It is clear now where fault lies
I have not read a single paper; or surfed the internet today; or listened to any monotonous sports radio. All I have done since 6 o'clock last night was watch the Cubs game, and come out here to see if anyone had anything to say.
No game recap. Well, I can't blame anybody for that. It is just too discouraging.
I have felt since March, when this team broke camp, that it was flawed. I thought they'd play far better than they have - then again, everybody save for The Riot, Ted Lilly, Angel Guzman, and possibly Derrek Lee the past two months have played to the absolute bottom of their expectations.
So I spent some time out here ripping on Geo Soto for showing up fat; on Milton Bradley for the miserable start of his Cubs Experience, and for having his head up his ass, as usual. I alluded to Big Z's latest broken promise of maturity, that Lee's best days were far behind him, and Fonz Soriano's typical all-or-nothing approach to the game. Lately I have been forced to admit that Kosuke Fukudome is Japanese for "Mr. April". Fool me once, shame on him. Fool me twice, perhaps this is a performance trend, that he feasts on early season mistakes, but once pitchers get command of their stuff, they can bust him inside and get him spinning like a damn silly top.
So from there I went on to notice that our fearless leader, Sweet Lou Piniella, had seemed to settle into a routine where he'd spend his days on the bench looking like he was suffering from sour stomach, then spend his evenings fielding questions and stuttering like Muhammad Ali. The man isn't exactly fit and trim; maybe he's suffering from some sort of dementia, brought on by blocked arteries to his brain caused by too much mayonnaise on his tortas back home? Could he just become stupid in the span of a year? Maybe he can't help it, maybe it's a age thing we all will deal with sooner or later?
Thing is, firing Lou Piniella ain't gonna fix anything. He isn't the problem. The problem has manifested itself in many ways, but all you had to see was the seventh inning of last night's game to understand.
Two outs, tie score, bases loaded, and Aaron (Gas Can) Heilman on the mound. Anything you get from him is gravy. Well, he induces the grounder to third, and what in the hell is Jake Fox doing down there? He dives for the ball, because a normal third baseman with normal infielder instincts would have fielded it cleanly, standing up. He snags it (yay) and gets up to fire over to Lee for the inning-ender. Except he isn't an infielder; in fact, he has no more acrobatic ability than you or I. He's a DH, a first baseman at best. He stumbles as he rises, double clutches, and does not get the runner at first. The lead run scores, Gas Can walks in another run because he's so rattled, and the way we're hitting these days with RISP, might as well piss on the fire and call in the dogs.
Fox was in there because Aramis Ramirez dislocated his shoulder, Mike Fontenot has been playing like a whipped dog since he started filling in there, Aaron Miles is as useless as a can of Glade in a landfill, and Andres Blanco has never had a good relationship with Major League pitching. Actually, I think Fox was in there to showcase him for a trade to an AL team. That worked out well, I think.
So now I understand why Sweet Lou is fumbling around. He is a man who values roster versatility, and right now he has none. He has four backup middle infielders, none of which can hit above .250. A second baseman playing shortstop, no backup third baseman. Three first basemen/DH, none of which play another position satisfactorily.
Three corner outfielders, which we are paying over $120 million to in he next three years: The Human Hitting Streak; Don't Wake Daddy who is, to put it kindly, not adjusting well to Cubdom; and Fukudome. None of the three will finish this year hitting over .250.
A young catcher that probably let last year's success go to his head, and a backup with a mangled hand who is regressing to his Mendoza line norm. A bullpen full of question marks, head cases and a long-suffering lefty starter being woefully misused at the moment as a LOOGY.
People, you too would sound constipated if you had to try to win games with the roster Jim Hendry has handed Lou Piniella. No legitimate leadoff hitter, supposed speed guys like Theriot and Soriano that have little speed, and little depth outside of first and second base.
Hendry has woefully miscalculated in his big corner outfield acquisitions; he has not brought in reliable bullpen help; he traded DeRosa for prospects in order to attract the Padres, and then did not follow through on the Peavy trade; and has taken the supposed 'prospects' he has developed (Pie, Murton, Patterson the younger; Hoffpauir, Fox, Gallagher) and gotten little more than a touchy 4th starter, a concussed utility man, and a stumbling clown pretending to be Ron Santo.
(Don't even think about it.......leave THAT line alone.)
Anyway, I don't even think you can blame the ownership situation at this point. Hendry has spent money; but outside of the Lilly signing, which he did flat on his back, all of the money has been pretty much blown.