Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Derrek Lee IS a deadass, but....


...you just don't do what Carlos Zambrano did today.

So, now, what's gonna happen?  Not much, I'm afraid.  The league isn't going to agree to "sponsor" an indefinite leave of absence for Z.  A few games, at most, of league-backed suspension, and then he has to return to the team.  Hendry talked out his own ass as much as you'll ever hear him today, but don't believe his threat that he intends to ride out the string one man short. 

For one thing, Lou won't abide by that, not that Lou has any room to make any demands at this point.  A team takes its cues from his manager, and Lou Piniella is a defeated man.  He is every bit as defeated as the 2006 Dustbag or the 2002 Smooth Baylor.  Lee and most of the rest of the team look like they are just going through the motions, waiting for a change to be made.

This long-awaited change isn't going to happen.  Piniella is no quitter - he will gut out the rest of the year, not so much because he wants the remainder of his money...well, maybe it is the money.  But he isn't going to quit.  Hendry will never fire Lou, because based on the unwritten "2 field managers per general manager" rule...he hired Baker, ran his course, then hired Lou.  Typical baseball etiquette dictates that the next field manager for the Cubs will be hired by a new GM.

As for the owner...his hand was forced when Lou ran his biggest investment and highest-paid player into the bullpen, which introduced all sorts of injury risk, and Ricketts decided it was a good time to plan an African safari.  The Ricketts family is doing NOTHING with this damn team.  They are Wrigley Field owners, and the on-field product is secondary to the good times and revenue streams generated by the butts in the stands.

And as long as the days and nights are warm, the beer is cold, and the bathrooms accessible, the Chads and Trixies and all the Keokuk housefraus will keep spinning the turnstiles. 

What you see is what you got, folks.  Z will be back in a week or so.  Nobody wants his dumb ass at this point, even IF Ricketts opted to eat the contract, which they won't.  So you'll have a bunch of guys walking on eggshells the rest of the year, making their fishing and hunting plans, and counting the days.

If you choose to follow this team the rest of the year, prepare for disappointment more often than not.  Enjoy Lou stuttering his way through the post-game conferences the rest of the summer, one he'll never accomplish.  Enjoy Ramirez's stirring quest to reach .200.  Enjoy Lee Eating Ass ala the 2001 McGriff.  Enjoy watching once promising young guys like Soto, Theriot, Colvin and Wells play their way into oblivion.  Enjoy Carlos Zambrano acting like a petulant tool the rest of the year, leaving game after game early and burning out whats left of our bullpen.

And Good Lord, if they manage to win a game once in a while, by all means, play the song, wave the flag, and swill the Kool-Aid.  Every time they manage to score more than they give up, please, bang the pans and proclaim that THIS is the game where they turn it around and make a run. 

Because that's what you want, isn't it?  Blind, unconditional hope? 

Not me, goddammit.  I have two degrees, and I have been deemed 'redundant' by three companies in four years.  I have two sons, 17 and 21, who call me disappointing because I can't understand why they want to do all the things they do.  I wake up each day wondering if this just might be the day that one of the major arteries clogs shut, or perhaps the headaches I've been having the last two weeks aren't stress after all, but something far more sinister.

I need an escape, I need some GOOD news, and right now, the Chicago Cubs ain't it.  They remind me too much of life on THIS side of the TV screen.

Wow

I agree on everything said about the Cubs.

...but damn Rob, that's a pretty sad evaluation of your life. Remind me not to be like that.

it wasn't my choice

Life is like that...you get old, your body falls apart, your kids grow up believing they know it all, and unless you yourself take charge at work, them that do always decide they want someone younger, cheaper, and many times, better.

you don't have a choice in the matter, Anno.

This side of the screen

Rob..spot on as usual just DON'T GO INTO THE LIGHT"!

Zambrano's future

If I'm Jim Hendrey, I've got a team of lawyers going over Z's contract looking for loopholes. We've got a guy with a couple of years and upwards of $40 Million due according to his contract, and he's got Zero trade value. What to do, what to do ...

First of all, if you've got to take him back, then you have to exile him to the bullpen --- you can't afford to allow that kind of poison in the dugout; it's bad enough you've still got him in the clubhouse. But from there, you've got a couple of choices: try to make him mad enough to retire (as he threatened to do before, as unlikely as it was to be true then); or else try to rehabilitate him to the point that he can be traded --- I don't think that his non-trade clause will be a problem.

Maybe it's already been tried, but if ever there was a candidate for therapy / tranquilizers it's Z. It's pretty obvious that he can't control himself under even normal game stress. Hendrey created a monster with his long-term contract; Z never has proven himself to be the Ace of the staff, or worth the kind of money he was given. In the earlier years, the spotlight was on Wood and Prior; when it got to be his "turn" to wear the mantle of the Ace, he quickly was overshadowed by Lilly and Dempster, and there's a bunch of young arms on the horizon.

Z has had a pretty easy go of it based on his natural talent; now that that talent is starting to decline, he's not up to the challenge of WORKING to be successful. And a lot about this always has been all about Z himself --- HIS best years and the TEAM's best years have not coincided particularly well.

Most likely outcome: we end up swallowing his remaining salary for this contract, and concentrate on making sure he doesn't qualify for any bonuses/vesting for future years.

Or maybe Z just is after Derrek Lee's 1B job ...

Attendance

"And as long as the days and nights are warm, the beer is cold, and the bathrooms accessible, the Chads and Trixies and all the Keokuk housefraus will keep spinning the turnstiles."

I don't agree, Rob. Attendance has been dropping all season, and that's with people eating tickets they had already purchased. I expect attendance to be waaaaay down in 2011, because there will be no Alfonso Soriano in this offseason. People are as angry and as fed up as you are, and they are voting with their feet.

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