Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Series Preview: Cubs vs. Padres

Overview
Unless you're the Yankees or Red Sox, years like this one are bound to happen.  Especially if your team is managed by a doof who can't draft, and who throws piles of money -- and no-trade clauses -- at every swinging dick in the major leagues.

Actually, if this year teaches us anything, it should be that the Cubs need to renovate the holy hell out of Wrigley Field.  (Purists, this is your opportunity to leave the blog.)  Fans love Wrigley, but players hate it.  The training facilities are a joke.  The clubhouse is as cramped as a Cold War submarine.  Consequently, the best players in baseball aren't inclined to play at Wrigley Field.

I have always felt that compromises can be made.  The Cubs can, theoretically, gut Wrigley Field but leave it aesthetically pleasing.  This is something that perhaps needs to happen soon, or else we'll continue to have these down years where the teams' expensive, untradeable, excessively OLD veterans drag the team down like an anchor. 

Anyway, onward:

Monday, August 16th -- Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 3.65 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (9-7, 4.86 ERA)
If the Cubs don't get swept, it's because Tom Gorzelanny pitches respectably, while Kevin Correia relies on the success of the team which surrounds him.  Gorzo -- who, by no means am I advocating for in 2011 -- has pretty much done everything the Cubs have asked of him these last two years.  Correia's really nothing special.

Tuesday, August 17th -- Randy Wells (5-10, 4.60 ERA) vs. Jon Garland (11-8, 3.41 ERA)
Probably two months ago, I posted a comment about Wells being, potentially, a one-year wonder.  Sayers responded with a responding disagreement. 

Well, it's too early to say.  Just ask Geovany Soto, who went from being a Godsend to a one-year-wonder to a resoundingly effective catcher, one of the best in the league.  But, so far, Wells has severely disappointed us.  He's been inconsistent at best.

Jon Garland, meanwhile, could've been a Cub this whole time.  Just saying.

Wednesday, August 18th -- Casey Coleman (0-0, 8.64 ERA) vs. Clayton Richards (10-5, 3.80 ERA)
Regarding Casey Coleman: who? 

A guy goes on a road trip for two weeks, and when he gets back Geo Soto is on the DL and Casey Coleman is starting for the Cubs?  WTF?  Considering how effective Clay Richards has been, I wouldn't exactly count on the Cubs to win this one...

Thursday, August 19th -- Carlos Zambrano (4-6, 5.27 ERA) vs. Mat Latos (12-5, 2.32 ERA)
This game should be an excellent learning opportunity for Latos.  If he wants to see how the pros throw fits and violently lose their tempers, then Carlos is the mentor for Mat.

Conclusions

Confession time: sometimes I look at the young talent around the league and I feel real envy.  I realize that Starlin Castro is doing great (although his crunchy numbers are lacking), and that Tyler Colvin is on pace to hit 25 homers (altho' he's barely batting Geovany Soto's weight), and that Wellington Castillo has finally been given the call.  But, still, the Cubs seem lacking in the young, exciting players like Latos.  Maybe I'm just being grouchy.

Either way -- can the Cubs possibly win this series?  I sorta hope not.  It'll take a minor miracle, but my fingers are crossed for a really, really good draft pick...

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Conclusions

Does not matter how high the draft pick, Ricketts is in cut back mode. Again,as in this year, the Cubs will under pay the slotted money for the draft pick and sign a lesser (cheaper) player. There young players all lack baseball instincts in one form or the other. To me it shows they are being rushed,and the teaching in the minors is subpar at best, regardless of what the organization states.

The Minors and Wrigley

Good observation Bob. I'm not buying anything we hear from the organization says—especially this time of year, and under these circumstances of a 100 loss season most likely, and them trying to paint a "bright future" to keep the fans optimistic.

Now, that doesn't mean there AREN'T bright spots - Castro, most obviously - but the rest of our rookies the last 2 years have had SO much hype only to flail and get shipped or dumped. What is happening here? If Ryno really is good (and I think he is) then what the hell is AA, A and rookie coaches doing to our players from the onset of the draft? This is when habits are started and there has to be some bad ones getting started early on.

But listen to this: MLB Fanhouse had the Cubs back in January listed at no.18 in 2010 Farm System Rankings. Our arch rivals, St. Louis is 27th, and the NL West leading Padres? they're dead last—that's right, no. 30. The once mighty Dodgers are only 25th best. Talk about a Crapshoot.

What this means fellow Cub fans is although we aren't in the top 10, we should be getting SOME players to last in the majors. Where the HELL are they???? The Cards are ALWAYS contenders, with that poor a farm. Dodgers too.

My contention is we really could be on an upswing and by 2011 rankings come out, we may break into the top 12. Jon Daniels with the Rangers is the best current example of building something out of nothing. Here in Dallas, it's simply amazing what he's done, it's the kind of model that I really wish the Cubs could build. The Rangers have done it with the fan base equivalent to the Florida Marlins and a POS ballpark. The Cubs have no excuses. Which leads me to my next topic....

Wrigley Field.
1. Someone here on GROTA pointed out that Iowa's outfield wall is made of metal, sponsorship advertising and our outfielders play the carum on hard line drives.
HUH?!
So, they come up to play in Wrigley field and have to contend with an Ivy covered wall and start looking like Sori out there. FIX THIS PLEASE.

2. The day games. Time for Ricketts to identify this as a problem and start the transition over the next few seasons to adjust the start times to 1pm only (no noon, 2pm and 3pm starts) and eventually get more night games. People left in Wrigley who are STILL bitching about the night time traffic and noise, need to be shown some property flyers in Waukegan and DeKalb, cause this is NATIONALLY known as 'party central' and not for the faint of heart anymore. Get em out of here.

3. Dusty Baker knows something. He said so before he nearly swept the Cubs last week that he knew how to fix the Cubs, but management would never do it. But he never revealed what this was.
FOR GOD SAKE: someone hijack Dusty and torture him until he reveals his secret!!!

4. If Wrigley's training facilities are so poor, have we at least kept the Visitors facilities in equal or worse shape? That's how hockey and football facilites used to be. Seems only natural, right Mr. Ricketts?

It's been 102+ years, I think it's time to try everything we can.
there I'm done.

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