Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Saturday Cub news round-up

I'm going to try a new experiment where I actually read about Cubs news from a variety of different sources and then I'm going to report on it!  I know, it's a thrilling concept that I expect will catch like wild-fire and become the standard template across the internet.  When websites everywhere start collecting news while adding their own snarky spin to it you can tell them that you read it here first.

Hopefully most Saturdays I will remember to do this, and on Sundays I'll try to do a Cubs blog recap of what the various bloggers are up to.  I expect this experiment to last about three weeks because it will probably take too long.  Nevertheless...

First our friends at ESPN Chicago (who I wish would at least give us a link or something)
Gene Wojciechowski -- who almost gave up on being a writer after the first few times he tried to spell his own last name -- writes that the Tribune should turn to Oprah to buy the Cubs.  After all, she's freakin' rich and she likes to help the helpless. 

Gene writes,

She's local. She's brilliant. She could pull a $1 billion bill out
of her wallet to buy the Cubs and, according to Forbes magazine, still
have enough money left over to be the 281st-richest person in America.

Did
you see what ABC's Diane Sawyer recently wrote about Oprah in Time
magazine? "Her curiosity is undiminished. So is her passion for healing
the bruised parts of the world and wielding truth against bruisers."

Is
there a part of the world more bruised than the corner of Clark and
Addison? The Cubs are on their second 100-year rebuilding plan. They
need Oprah's healing powers.

That's fantastic, Gene.  Maybe Oprah can bring in a new-age guru who will help the team get positive and think past their uncertainties.  Actually I liked this idea better when Michael Moore had it, although he was stumping for Oprah to run for President.  Probably the only good thing to come out of this story is the picture they used of Oprah, where she appears to be profiling her mammoth knockers ... not that I really want to see Oprah's mammoth knockers by any means. 

ESPN writer Nick Friedell -- who could have auditioned for the Jack Black role in the movie Year One but would've lost out because he looks too much like a Neanderthal -- wants what Rob wants: the Cubs to go after a starting pitcher.

Friedell says

I am a simple Caveman.  Your world frightens and confuses me!  But even I have to ask, why are the White Sox the only team in this city that appears to be going after a front-line starting pitcher?

That's the only question I have after reading Bruce Levine's report that the Sox have shown interest in Roy Oswalt.
The common thinking around town seems to be that Ozzie Guillen's team
is in desperate need of another top-of-the-line starter to complement Mark Buehrle and solidify a shaky rotation.

That's true, but while I still sometimes believe that my toaster is the home of an angry fire god out to burn me, what I do know is this: at this point the Cubs need another ace just as badly, if not worse.

While
the biggest problem with Lou Piniella's club continues to be an
inconsistent offense, an even larger problem is beginning to rear its
head: The Cubs' starting pitching isn't as strong as everyone thought
it would be.

I don't mind that Rob was writing on this topic not too long ago because I'm pretty sure that the Sloth said nothing about how the Cubs starting pitching sucks.  But I just have to ask... how the hell can anybody think the Cubs need to get another starter when it's the bullpen that's consistently crapped the bed? 

And for a guy who actually writes for ESPN, Friedell seems to not understand that it's actually pretty damned easy to look up performance trends.  Ignoring that the Cubs have the fourth best starters' ERA in all of baseball right now at 3.88 it's also not hard to look up this amazing figure: for the month of May, the Cubs had four starters with ERAs of 3.76 or less.  Sure, upgrade if it's available because it never hurts to have one more really good pitcher, but the bullpen has to be the first priority.

Over at Cubs.com...

Carrie Muskat reports that Alfonso Soriano may have injured his knee back into shape.  Wait, what? 

But it's true!

On Wednesday in Atlanta, Soriano singled to lead off, and as he rounded first base, he pulled up and seemed to be in pain.

It turns out, it might have been a good thing.


"The other day in the first inning when he hit the ball down the line
and he sort of stopped at first, I think he might have had some
adhesions or something [in his left knee], and his leg started to feel
better after that," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

The way Soriano made the turn may have broken up some scar tissue in his knee.

"He feels better, which is good to hear," Piniella said.

I guess anything is possible, but this may be the first time in Cubs history that a player tore tissue in a joint resulting in less pain. 

Speaking of Cubs.com, Carrie further reports that Fukudome and Soriano are presently making strong bids for the All Star Game despite neither player doing a whole lot since the month of April.

Lastly, Muskat has a piece on the draft strategery of the Cubs.  I have to admit I was unable to read it all before drowning under a surging tide of ANGER.  Here are the gems:

"I think when you look at a Draft, everybody gets focused on the
first-round pick, and they forget there are 49 other players taken in
the Draft," Fleita said. "When [Greg] Maddux was taken in '84 in the
second round, nobody remembers the first-round pick."

Yeah, and?  I should take this time to mention that the Cubs have had the same scouting director (Tim Wilken) for the past four years.  In that time his only claim to success has been Geovany Soto ... who was drafted by the team four years before Wilken got the job.  (Not to mention that they released two of his first four top picks this Spring in Grant Johnson and Mark Pawalek along with Ryan Harvey.)  And he's just now realizing that they shouldn't get too focused on the first round?!

Wilken's approach is to "take the best big leaguer left." He leans
toward athletic players -- Tyler Colvin and Josh Vitters are good
examples. The Cubs, hoping they can continue to pick low in the
First-Year Player Draft, the order of which is determined by where the
team finishes the year before, have expanded their scouting efforts,
and signed players from Korea and Australia.

Hmm.  Athletic players.  Wasn't Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Ryan Harvey, and pretty much every failed hitter of the past four presidential administrations drafted because he was athletic?  Afagah!  gaoefmeal3a4!!!  $(*$O@!  So mad!  Can't type!

"In my mind, every scouting director is measured over getting three,
four, five players to the Major Leagues. A lot of times, we fail to
talk about the players traded away, like Bobby Hill to get Aramis
Ramirez...

Hill = fail. 

or when we traded an international player in Hee Seop Choi to
get Derrek Lee.

Choi = more fail.

I think you have to look inside the numbers inside the
Draft. I think the scouting directors are measured by the depth of the
Draft. The guy who's out there trying to get Mark Grace, who was a
later-round pick, that's where you really value your scouts. Everybody
in the country is talking about the top players. The true meaning of
the scout is to go out there and scour and get the guy who nobody
thought was going to be a top player."
-- Fleita

Translation: I do not know what I am saying.  But still they employ me! 

One look at the Sun-Times webpage and I can understand why Mariotti bailed.  It doesn't even appear as if they're trying.  This week's winners:

Carlos Zambrano is akin to Babe Ruth, says Gordon Wittenmyer.  Ignoring the theatrics he plays his heart out, he does little things right, and he's entertaining. 

Then again, Carlos has proclaimed that he'll be retiring in five years.  I frankly do not buy it.  Ask yourselves if you've ever fantasized about quitting your job in the next couple of months (or years) only for you to bitterly realize that it ain't gonna happen.  For whatever reason that is Carlos's fantasy right now.  But five years is a long-ass time for somebody to change his mind.

Carol Slezak writes like a college journalism student.  Er, I mean, she writes about Carlos's issues with rage control.

Amazingly, she actually appears to have contacted a psychiatrist for this piece. 

But can he learn to control his temper? Does anger management actually work?

''It works for people who are coachable,'' said Dr. Eric Morse, a
psychiatrist who works with professional and college athletes. ''But it
depends upon the individual. If a person doesn't have a co-occurring
disorder [such as addiction or bipolar disorder, for instance], if he
truly just has an anger problem, anger management works very well.''

There's just one catch.

''The main way to stop that behavior is to have a high level of
motivation to stop it,'' said Morse, who graduated from Northwestern
Medical School. ''In [Zambrano's] case, the consequences of the
outbursts have not been strong enough to make him want to change. The
consequences are not significant to him.'

Really, Carol?  You're being paid to write this?  I guess I get it.  You're being paid to sit in a newspaper probably 220 to 250 days each year and sometimes it must be awfully tough to figure out what to write about next.  Hey, if the Blackhawks lose a game because Kane's skate's break, you could always call up a skates expert and ask his opinion on, well, skates!  If the Bears win because the wind pushes an errant field goal back in line, why not call up a meteorologist to ask how unusually strong the breeze has to be for that kind of effect!  Then you can transcribe their words to fit your pre-determined opinion and you'll be good to go!

More from Gordon - Jake Fox is ready to choke a bitch if he doesn't get in the lineup more regularly soon.  Maybe he's just completely defensively inadequate, but I don't see the point of promoting the hottest-hitting minor leaguer in baseball to sit on your bench as your team's offense continues to struggle. 

And lest we forget, Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood now play for the Indians.  Just a reminder.

Over in the Daily Herald, Goat Friend Bruce Miles relates his own perspective on the Pending Z Retirement.  Like me, he's not buying it.

Lastly, the Chicago Tribune takes a lot of looks at Sammy Sosa and his future chasing the Hall of Fame.

The Tribune asks its Hall voters if they'd give Sosa the nod.  But I'm pretty sure Goat Friend Paul Sullivan gets a vote too and he's not on the list.  Then again, I already know his answer ... when in doubt, vote him out.  Derrek Lee and Lou Piniella would both disagree on this sentiment. 

Speaking of Sullivan -- and Jake Fox -- Sully says he may get a chance to start in right field soon.  Screw it, I say play him everywhere -- a bit at catcher, a little at first, third, left, right, but not shortstop! 

And that's the news recap for Saturday.  Sure enough, I've been working on this for two or three hours.  Next time I'll cut it down somehow.

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