I'm sure everyone remembers last year's World Series. We had a slew of terrible calls. So why do we have Umpires. Last Night, in the Yanks-Sawx game, I saw at least two errors at first base. And now we're all up in arms about the Terrible Call du Jour, Marlon Byrd's single which was "caught" by Nat McClouth.
So, I pose the question to you, Cubs Fan Nation, why do we rely almost entirely on humans, who as we all know are terrible inefficient, when there are other, much better option available?
There is absolutely no reason that managers shouldn't be able to challenge plays. Having this opportunity would make the game that much better. People say that Baseball is a game in which tradition should take a driver's seat. This is, of course, completely ridiculous, as it is no longer the year 1908, and the technology of Instant replay can easily be melded with the tradition of a Human Umpire. We would just be simply unprepared to be simply bound only to one of the two.
So, Goat Readers, which would you choose?
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!
My initial reaction upon hearing this:
"If the real world was more like wrestling, at the press conference to announce this trade, Jim Hendry would rip off his suit and tie to reveal a Cardinals shirt and then proceed to give Stone Cold Stunners to the entire Ricketts family and then down a case of Busch Lights with Albert Pujols."
Every deal he has made for the last 4 years, not involving someone named Theodore Roosevelt, has made us worse*
(*not actual statistic, just gut reaction while typing with blind rage)
Then I did some more sleuthing through Silva's stats and I figured it out. LOU HAD TO BE BEHIND THIS. As we all know, Sweet Uncle Lou is... to put this kindly, not very fond of Walks. The ONLY stat in all of Carlos Silva's numbers that points to anything remotely positive is his BB/9. He has the lowest walks per 9 innings of anyone in baseball.
And that, my friends, is apparently worth the career era of 4.72...
UPDATE: Sullivan says the Mariners are throwing in $9MM which essentially makes us owe Silva 2.5 this year and 11.5 next year. So.. We're basically saving 7 million. I no longer know how I feel. My blind rage has turned to confusion.
What is the price tag on the team's soul for 2010? Because apparently the Blue Jays are also wanting to know. The Cubs supposedly (according to beat writer MuskRat) are being engaged in trade talks concerning none other than Roy Halladay. This is officially the biggest catch-22 that Jim Hendry could've ever been blindsided by, and well worth a fair amount of debate as well.
On one side, how can you not complete the deal if its possible? Halladay is a true ace in this day and age, unlike any other pitcher currently on the roster, he's a true force. Night-in and night-out he goes deep into ballgames saving the bullpen and giving the team a chance to win every time he takes the ball. Hallady, most importantly, is a pitcher that gives the team a greater chance to win once the Playoffs begin.
On the other side Halladay is due a nice chunk of change in 2010 ($15+M) and his contract does not extend beyond the 2010 season. Acquiring Halladay is also likely to require a significant amount of the Cubs' top prospects, with no gaurantee that an extension can be worked out to keep him for more than one year.
My take: Do whatever it takes to get Roy Halladay, and then make moves to work around him on your roster. If this is a real possibility, few other moves could be made to improve a 25 man roster this much. The Blue Jays are looking to cut payroll and add top prospects, and realistically the only way the cubs can improve dramatically this offseason will be through trades. The Jays are likely looking to dump Halladay far away and outside of the Yanks/Sox, and the Cubs fit that bill. The biggest part of the entire deal would be extending Halladay beyond 2010, then its a no-brainer.
Well 2009 went about as bad as anyone might have guessed, with injuries and pitiful play crippling the team to a record barely above .500. Changes are around the corner, but nothing major seems imminent as Hendry has virtually tied his own hands, in terms of improving this roster. The cubs again enter another baseball season with a roster full of players of which they have no idea what kind of production they can expect from many or whether they could obtain anything of value in trade either. The Cubs are in a major state of flux right now without question, so I'll dust up a few issues they must combat this offseason.
-So MB is sure to be dumped somewhere, but how much will the Cubs be paying him to play somewhere else&what POS can they expect in return?
-Then what to do with the team's glut of 4A players; like Hoff, Fox, Marshall, Font,&Fuld?
-What free agents could fit into this roster/payroll&produce? The answer; not many.
-2010 doesn't sound too many alarms in terms of pitching. Marmol working as the closer will be much easier to stomach than Gregg, and Guzman along w Grabow, presumably, should provide a sturdy bridge to the 9th. The starters are a strength, but this group comes with its own question marks as well. Lilly's health, a Dempster rebound, what to expect from Wells/Gorz, and Z's erratic behavior and performance are all concerns.
***The biggest issue, in my opinion, is what does the team do to address their issues in the middle of the diamond --> 2B, SS,&CF? The team currently has very little presence at these positions, along with virtually no defense. Few teams are afforded much success without a strong presence in the middle of the diamond, so improving these areas must become priority numero uno. Starlin Castro is an intriguing option, but any time I hear the words "prospect" and "Cubs" in the same sentence it makes me cringe a little.
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!
In light of recent above average play, I thought I'd rehash What It Would Take to make the playoffs in 2009. I don't have much time because I've already used 2 hours of work time to think about and create this, but basically, even if we play .650 ball and the rest of the teams we are chasing play .500 for the rest of the season, we'd still fall short. In fact, looking at the Cubs remaining schedule, it's entirely possible that they could go 14-5 to finish the season and even that would still leave them at 89-73, one game behind Colorado's .500 remaining ball... Ouch. Go Cubs.
I know I said we are still in the Wild Card chase. It is mathematically still possible, but let's face it this team sucks. Now, if the Cubs are going to fix things they have to understand why. I know you are just like me and that you are tired of sounding like MC Pee Pants/Sir Loin/ Little Brittle from Aqua Teen Hunger Force when you try to explain to Sox/Cards fans why the Cubs have a chance to win the World Series year in and year out.
First let accept one thing: This team is mediocre. Even when healthy, this team is mediocre. Even with Soto performing at an adequate level and Aramis healthy the entire season, the Cubs would not have gone to the World Series. Does Lou Pinella deserve some of the blame? Sure, he does to certain extent, but here are some reasons why it was a mess he couldn't dig his way out.
Injuries: We had a ton of them. Some of them were self inflicted by laziness and stupdity, Zambrano and Dempster. Some of them were freakish, Aramis Ramirez's dislocated shoulder and Soto's injury to his belly-fat. Some of them were common place, Ted Lilly. Some of them should have caused players to miss more time, Lee and Soriano. Soriano especially should have missed some more time. It was clear by the number of balls that landed just in front of him that there was something very wrong. Too say that injuries didn't play a key part in the Cubs demise was foolish. However, there is more to this story.
This team was a chimera of failure. If it wasn't for Derrek Lee's Renaissance, we should be in an even deeper hole. Going into the season the majority of us didn't think D-Lee was going to be on pace to 30 HR and 100 RBIs. Many of us would like to believe this team wasn't designed to fail, but the evidence does point otherwise. We all like to point to the loss of Mark DeRosa, but we also lost the power production of Jim Edmonds. While he swatted at everything in above the numbers, but he did nail a number of key home runs. His fielding was not like it used to be, but it was a enough to mask Soriano's adventures in the outfield. I am not going into the mistake that was known as Milton Bradley. Not point in screaming that Liberace was gay. If you looked at the lineup at the beginning of the season, the Cubs had four run producers. Two were very good. One was extremely streaky. One of the other run producers was a catcher who came in a fatty ding dong. Another saw declining production, D-Lee.The other A-Ram a legit run producer. Given the situation the Cubs needed someone who had a history of being able to drive in runs. Forget the fact that we needed a lefty who could do that. The mantra this offseason was snag a lefty was some power.Last season there were 33 left handed hitters who hit at least 20 home runs. The Cubs let go of one. Of the top ten lefty home run hitters, only Adam Dunn was available and wasn't outed as a juicer. (Also, only Chase Utley was the only lefty with a good batting average.) Another is 37 years old and is having a career year for the Phillies. Obviously, Raul Ibanez has found better living through chemistry, legally or illegally. Another oldie, Bobby Abreu, a player I wanted, was available. While he provides meh power, he has shown he can drive in runs. Still, Abreu and Ibanez were well past the wrong side of the 30. Hence, the reason why the Cubs signed "Board Game." Once again let's not go there. For the lineup to be more left-handed, Mike "mini-Morandini" Fontenot started at second. Based on how he hit the previous two seasons, no one expected him to be this bad. Hell, I thought he was good for batting around .275 and driving in 75 runs. Boy was a I wrong. I guess there is a reason why he wasn't a starter.
We underestimated the team from the south: The Cubs were supposed to run away with this division!!!! No other team had a chance against the mighty baby bears from the north. Well, one thing was completely wrong with that notion. The Cardinals biggest problem last season was blown saves. They were among the league leaders. If they did away with that weakness, they would be division contenders. Low and behold Ryan Franklin has a career year. The starting pitching needed to be better. A miracle happened Chris Carpenter came back from the dead. Joel Piniero returned to Seattle form. Despite losing Troy Glaus, the Cards found a replacement in former Cubs messiah Mark DeRosa. The coup de grace was when the Cards literally bet the farm on the trade for Matt Holliday. Now, they appear to be the best team in the NL.
Now going into next season, we have to realize that having power lefties is not the end all be all. A right handed hitter that is good at hitting right hand pitching should be fine. Soriano isn't done yet, he needs to rest his knee. The Cubs and their fans need to remember our biggest rival is the Cards, not the Sox. We are like the Red Sox and they are like the Yankees. The Cards are in our division they have the second most World Series titles in the Majors. They are biggest threat going forward. We need power. They have a left fielder who is a free agent with a money grubbing agent. I say the Cubs should go in the bidding for Holliday. Even if the Cubs don't get him, hopefully, the Cubs could make it so the Cards have to pay an arm and a leg for him if the Yanks or Red Sox don't snag him. The Cards need him to show to Pujols that the Cards are trying to create a winner. Unfortunately, things may be problematic for the Cubs. The Cards have only $50 mill on the books to grab free agents while the Cubs have about $120 mill on the books. Hopefully, ownership is as interested as the rest of Cubdom in being the best in the Central. If not, then the Cards may dominate the beginning of the next decade like they did this current one.
Rob: big huge ups for you, faustus. And for those of you who crawled in my ass last month when I suggested that other fanbases had equated Cub Fandom to Homosexuality (to the disrespect and detriment of both concepts)...enjoy!!
A poster yesterday mentioned how Cubs fans are unclassy morons. Let me introduce you to Cardinal Nation.
Political Commentator George Will once mused, "Cubs fans are 90% scar tissue."
The reason being that we are in fact the toughest among baseball fans. We are among the most loyal. We need to remember the mess that we call this season is considered a disappointment because our expectations have been raised over the past few years. Higher expectation are a very good thing. It means management can't put out a terrible team year in and year out. We will win a World Series. Maybe not next year or in five years, but we will eventually.