Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Dempster is Yossarian?

In the great satirical war novel, "Catch 22", Tail Gunner Yossarian is caught in the clutches of the Catch 22 clause, a piece of circular logic crafted so superbly by author Joseph Heller that "catch-22" is now common nomenclature for a no-win paradox.  Eventually, Yossarian realizes that the Catch 22 clause does not actually exist on paper, but in practice, since everyone around him believes it does, it still has as much influence as if it did exist.  And what makes it even more sinister, since it does not actually exist, Catch 22 cannot be revoked or repealed.


I can't help thinking that the Cubs starters must feel like Tail Gunner Yossarian right now. 


Except for Zambrano's opening day stinkbomb and Gorzellany's recent skewering, the starting pitching for the Cubs has been excellent.  They are near the top in ERA, most strikeouts, fewest walks, fewest homers, and things will only get better when Ted Lilly comes back.  But, and I cannot believe I am actually seeing this from actual human beings, considering the club's 5-8 record, people are actually counting on Lilly to be a "savior" figure that is going to turn this club around. 


I have heard many many strange and stupid things over the years - much of it pertaining to the restorative qualities of people like Mark Prior, Mark DeRosa, Sam Fuld, Jake Fox and the like.  But if you are really expecting to see Ted Lilly fix what is broke here?


I do not believe Lilly is going to pitch out of the pen.  Nor do I believe he is going to bat leadoff.  Starting pitching, which is what Lilly does, is the one thing that is NOT broken here. 


Granted, fortunes come and go, and perhaps Lilly will come in just as one of our current starters may drop off for some reason.  It will definitely be a plus to have him around.  But our bullpen sucks and our offense sucks, and starting pitching is all we have.


How long do we expect Dempster, Lilly, Wells, Silva, and Zambrano - especially him, to go out there, pitch their asses off, only to either be behind thanks to our pitiful lineup, or with a thin lead that our bullpen can't hold?  Do they hang on all year, knowing deep inside their hearts that they can only do their best, and finishing 9-13 with an ERA under 3.50 is a solid season?  Or do they give up, because management won't fix a meager bullpen that they think is solid, or keep counting on an overpaid offense because, sooner or later by God, they will earn their money?


Fans.  Tommy Ricketts, Crane Graysuit and Donut Jim Hendry aren't going to do anything this year to fix this ballclub.  They are pinning the blame on Sam Zell, because everyone knew he was a dick.  They aren't going to get rid of Soriano, Fukudome, Soto, and everyone else wasting at-bats, because they don't think there is anything wrong that won't work itself out with time.  Yep, we looked great in spring training, scored runs by the bunches, Colvin, Byrd and Theriot went bananas.  None of that is worth jack.  Hendry and his staff are supposed to see past the record, to spot the tendencies that equate to success once the games start to count. 


But once again, for the 102nd straight time, we left camp with the wrong 25.


Catch 22 states that you don't have to fly if you are crazy.  All you have to do is ask.  But once you ask, you are no longer crazy, obviously, because only crazy people want to fly.  Therefore you are sane, and are eligible to fly.  The offense sucks? Don't ask to fix it, because it doesn't need to be fixed, because our players are highly-paid and have a history of hitting.  Therefore, our offense is good, and does not need to be fixed. 

Wait,

isn't our bullpen a catch-22?

Don't go to the pen and our starter will hurt himself and/or give up runs. But do go to the pen and they will instead be the ones to give up the runs while our starter runs the risk of hurting himself punching the dugout wall.

Either way we give up runs and risk injury to the starter.

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