – Kevonte Mitchell – 2 for 4, 2B

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Rizzo is my MVP

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

GM 1 – Brewers 0 @ Cubs 4 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

GM 2 – Brewers 1 @ Cubs 4 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

  • With John Lackey having to leave his start mid-batter the other night, perhaps Trevor Cahill can be at least a band aid. He pitched 5 scoreless innings in the first game of the double header and looked good, considering how bad he’s looked in AAA and the fact that he really hasn’t gotten stretched out. I would not be surprised at all to see someone like Cahill up and starting as part of a six man rotation down the stretch and for John Lackey to get some rest on the DL before his next start. Gotta have the horses ready for post-season.
  • I’m greatly concerned about right field. Between Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler, no one seems to want to play out there and be productive. We know it could flip on a switch, but I really felt we had an excess of riches out there and it doesn’t appear so. At this point, I think I would platoon Heyward and Soler, but come playoffs, I think I would lean toward Ben Zobrist in right so we could get more production and use someone like Heyward for defensive substitution late in a game.
  • Perhaps we were wrong on Jason Hammel. Maybe he can pitch in the 2nd half and do so effectively. Hammel is 6-0 with a MLB leading 0.95 ERA since the All-Star break, which leads to the question of playoff rotation again. What is your rotation going into the playoffs and do you consider using a five man rotation still since all the guys have been good?
  • Anthony Rizzo is the MVP. I know Kris Bryant is in the running and leads in WAR, but my MVP vote goes to Rizzo.

Click the scores to bring up full box score

Cubs [AAA] Won 5 to 1

SP – Jake Buchanan – 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K

CF – Juan Perez – 2 for 5, 2 RBI

Pelicans [A+] Won 4 to 3

SP – Trevor Clifton – 6 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 K

1B – Yasiel Balaguert – 3 for 5, 2B, 2 RBI

Cubs [A] Won 3 to 2

SP – Ryan Kellogg – 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K

LF – Roberto Caro – 2 for 3, 3B, RBI

Emeralds [SS] Won 13 to 8

SP – Tyson Miller – 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K

C – Marcus Mastrobuoni – 1 for 5, 3B, 2 RBI

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Pissin’ The Night Away…Now What?

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Cardinals 6 @ Cubs 4 (Box Score / Condensed Game)

In the 90’s, the band Chumbawamba released the song Tubthumpinn’, in which the lyric to the chorus was the name of this post. This weekend the bullpen gave new meaning to that song. Both Saturday and Sunday featured good starts by Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey and both games featured epic bullpen collapses. Not only did the pen blow the game, but they full on collapsed in epic fashion, to the point that it was embarrassing.

This was a series that could have featured the final nail in the Cardinals NL Central coffin, but instead we come away with a split and an embarrassment on national TV. Obviously, with the lead we have, I’m not worried. It just makes me mad to have watched that. The question now becomes “What will Theo and Jed do before September 1st?”

Jonathan Papelbon was released by the Washington Nationals, a team in contention for a World Series, this weekend, and I would almost guarantee that the Cubs will look hard at bringing him in, and they should. There will be people who will moan and groan about character and team chemistry, but the truth remains that there isn’t a person on this earth alive today that can remember the last time the Cubs won the World Series. That needs to be corrected and it needs to be corrected as soon as possible. A signing of Papelbon is low risk and high reward. He’s been a good reliever in his past, has familiarity with this front office and a few players on this team, and he can be signed for the league minimum given the fact that the Nationals paid the remainder of his salary to release him. If you sign him and he causes a problem, you release him immediately. It’s that simple. This, to me, is a no brainer move that must get done this week, if not today.

The Cubs also must figure out this Tommy La Stella mess. If he’s not going to report to Iowa, and he’s running out of time to do so, then the Cubs need to bring in another left-handed stick off the bench. I don’t know who that is and haven’t even begun to speculate because in my heart, I believe La Stella will return. No man can be that stupid and selfish to just give up a chance to be part of perhaps the greatest sports story ever because he didn’t want to spend a couple weeks in Iowa, right? Right?

It’s an off-day today, so enjoy time with your people and buckle up for a double header on Tuesday. Let’s enjoy the ride these last 6+ weeks.

Click the scores to bring up full box score

Cubs [AAA] Won 9 to 5

SP – Drew Rucinski – 4.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 7 K

3B – Jeimer Candelario – 2 for 4, 3B, 4 RBI

Smokies [AA] Lost 10 to 7

SP – Brad Markey – 2.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 0 K

C – Victor Caratini – 3 for 4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI

Pelicans [A+] Lost 8 to 6

SP – James Pugliese – 3.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 3 BB, 7 K

2B – Bryant Flete – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI

Cubs [A] Lost 6 to 5

SP – Jose Paulino – 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K

3B – Matt Rose – 1 for 4, HR, 3 RBI

Emeralds [SS] Won 4 to 2

SP – Bryan Hudson – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K

RF – Kevonte Mitchell – 3 for 4, 2B

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