Danny Boy's blog
Wouldn't it be kick ass if rich, ole Daddy Warbucks owned the Cubs??????
It's cold, rainy and pissy here in the Bluegrass. We have entered that time of year when we are blessed with bone-soaking, day long rain. It's amazing how much it makes you look forward to spring training.
No, it wasn't the offseason of my wettest, Kate Beckensale filled dreams. I knew that our team was saddled with really bad contracts, and even with new owners, I didn't expect a Steinbrennerian sized payroll explosion. The hand we got is the hand we're dealt.
That being said this group of guys has finished 1st, 1st, and 2nd. Not too bad by most estimations. That being said, it's a really nice window we got here. Let's make sure that sum-a-bitch doesn't close before we hang the new drapes.
My big goals for the offseason were this; DEAL MILTON BRADLEY. Pack his bat-shit crazy ass up and send him somewhere. Done. I am not so eternally optimistic I think Carlos Silva wins 20 games and the Cy Young. Just stay healthy, and eat innings (not entire buffets).
Land another starting pitcher (see above) and jettison Kevin Gregg. Done and done. I am excited about Marmol having a shot to close things out. I would like to see another arm injected into the pen. But due to payroll, we either land a former stud, or we develop a new kid from somewhere.
I would have liked to see an everyday 2nd baseman show up. Platoons aren't going to cut it for me. RIDICULOUS FAN OBSESSION UPCOMING! I would love to see the team sign the O-dog. There I said it. It won't happen and I feel like a chuckle head saying it, but I would love it.
Finally, the Hawk is in the hall. Sure, I'd love him to go in there in a Cubs hat, but even if he's an Expo, I'm happy for him. By the way, if you're a Hall of Famer, you're a God-damn Hall of Famer. It shouldn't take 4, 6, or 11 years. Put 'em in the freakin' hall.
D-Lee had a rebirth, and if that continues and the team can avoid injuries, I like our chances. It really is a solid lineup. We just need everyone to produce. Too many guys hit the skids last year. Maybe back to back division crowns took the fight out of them. I think it was the failed chemistry experiement of dealing De-ro and Woody and thinking red-assed Milton Bradley would stoke the championship fires. We all learned that too much bat-shit crazy is a bad thing. ( You listening Z? Gatorade didn't come knocking this offseason with a new line of "combat punch flavors", you whackjob,)
So it's riding on a lot faith. Stay healthy, focused, and sane. Sweet Lou has to hold it together and maybe, just maybe, something good goes down. Won't be long till the clouds clear out around here and we're tuned into WGN. April 9th, you'll find my pasty, white ass tucked into a seat at Great American Ballpark watching our boys in blue kick the crap out of Dusty's boys. I can't wait. GO CUBS!
Well, crap. I have watched this season from a sickening distance. I know from keeping up with the site, that my views differ from a lot of the guys on here, but I gotta admit, I felt this one coming.
I have always felt that bad things happen when you try to "buy" a championship. Hendry and Co. looked at last years fizzle and threw the checkbook at it. How else do you explain the poorly considered additons of Gregg, Heilman, and Bradley.
It's been beaten to death, but I still believe if Dero and Woody had hung around, we are contending. When you remove the heart and soul of a team, it can never be good. Maybe the Brass was attempting a personanlity transplant from the guys who couldn't quite get over the hump to a dugout full of red-ass competition freaks. Whatever, it failed.
As a fan base we have lost our ability to allow youngsters to develop, or a player to bust out of a slump. Everybody wants an all-star at every position. This team isn't the Yankees. In truth, I don't want them to be. I hope the new ownership is committed to winning by building a dominant team that contends year in and year out.
Get the team an ace, some bullpen help, and a psychosis free outfielder. The big win is coming and when it gets here I will celebrate in an Old Style induced haze. When the smart-ass Cardinal fans say it'll be another hundred years, I'll tell 'em to kiss my World Championship Celebrating Ass. Go Cubs!
After a delirious afternoon babbling about how adding Freel gives us another intangible towards the quest for a title, I wake up to a bullpen implosion, the return to the DL of Fox, and D-Lee with neck spasms. All before the coffee pot is done brewing.
It'd be easy to toss this mess on the bullpen, known with little affection around our house as the "Gas Can Gang", and demand that they all be shipped to whatever small market team that would accept them. Shockingly, it's not all their fault. Yes, I will give you the fact that Neal Cotts sucks. He does. I know. Believe me, I know.
We don't score enough runs. Bottom line. We leave to many guys on base. Being out of market, I will "watch" a lot of games on Gameday. It is really obvious when you graphically watch how many little, red, block shaped base runners we strand out there.
I am really glad to see how selective the team has become at the plate. I appreciate the ability to work the count and draw a walk. Who among us though wouldn't love to see Roosevelt Brown knock the horse-piss out of a ball and damage some brick on buildings unfortunate enough to get in the way? Just give me one free swinging, bad pitch chasing, masher. Just one.
If we score more runs, you stretch the 'pen. Guys you would never bring into a close game....COTTS!!...cough, cough, cough.......could get the chance to work a little longer if you're up five instead of two. I know Lou is not keen to keep a pitcher out there who is missing his spots, but some of those guys have got to learn to get themselves out of trouble and they need more run support to have that chance.
Score in bunches, play small ball, steal bases, sacrifice (Neal Cotts to the Goat-God of Borneo), whatever it takes to put as many tallies on the board as you can. If you can rest the "closers" in the pen and let the other guys take up some slack this thing will right itself.
Even with all the drama of the morning I look to find us only 2.5 back. Hold off on the worst team ever compairisons. Looking at our division I'm not sure that any other team is deep enough to take the losses we have and be 2.5 back. It's a long season. GO CUBS!
I was looking over some of the past posts about "fans" and their behavior. Because of where I am located (Louisville, KY) we usually travel to away games more than we make it to the Friendly Confines. It's an issue I just gotta weigh in on.
I grew up going to ball games with my Dad. It was a family affair. I enjoyed the living hell outta every second of it. I would cheer my fool head off for my team and my favorite players. I would yell myself hoarse. What I didn't do however, was bust on the home team. It's their house, and you respect it. I'm still that way today. I will ride an ump for a bad call, but I will not bust on the home team.
In the past month I have caught an opening week game in Cincy and the series finale of the Cubs/Cards series in St. Louis. I am floored by the way fans for the home team are just openly hostile right off the bat. I was told how badly we were gonna get our asses kicked in IHOP for Heavens sake. BY AN OLD MAN AND HIS WIFE! By the way, I hope you choked on your regurgitated pancakes when Fooky hit his 3 run shot, you crusty bastard.
As a kid I remember sitting in the park and talking baseball with the fans that were around me. We all moaned about our weak hitting infielder, or the can't miss rookie who has struck out every at bat, or why on earth God has cursed us with Neal Cotts. My last family trip to Cincy, when we locked up the division by the way, I spent time explaining to my 3 year old why we don't say "you suck" to people.
If you're reading this and thinking I am a little too thin skinned, understand that I get it. I laugh my ass off at the "Cardinal Fans take it in their Pujols" shirts. But I am baseball romantic at heart. I grew up listening to stories from my grandfather of his days as a pro in the 20's and 30's. I have lived and breathed this game for the vast majority of my life and it's a love I am passing onto my kids. A day at the ballpark is my perfect day.
I guess nowadays 20-somethings who are only in the park to get hammered and pound beers are my cross to bear. FYI to the drunk ass in the section behind me. AARON MILES IS NOT A TRAITOR, HE DIDN"T BETRAY THE TEAM, HE WAS NOT TRADED!!!! HE. WAS. NOT. TRADED. When you are not offered a job by your employer so a guy named Skip can take your job, you move on. Thanks to the Card fan sitting next to us who turned around and pointed that out. That was also after Soriano was called a pussy after getting plunked in the head.
Painting a bleak picture for tolerence, I know. I have a challenge for you though. Next ball game, talk with the guy in the other teams jersey in your row. If you don't know dick about the current team, talk about the outfielder you remember playing for them when you were a kid. Hey, rib 'em all you want. Just take it in stride when they give it back. It's too great a game to turn a day at the ballpark into a WWE event. So.for one day, for us old guys, try it. Unless the Cardinals are in town.....they take it in their Pujols after all.
Growing up outside Louisville Ky, we didn't have a team of our own. The only team we had on the radio (that's how we had to follow baseball back in the day, kids) was the Big Red Machine. I followed the Reds because I knew nothing else. In fourth grade I was allowed to stay up and watch the World Series. Dodgers versus Yankees. Suddenly all my baeball cards sprang to life. There was Reggie Jackson and Steve Garvey moving on my TV!!!
Before to long we gots cable in the foothills of the Bluegrass State. I split my time between WGN and WOR. I found myself rooting for Grace, Sandberg, and Dunston on one channel and Strawberry, Gooden, and Johnson on the other. I have to admit that the Mets were a helluva lot better at that time and before to long they had a World Series title in tow.
Those of us around my age (36) will remember that baseball owners were charged with colluison around that time for not actually pursuing other teams free agents. Shortly thereafter all hell broke loose and players moved around like plastic on an electric football board. (There was a time Madden football did not exist, and running backs moved in slow, agonizing circles).
I swore off baseball around this time. I was used to familiar cast of characters spring after spring and those days were disapperaing quick. I have always been a fan of the scrappy "tweener" players and there were usually the first guys shipped out of town each offseason. It wasn't until just a few years later that I made my first trip to Chicago.
With a freshly minted "Over 21" ID from the state of Kentucky, we hit the big city. On our second day there we caught a night game between the Cubbies and the Mets. This was during Anthony Young's ridiculous losing streak. I sat there in the prettiest damn ballpark I have seen, drinking cold Old Style, and talking baseball with four Chicago area septegenarians. About the time Ryno went yard it hit me. The Cubs. Of course, the Cubs. I wouldn't be diappointed by them. They had a history of not being that good. I could love these guys and know what I was gonna get back.
They were filled with scrappy guys who we missing those one or two tools needed to be a superstar. It was a team I could get behind and love unconditionally. So that's what I've done. Brainwashed the whole family. Wife, done. Son, done. Daughters, they can sing every word of "Go Cubs Go". I was wrong though, the team has figured out a way to break my heart. You can't help but love this team though. The fans are incredible. The ballpark is Mecca of baseball. The city is my favorite vacation destination, regardless of the season. It's a love affair. I'm hopeless and hopeful all at the same time. Go Cubs!