Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The Charmed Prince Came Down From His (Tribune) Tower!

Is it really newsworthy when Andy McPhail talks to propaganda entertainer Carrie Muskat?

"You just have to do better with runners in scoring position," MacPhail said Monday before the Cubs' game against the Florida Marlins. "It's something they're certainly aware of and certainly working on, we just have to continue it through into the game."

Right. Oh, the games started two months ago, you say? That's too bad.

"Starting pitching has been somewhat erratic," MacPhail said. "It shouldn't be a total shock given the experience level of 60 percent of your rotation."

Yeah. Don't know how that could have been avoided. Or was this the plan, Andy? Young, erratic arms?

"The starting pitching has been erratic..."

You just said that.

"...and the bullpen has held up. We just need to knock them in. You win games by knocking the runs home."

In other news, scientists have determined that people can avoid starving to death by placing food in their mouths, swallowing it, and then digesting it.

"You just have to try to build up as big a surplus as you can," MacPhail said of the pitching.

Ohhh, we have a surplus, you say? Of erratic young pitchers?

"Part of the idea that [Cubs general manager Jim Hendry] had in signing Wade Miller was that he would develop a surplus for the latter part of the season."

When the rest of your team would be staggering to a 42-64 mark. And boy I can't wait to hear what this "other part" of the idea is.

"His needs became more immediate with Mark [Prior] getting hurt"

Prior got hurt? When? Where? Who was there? Why was this not reported? I thought he was merely on his own plan.

"and [Kerry] Wood having knee surgery."

Wow. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

"We had some promising pitchers in the Minor Leagues we thought could supplement, but we had two guys go down early on,"

It's weird how injuries only happen to the Cubs, ain't it?

and it wasn't spread out over the course of the season," MacPhail said.

Yeah. It happened before the season started. That's a new one.

"Starting pitching is a precious commodity in baseball," MacPhail said.

Huh. Good thing, then, that we've got that surplus.

"You understood the injury history of our pitchers, and you had [Jerome] Williams, [Glendon] Rusch, Marshall, Guzman, Hill, Wade Miller, Prior, Wood, [Carlos] Zambrano, [Greg] Maddux, and the numbers were there."

Very Good. You just rattled off 10 of your pitchers. How long did you prepare for this "interview"?

"You got hit early and you got hit hard."

You? Yeah, "we've" been getting hit by your obvious contempt for a dozen years. Nice to see you're a part of the team, by the way.

"It would be difficult for almost all organizations to compensate for losing that many guys that soon."

1) No depth
2) Cardinals without Rolen

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

"We need to get at full strength and have everybody play to their accustomed level and see how we go from there and find out how good we can be," MacPhail said.

Oh there's the "we". I knew you could do it, Andy.

--turns to audience--

So Andy's saying "Not our fault. Shit happens". No news there, of course. Not only is cubs.com nothing more than a Cub advertising machine with factoids, but Andy can't come out and just fire Jim Hendry. He just handed him a two-year extension for Christ's sake. So Andy McPhail, docking his yacht at Monroe Harbor and dispensing a few cliches to Carrie Muskat, is not news.

It'll be news when some reporter's able to stick a microphone in Dennis Fitzsimmons' face and ask him to account for Andy McPhail.

Andy McPhail will always have his two World Series trophies from Minnesota. Never mind the luck he had that his teams won pennants in odd number years. In 1987 the Twins became the first World Series to ever play in a dome. They had won only 85 games that season and got by an old, sleepy Tigers team in the ALDS. They not only played in a dome, but they played in the Metrodome--the creepiest, weirdest most unreal environment that baseball had ever been played in. I've been there for three Cubs games and one Bears game. The Bears game was great--football plays the same wherever you are. The baseball games made me feeling nauseous and disoriented. Because the American League had automatic home-field advantage in the Series in 1987, the Twins were able to start it off in their dome and set the tone. That tone would be "Mad Max Meets Rollerderby".

The Twins were not only the first dome team to play in the World Series, but, more tellingly, they became the FIRST team, in the 87 years of World Series play, to win a seven game World Series without winning even a single road game.

That's right. They went 4-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. And no team had done that before.

Did I mentione the advantage the Twins had by playing in a dome, by the way?

McPhail was smart to make sure that the the next time the Twins made the Series was also in an odd-numbered year. Because in 1991, they did it again, this time against the Braves. Very shrewd.

(The 2001 Diamondbacks have since joined the Homer Hankies as the third team to go 4-0, 0-3 in home-field World Series wins).

Riding high, Andy cashed in his chips and came here where, after twelve seasons, he has actually performed worse than his predecessors had for the previous twelve seasons. And, thanks to Larry Himes and Jim Frey, that bar was set pretty low. Like, halfway to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

In fact, the reason Andy's still here after twelve season where neither Himes nor Frey made it to season #5 is the pulsating peripheray success of the franchise. John McDonough has been around since the great Dallas Green's era, but it wasn't until the post-Harry Caray Age (1998) that McDonough had the marketing machine blasting full tilt.

Meanwhile, Andy has played the role of errand boy for the Tribune Company to a tee. He's a good little boy, too. In fact, I'm starting to think that he missed his calling. The Twins' accidental success notwithstanding, Andy McPhail has proven to be a poor baseball man. But he's done awfully well for the Tribune empire. Like PK Wrigley before him, he was born into baseball, but maybe it's just not for him. PK Wrigley was a brilliant businessman...for chewing gum. He took his father's company to the stratosphere. Similarly, there's no telling how high Andy McPhail could do with a giant media corporation. He's proven to be a very deft PR man.

As a baseball guy? Well, let's just say that his team just lost to a pitcher who they just traded in the offsweason. In the game, this pitcher managed to equal the season RBI total of the starting centerfielder for whom he was traded, and added a homer to boot. Oh, he also pitched seven innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and one run. I wonder if Ricky Nolasco was part of this surplus that McPhail was referring to.

Anyway, for his sake I hope Andy McPhail has this potential to be a big player for a media conglomerate. Because right now, short of becoming the next empty dunderheaded commissioner, he's got more value working for the Tribune than he would in baseball. If the Tribune sold the Cubs tomorrow, he'd better hope they've still got a job for him, because he'll have a hard time getting one as a baseball executive. Not after twelve seaosns of this.


I read this interview last night at the official site and I picked it apart in my head just as you did on paper, War.

If there was any doubt of Andy's incompetence before, it is crystal clear now. From reading it, I get the feeling that he was extremely nervous about giving this interview. This organization is more stealth that the Bush admistration.

I especially appreciate all his talk about that surplus of pitching arms, and then the rebuttle that any team would have a hard time to "compensate for losing that many guys that soon." (Like before the preseason, as you said.)

Either you have pitching arms or you dont. A surplus means extra... Surplus doesn't apply if the surplus is not on the MLB roster. Putting you and me into the pitching rotation would add to the "surplus" but it would be a frivilous act since we would suck. Get my point?

I'd be interested in reading his explanation about a surplus of 2nd basemen.

Mike D.

I should point out that this information was not exchanged with Muscat exclusively. I read it in the Sun-Times this morning, as well. Sorry for the mistake and please allow me to now correct my first sentence to:

"Is it really newsworthy when Carrie Muskat is in the room?"


The comment that kills me is the one about getting everyone back healthy and seeing what they've got. That tells me that there's going to be no radical changes to this team, either during the year, or after (as I think that the additions of the injured guys will likely carry the team close enough to .500 that Andy and Co. will declare 2006 a moral victory).

Dusty Baylor

NewsFlash from Sweatervest McFail:
"To beat the other teams, we have to score more runs than they do"

Sky is blue, grass is green, water is wet....


Cubs Fan

Talk about getting your money's worth! I did a little digging today and check this out. The Cubs payroll is 94.8 mil to the Marlins 14.3 BUT the Marlins lead the Cubs in the following offensive (and it is) categories, hits, doubles, homers, rbi's, walks, stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage and of course the combined OPS. The Cubs lead them in triples and have less strike outs. The Cubs are 5.5 games better than the Marlins only because they lead them in ERA 4.80 to 5.05 and WHIP 1.41 to 1.55. At least Florida isnt trying to pretend their team is any good, they are playing for the future. Which they have done this twice before and have 2 world series rings to show for it. The Cubs are still selling the whole, well we are injured and when we get healthy..... When they get healthy they will still suck. Hendry always says that he doesnt want to spend money just to spend money. Well it looks like that is exactly what he has done.


the ignorant fans who buy season tickets, and sell out wrigley field year in year out certainly deserve this level of management incompetence.
it's a match made in (cub)heaven


The past participle of "prove" is "proved," fer cryin' out loud.

Mike D.


Actually, if you look close enough, it's chock-filled with errors. Kurt won't hire me an editor.


That's what the internet is all about. It's not as fun if you correct all your mistakes. Or something.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award