Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The questions I'd ask

This is perhaps the first time since GROTA was founded that we don't have a presence at the Cubs Convention.  It's mostly that I just couldn't buy tickets, and I'm pretty sure that we'll be there in force in 2010.

In the past, we'd ask Lou Piniella/Jim Hendry some questions, usually because it was the first, best way to get our names out there to the thousand+ people in the room, along with the thousands of others who would listen on the radio later on.  If I was there today, these are the kinds of balls that I'd bust.

1. With Milton Bradley getting slotted into the middle of the order, it opens up a whole array of questions that we could be debating right now - but I would ask Lou this one question above all others: Derrek Lee is a great hitter, but he's no longer the premier hitter who dominated pitchers in 2005.  If he's not your BEST hitter, why would you keep him batting third when an Aramis Ramirez would fit there so much better?

2. For Jim Hendry - I think that as fans of baseball, it's hard for any of us to really understand how complex your job is except to say that I've heard rumors that you sleep with a cell phone taped to your head just in case somebody wants to blow in a trade call at 3AM.  But as great as you've been with trades and free agency, the Cubs have only developed one All Star hitter since the days of Grace and Palmeiro.  How are you going to improve upon your track record in drafting and developing hitters?

3. For Hendry again - without naming names, are you concerned that the new owner will be less like the Boston Henry's and more like the Baltimore Angelos's?

4. Lou - what would you prefer your players to if you had a choice - godly talent, or a positive attitude?

5. Jim - in my experience, certain members of the organization adopt an anti-blogger stance when it comes to dealing with people like me.  Wouldn't it be possible to allow very limited, very controlled access to the team and players for, say, half a dozen bloggers a year?

I'd probably go with #1 or #2, but these are the questions I'd ask.  But before you get to crappy - or excited - about any of them, I'll give you the canned answer.

"Well (insert name), that's a great question.  I think we've (drafted/developed/acquired) a number of very talented players, such as (Theriot/Pie/Lee/Bradley), and we'll continue to (draft/develop/acquire) more who will have (positive attitudes AND talent/good use of).  I'm not concerned about (Lee/my draft status/any potential owner) and I'm looking forward to how we do in 2009."

questions

Beside asking about Lee or Ramirez 3rd and 5th. Since getting a left handed hitter for the middle of the line up was key. What are you going to do for the 40 to 50 games Bradley is going to miss? Your answer is right on the mark.

I was there

I wish I had thought to bring a tape recorder. Kaplan absolutely grilled Hendry (Piniella wasn't at the panel otherwise I'm sure the question would have been directed at him) about why, if we're so concerned about winning, there weren't more calls to bunt, even if it's the clean up man. (I think the implication was that these guys are getting paid a hell of a lot and should know the basics like bunting for the team's good.) I really can't recall the exact wording of the question, and don't mean to imply any commentary of my own regarding his question. I hope WGN puts up audio from the convention on their website. If they do, I would really recommend listening to that one.

Lots of questions from the fans in the audience (in ANY panel that had Hendry it seemed like) about the trading of both Kerry and Mark. Just an observation: many people were not happy about it. I got a little bored with the phrasing of the "questions" however: "Do you really think [x] trade was a good idea?" Jaysus, what do you expect Hendry or Lou to say? "No, I think it was a horrible idea, but looks like we're stuck now!" I mean, just say you think the trade blowed if that's what you really want, but don't ask a question to which you already know what the answer will be.

One thing I didn't necessarily like: Hendry saying he was holding off on long-term, big $ deals until ownership is settled. Not that I'm disagreeing with the principle behind that, but I thought the talk was all "we're not worried, we're not worried"? This sounds like worry to me.

Also dislike (now that I'm thinking about it) the implication in the media (see today's Sun-Times for a quote by Hendry) that it was just the women who had their panties in a twist about the DeRo trade. I.e., we're all mopey over him just because the "handsome man" is gone. This is the same type of idiot logic that says women will buy any baseball product as long as it's pink. I've got plenty of eye candy left, thank you very much (Rich Harden, I'm looking at YOUR posterior), IF that was all I was worried about. I dislike the DeRosa trade for other, less hormonal reasons. If Hendry really wants a PMS show out of me, I can give it to him no problem.

It was my first convention. The auto lines were stupid long, horribly managed (at least the one for Stage A I was at on Saturday). Assuming I go again, I'll just stick with the panels next time. Was disappointed Ron was only there for the OC, really. Heard he wasn't feeling well. Hope it's not serious.

My picture upload is taking forever today. I'll have stuff up on flickr later.

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