Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GROTA Joint Article: Steroids and the Season at Large

Welcome to the second Goat Riders group article. Like our previous entry, this article will feature commentary and discussion on several issues facing the Cubs right now. Today we have half a dozen topics of discussion. Let's begin!

Kurt

Alright, let's get the ball rolling. Let's start out with the hot topic of discussion: steroids. How do you think the steroid hearings will effect baseball this year and after?

Rob

The hearings had very little impact on the game, or the people currently involved in it. Sammy's people are geniuses, giving him a purposely vague release to work with. O. J. knows...if you can't beat 'em, confuse 'em.

The only guy this hurts is McGwire. I hate the media for turning on this guy, and I am actually shocked at the vehemence of it all. Did people actually BELIEVE that he was clean? You all kissed his big puckered ass for years...now he's a bad guy, because he didn't try to confuse us, or lie, like Sammy did?

Byron

Well, it looks like the players and owners will actually have a written policy this year... and one that says what they think it does. That had to be one of the most embarassing moments of his life for Selig. I couldn't believe they didn't have a finalized document when they announced the policy. MLB is truly run by guys who act like monkeys from time to time.

Kurt

I hear Selig got ripped into by Congress three or four years ago, and this time around he comparatively came off smelling like roses. Rob, I agree with you about McGwire. Even though he was a Deadbird, he seemed to have a ton of heart, way more than a jackass like Sosa. I hope that when this calms down - IF this calms down - McGwire will return to his place as one of the greatest sluggers in the modern era of baseball, and be left alone.

Byron

Amen Brother Kurt! I think these journalists who are ripping into McGwire are a bunch of grandstanding morans. We knew in 1998 he was using Andro & Creatine. Its a supplement in the same way steroids are a supplement. Exactly what is the difference between the two that make it OK to use one and be a first ballot hall of famer... and allegedly use the other and suddenly not be worthy?

Kurt

As for the Cubs themselves...It's not as bad as last year, but the Cubs have again had their fair share of injuries this Spring. Will it continue into the season, and what should the team do if they lose a starting pitcher or two for a prolongued period?

Rob

See, I disagree, I think the injury bug is every bit as bad as last year. We started 2004 with question marks on Prior and Remlinger. Wood, Borowski, etc. didn't happen until the season started. This year, we know going in that three of our more important guys are, at best, questionable.

I had high hopes a month ago after we got rid of the Big Cancer, but now I'm already in damage control.

Byron

Well, it looks like the injury situation isn't going to be much different this year. Sore shoulders, elbows, backs, and wrists have already claimed 3/11ths of our pitchers for opening day. I am like other Cubs fans, just incredibly frustrated that Wood and Prior and Borowski haven't been as reliable as I want them to be. But, I'm not alleging panzyness or anything, look at a guy like Jr. Griffey, he can't stay healthy, but its not really his fault.

If the team is down a few starters, it may be time to pull a second Joe Carter trade. I love Jason Dubois, but with the glut we have in the outfield, it may be time to send him on his way if we have any holes to fill. But like the Carter trade, we need to be getting Cy Young quality pitching (Eric Gagne perhaps) in return.

Kurt

I'd love to see a Joe Carter trade, although this time it'd have to be for an ace closer rather than an ace starter. I just don't know if anyone is going to be willing to make that deal. Also, I really do wish that Dubois would get a fair shot at Chicago.

About the closer situation... with Sweaty Joe now set to miss the first two months of the year, who should close for the team? How good do you think your replacement closer will do? Should Hendry make a trade for Dotel or Urbina, even if it costs a good prospect or two? Maybe try LaTroy Hawkins again?

Byron

Not Hawkins.
Maybe Remlinger or Chad Fox. If I knew who, Hendry could hire me to be the manager. Our biggest problem is we don't have someone at the end. If I had to pick a guy from what we have though, I'd go with Chad Fox.

I would like to see a trade for a closer. Maybe Paul DePodesta would be willing to trade away Eric Gagne? Hendry should come up with some sabermetric argument to pry Gagne loose from LA. For the right guy, I'd trade farm systems with LA. (Yes Chuck, I'm calling 'The Score' right now...)

Rob

Octavio Dotel is Spanish for "LaTroy Hawkins". I think Chad Fox should hold the role as "interim Closer", and I'm not worried about rotating him out of the role once JoeBo comes back.

Kurt

I'd be shocked if Gagne was ever made available, but we can dream, right? I guess for now, we'll have to settle on Fox, but I really hope the old Huff and Baez rumors prove retrospectively true. If the Cubs could get Huff and Baez, I don't think anything could stop them from winning a World Series. But, healthy closer or no, how do you feel about the team's chances at this point?

Byron

Um... I'm not here to answer questions about the past. I just want to turn this into a positive?

Seriously, I think this team (with its current makeup) is going to have to overachieve to reach the post-season. But I do think Hendry will make another significant in-season move. He's three for three so far, firing Baylor, Aramis Ramirez, Nomar. This year it will probably be a dominant closer, or a corner outfielder. Fortunately, I think with its makeup this team has the people to over-achieve. I'm gonna love the players this year, not just the uniform.

Rob

The whole notion of GROTA is that 2005 is a critical mass year, a one year window of greatness. Win or lose, all hell is gonna break loose.

Only four words will matter at the end of the year: Back. Up. The. Truck.

Kurt

Agreed. In spite of the rash of injuries, in spite of this team being managed by someone who's becoming more and more of an ass-clown every day he's on the field, I have to believe that This Is The Year. It HAS to be. But what happens if the injuries continue? Is Dusty going to kill our rotation/hopes of a pennant?

Rob

Dusty Baker can't even manage himself. He showed last year that he couldn't solve a mid-to-major clubhouse crisis. On-field, he's always been mediocre, off-field has always been his strength. He was exposed last year. He may not kill our hopes, but he can't fix them, either.

Byron

I have to disagree with you there Rob. I think Dusty is a fairly decent manager. I don't understand his methods. In fact on the field I think he is pretty bad... but he wins. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but he wins and thats the one thing you can't argue about.

Last year showed just how loyal Dusty is to his guys. He made a complete fool of himself protecting guys last year who didn't deserve it. Hendry got rid of those cancers, so I don't think Dusty will be forced to choose between absurdity and protecting his guys this year. Even now, by protecting his guys at all lengths, Dusty keeps the media focus off guys who might not want it so much. Could you imagine what the media would be doing to LaTroy if Dusty wasn't filling column inches?

Kurt

When asked about Dusty Baker, the best compliment I can give him is, "my girlfriend thinks he's cute. And he wins, a lot." Hopefully something will happen this year so that he leads the team to more victories still. But call me caustic - I think this team may have to win in SPITE of their manager, not because of him.

I think we DO have to accept that if the Cubs win, it'll because of the big Moose himself, Carlos Zambrano. Is Carlos Zambrano your love muffin?

Byron

Absolutely. Carlos Zambrano is my love muffin. Over the next four or five years, I believe Cy Zambrano will be the best pitcher in baseball.

He stays healthy.

He is 24.

He is learning from a 300 game winner.

He has all the tools you want out of a pitcher.

...and he switch hits. I love watching him go up their and start hacking at pitches. You know this guy loves to hit.

Rob

Good Lord, yes. Carlos es muy mas macho. Which is a real shame if they don't have anyone to close games. Shame on Hendry for putting all of our eggs in Reg'lar Joe's basket.

Jason R.

Well, if the Cubs can get Eric Gagne for Joe Carter, I think they should go for it. However, being several years removed from baseball, I don't think his trade value will be all that high. Factor his negative VORP as an announcer, and he really doesn't bring much to the table anymore.

RD

RE: The turning on Mark McGwire and his not lying... You are right in that McGwire didn't try to confuse us or lie, but what did he say? "I'm not here to talk about the past. I want to be positive." What the hell is that? This ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand act is as bad as Sammy's No-hablo-Ingles act.

But at the end of the day, you're right, it's not like the fact that all of these assclowns used steroids is breaking news.

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