Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Guess who's back..back again

NO, NO, NO, no, no!!  You're all doing it all wrong!!!

So, how are you all enjoying your Memorial Day weekend so far?  (For Canucks such as Kurt, the fourth weekend in May here in America is set aside for...)  Ok, Kurt is actually here somewhere in the lower 48, and of course he grew up in New York, and that's probably the last attempt at humor from me for the rest of this post, because this shit just ain't working.  I came out here after the first 20 games, I think we were 11-9, and I pointed out that Geo Soto was fat and sassy, that Milton Bradley completely had his head stuck up his ass, and that Derrek Lee's best days are absolutely behind him, and you all flamed me up one side and down the other, leaving me with a nice charred crust with very little pink in the middle, because by gawd, it's only TWENTY games, give guys a chance, for cripes sake!!

Now, it's forty games in, we're 21-19, which means we've played .500 ball since that last post.  I did what you said, I gave them a chance to work things out, and what's happened since? 

  • Geo Soto still ain't hit dick
  • Milton Bradley is still pressing
  • Derrek Lee is not only still struggling, but he's now doing it in the cleanup spot
  • and, now, we've exposed Mike Fontenot for what HE is, useful as a backup, but not capable of hitting on an everyday basis
  • and, as an added bonus, Ryan Theriot has gotten away from what HE does best (go to right field) and he's swinging for the fences, with the predictable result of a plummeting batting average, on-base percentage, and overall usefulness
  • and, of course, Aramis Ramirez' shoulder is still fusing itself back into one piece
  • and, we now have not one, but two useless utility men burning at-bats and butchering plays in the field.  Sometimes, the Orioles aren't stupid, and I know pretty much the Cardinals aren't.

    But what worries me the most is looking at Lou Piniella night after night.  There is a noticeable cognitive difference in him from 2007 to today.  His job is stressful - particularly when he has come so close twice, and have it all slip away so suddenly and completely.  This job turns people.  When Dusty Baker hit town, he was all California Cool.  By his last year, he spoke and acted like someone was spiking him in the groin.  When Don Baylor hit town, he was all New Age Enthusiasm.  By his last year, he spoke and acted like someone was spiking him in the groin.  When Jim Riggleman hit town, he acted like the slimy horndog he was.  By his last year, he spoke and acted like someone was spiking him in the groin, which was probably somewhat based in reality, considering his typical nighttime activities.  (When he and Mark Grace left town, it left a lot of dental hygenists and flight attendants in their mid-30s unfulfilled)

    Now, Lou don't talk like he's in pain, but I have talked to people trained in diagnosing dementia, and they notice how he can't seem to put a coherent sentence together when he is asked a question.  He is probably the most confused man in Chicago presently, and not only does that explain why Neal Cotts still has a job, it doesn't bode well for the immediate future of the Cubs.  I have backed this man since day one, but I can no longer. 

    Hendry ain't gonna fire him, no way.  But I don't believe Lou has an answer for 2009, and in the meantime, we are wasting some decent-to-good starting pitching.   Man, I still think getting Jake Peavy would send a message, but Adrian Gonzalez would look a HELL of a lot better in pinstripes.  Too bad he ain't available...

1/4 of the way thru

We are 1/4 of the way thru the schedule. At this pace they will end up 84 and 76 (2 games missing for the ease of the math). Not a great record, but enough that one hot streak has them contending. When you look back to the 2007 after 40 games their record was 19-21, and they still took the division with 85 wins.

The fact that things not going right are fairly obvious. Whining about it does no good.
At this time we fans (short for fanatical) have 2 choices:
1. Hope for a block buster trade to turn things around. With the ownership situation being what it is, I don't see that happening.
2. Hope that A-Ram comes back sooner than later and does not lose his stroke and everyone else produces at the level their baseball cards tell us that they can.

There is alot of baseball left and I would prefer to look at the glass half full instead of half empty and crying the sky is falling.

Cause every little thing is gonna be alright...

Well said by heimiedog.

Is everyone okay? Let's take a deep breath. The sky is not falling. As previously commented, the Cubs started out 19-21 last season in their first 40 games. Now, to address Rob's concerns:

Soto will hit. Why? Because he's not a .206 hitter. I realize that I can only base this on one year of big league experience, but you don't get THAT lucky in one season. To put up the numbers that he put up last season, you have to be a good hitter. Eventually, good hitters hit.

Milton Bradley is pressing. Sure. I agree with that - it would be hard not to considering he's batting .182. But he won't bat .182 all year. Bradley, like Soto, is a good hitter, and will improve. Granted, I think it is doubtful that either player reaches last years numbers, they simply will not continue to perform at such a low level based on what they have shown in their careers. Ditto for Derrek Lee. Yes, I agree his best years are behind him. But .290, 20 HR, 85 RBI aren't out of the picture - and that's good enough for me.

I kind of feel like Kurt right now. (Sorry to steal the thunder Kurt, but I figure you make this post every week or so, thought I'd give you a break). Yet I digress...

I don't yet feel like we've "exposed" Mike Fontenot for what he really is - a useful backup. I'd like to give him more than 40 games to prove himself. He's had one horrific slump, let's see what happens when he breaks out of it. Because he will break out of it.

I could write a few pages on The Great Ryan Theriot Debate - but I'll spare everyone of that for today. Last season, Theriot was ripped on by a lot of Cub fans for being 'just a singles hitter' (as if getting on base is a bad thing?). Now, he's driving the ball more often to the detriment of his OBP and AVG...and getting ripped again (Rob, I'm not sure what side you took on this last year so I'm not criticizing you, just those fans who want it both ways). I realize that the Ryan Theriot debate is polarizing, but let's give the guy a break. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Aramis is hurt (Hence the "useless" utility men) - hopefully he gets better soon.

As far as Lou and Hendry are concerned, I DO think they have an answer for this season - let the players play. I know I'll take a lot of heat for that theory but...this team, believe it or not, is GOOD. I know it's hard to believe, but in a short time, players will be HEALTHY. In a short while, the lineup will look like this:

LF Alfonso Soriano
CF Kosuke Fukudome
3B Aramis Ramirez
RF Milton Bradley
1B Derrek Lee
2B Mike Fontenot
C Geovany Soto
SS Ryan Theriot

SP Carlos Zambrano
SP Ted Lilly
SP Ryan Dempster
SP Rich Harden
SP Sean Marshall

RP Kevin Gregg
RP Carlos Marmol
RP Angel Guzman
RP Aaron Heilman
RP Randy Wells
RP Jose Ascanio
RP Neal Cotts

Does anyone NOT believe that this is a good team?? Things are bad right now, obviously. But guess what? Things will get better! Good players will put up numbers similar to their career numbers. We just need some patience. Let's push the sky back up towards the heavens, eh?

Oh, and look at a calendar.

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