Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Chris Singleton is a dope

I know it's apparently of poor taste to read something on another website, disagree with it, and blog about it on GROTA but I just can't help myself.

Chris Singleton, a contributor to ESPN, wrote this award-winning article today about how the Cubs (like the Mets) have had a disappointing season, but unlike New York they haven't had enough injuries to justify their poor play. I found this factoid to be completely astonishing -- a team that has seen four of its starting pitchers and two of its star hitters miss significant time on the DL (to the accumulated total of more than 400 missed days) has been too healthy to suck.

I was so astonished by his claim that I did a Google search to find his EMail address -- I wanted to tell him to his electronic "face" that his employment by ESPN astonishes me. I was not surprised, though, when I found the second Google hit for "Chris Singleton ESPN" to be one of those Yahoo question pages, asking "Why did ESPN hire Chris Singleton?" Damned if I know, Yahoo question guy.

Sadly, perhaps because Chris is a "famous" retired pro athlete, his EMail address is nowhere to be found. Still, I've exchanged enough EMails with ESPN writers to make an educated guess, and so I have fired off the following message to Chris:

Dear Mr. Singleton

It occurs to me that, in getting your job at ESPN, you may have had the fortune of knowing the right people. After all - if, to get your job, you had written for them your article about the Cubs not suffering enough injuries to justify their problems, they probably would have read it, shaken your hand and shoved you out the door (or the nearest window if you weren't on the bottom floor at the time).

Nobody would disagree that the Mets have had a lot of bad luck this year, but what you failed to consider when you wrote your article about how it's no excuse for the Cubs is this: so far, they have lost more than 500 days of man-time due to injuries. That includes:

Carlos Zambrano -- May 5th to May 23rd (18 days)
Aramis Ramirez -- May 10th to July 7th (58 days)
Chad Fox -- May 11th to current (89 days and counting)
Rich Harden -- May 23rd to June 13th (21)
Aaron Miles -- May 26th to June 10th (15)
Ryan Freel -- May 30th to June 26th (27)
Jason Waddell -- June 16th to July 10th (24)
Angel Guzman -- June 21st to July 7th (16)
Reed Johnson -- June 22th to July 7th (15)
Reed Johnson -- July 30th to present (20 and counting)
Aaron Miles -- June 21st to August 5th (45)
Dave Patton -- July 5th to current (54 and counting)
Ryan Dempster -- July 8th to July 29th (21)
Ted Lilly -- July 21st to August 18th (28)
Andres Blanco -- August 4th to present (23 and counting)
Geovany Soto -- July 12th to August 8th (27)
Carlos Zambrano -- August 9th to August 26th (17)

That means the Cubs have lost 518 days so far due to injuries. While some of those injuries have been blessings (Aaron Miles twice, for example) it's still hurt the team.  At times four of their starting pitchers have been on the DL -- Zambrano, Harden, Dempster, and Lilly have combined to miss 105 days so far, which would probably average out to 20-or-so starts. The heart of their lineup -- Ramirez and Soto -- have missed 85 days, with key contributors missing plenty of time too. And that's not even counting the numerous games played by guys who probably should have been DL'd -- Soto, whose shoulder has bugged him, Bradley and his dinged up legs, and Lee and his sore neck being easy examples.

It's true, sir, that the Mets have lost more key players than the Cubs, which is probably why they are well under .500. But to say that the Cubs can't blame injuries when they've had so many (17 trips to the DL so far, which equals the number of times a Mets player has been designated to the disabled list) is pretty ridiculous.

Honestly, Mr. Singleton, your article reaks of intent before the fact.  Like so many bad writers out there, you had a presumption before you'd typed your very first word and facts be damned it was that presumption that you chose to support. The only problem is that your presumption was ridiculously wrong. Maybe you should consider acknowledging that fact in order to save some illusion of credibility.

Best wishes,

Kurt Evans
Goat Riders of the Apocalypse

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award