I've been busy, but I haven't missed much
In the beginning, there were only a few of us in the CBA, and chances were still favorable that your point of view would be unique. Nowadays, there are enough Cub Bloggers to fill up a whole section in Terrace Reserved, and it's real hard to wake up every morning with a thought on your mind, only to see that four or five of you already expressed it in print.
Albeit, with punk spelling and incoherent sentence structure.
This is the quandary that has gripped me the last few weeks as I endured my involuntary vacation from All Things Cub. See, I was listening to the flagship while crawling along the construction zone on the East-West "officially Reagan" Tollway, when LaTroy Hawkins bounced a game-ending relay throw to first off of somebody's head. I am not proud of what happened after that, and it forced me to re-evaluate my whole value structure.
I was clinically ordered to get a life.
I have been back to work now for nearly two weeks, but I have hesitated to jump back into the pool, because I didn't feel I had anything new to say. I still don't, and it appears that in the weeks that I've been gone, nothing has changed, fundamentally. Symptoms are more acute, and they can be listed as follows:
- The offense sucks, there are mismatches in key lineup positions, and guys aren't hitting.
- The starters are fragile, and are not going far enough in games, as a whole
- The bullpen is a gut-wrenching disaster
- The manager is a miserable, clueless troll who is visibly betraying the stress he is under
- the General Manager is responsible for the whole thing
Now, I have on these pages, called for the beatification of Jim Hendry, for getting Nomar, for trading Turd Hundley, and for trading Sosa. Those are the three Miracles called upon in the Catholic Church for sainthood.
I have since called Rome, and withdrew my request. Why?
Is it Dusty? No. At the time, we all hailed his hire. Dusty fooled us all, we thought there was some magic power he held. He appears to have the same countenance that Don Baylor, Jim Riggleman, etc. had at the end of his tenure here: namely, as if someone was stomping on his balls with metal cleats. But once again, I don't blame Hendry or anyone else for his hire.
Is it the Starters? They seem to be stepping it up, although it shouldn't be a pleasant surprise with THIS staff to see a starter go into the eighth or ninth. (Baker should have yanked Maddux after 7 last night, which probably cost us the game, but next time he'll remember). But there weren't a lot of options for Hendry this off-season, and remember, we have a "vaunted" farm system just chock-full-o'-arms.
How about the bullpen? Please...how have the so-called quality bullpen arms available last winter fared lately? The pen has been mis-managed, over-worked, and much maligned, and they have lost several games for us, yes. Name me a team out there who hasn't had their pen cough up a bunch of games this year? Even the suddenly-beloved Sux have spit up several leads this year.
To me, it all comes down to this one inexcusable fact: we don't have a leadoff man, never had one except for the two months of Kenny Lofton, and maybe, perhaps, Lofton had more worth than they gave him credit for...for what has been his beef throughout his career, but that he has never felt like he has gotten the "respect" he feels he deserves? Maybe he had somewhat of a point?
I'm not saying bring back Lofton, although it is a better idea than using Patterson, Perez, Walker, or Hairston there. Hendry is using the extended Sammy Sosa fiasco as an excuse for not doing more in the offseason. That's shit....this team, with the money THEY make, could afford to sign ANYONE, even the overpriced Carlos Beltran, while still doing what they needed to do in regards to Sosa.
They certainly could have afforded a trade for a leadoff man. They can afford one now. There isn't anyone on this roster, ANYONE, who I wouldn't trade right now for a Juan Pierre or a Scott Posednik, someone who can get on base, cause havoc on the bases, and change the flow of a game.
Yes, we've had bad luck. WHO HASN'T? Injuries are part of sports, and you have to allow for them, have a contingency plan. The Cubs appear to not have one, and it shows, and it will continue to be a problem until Hendry shows he can do more than dump bad apples, and rob the "have-not"s at the trade deadline. Unless he can complete an actual "value-based" trade that works for us, we're not going anywhere this year.