Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GROTA News

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Pinin' for the fjords

Surely you've noticed that, in the past few weeks, GROTA hasn't exactly been spewing content.  This evoked one of our writers to send out a team EMail yesterday asking if the blog was officially dead.

I assure you, sir, that this blog is merely restin'!

Maybe it's an indication of how boring in general the off season has been.  Players have reported to Spring Training, many of them ahead of schedule, and we're all like, meh.  Ted Lilly may or may not have blown a wheel (reports say he hasn't), and we're all like, whateves. 

This hasn't exactly been the most confidence-evoking off season in the history of the Cubs.  There were no massive trades, no promising developments, nothing exciting at all, in fact, unless you want to count the Geo Soto weight loss as an event to drive content.  Hell, really the most exciting happening of the off-season was the further descent into insanity of many of the Cub bloggers out there, and even that is old news at this point.

So if you're wondering, then, about how often you can hit up this blog for fresh content; if you are doubting our ability to provide you with Cub stories exciting and new, then I say to you don't worry.  Come aboard, we're expecting you ... the Cub boat!  Da da da da daaaa...

Crap.  Sorry about that.  I temporarily lost my shit in the last paragraph there.  I blame, again, the boring off season.  Anyway, we should have daily content for you starting in March, and I'll work a little harder to keep things fresh and updated between now and then.  I promise. 

Back into the flow

With the All Star game over, we now return to the regular stream of Previews, GameCasts, and Recaps on the site. 

I for one enjoyed the stuff we got to debate while no games were being played.  I got to call out Pujols for being a cheater (shockingly, there's still been no acceptance to the Every Day Test Challenge), Wittenmyer for being a Race-Baiter, and I was able to write the most ridiculous firesale article of my blogging life.

In a lot of ways this has been the most ambitious year that we've had at GROTA.  We've done Previews and Reviews in past seasons, but never so regularly and it's been mostly an exercise to see if we could.  (You may be shocked to learn that between working 9 to 5 jobs, getting married, having children, going to grad school, and general travel -- all things that have been happening to one or more Goat Rider this summer -- it's actually not so easy to produce daily content on a blog, especially as prolifically as we do, especially in a season that's tough to write about.) 

Anyway, I'm sure we'll keep on keepin' on, and thank you for reading the blog.  Without you guys we'd just be shouting into an empty room.

GROTA News and Notes


Just a few things this morning to occupy your thoughts...

As some of you may have noticed, we've been touching up the looks of the blog the past few weeks. Kevin and I are presently working on one or three additional skins, all of which very well may give this blog one of the most unique looks on the net. So, if you haven't looked yet here's how you'd check them out: once you log in go into "my account," click on the "edit" tab, scroll down and pick your favorite. Feedback is of course welcome.

Not to mention that if you happen to have a blog yourself and would like a new logo, you are more than welcome to contact me. My prices are ridiculously fair. Apart from GROTA you can see examples of what I've done recently at Another Cubs Blog and the Bush League Times, and I've recently taken to designing a few logos for Hockee Night although Fork hasn't changed them yet.

Speaking of Fork, like the Uncouth Sloth he is another old time Cub fan with a strong writing style and a long memory. He has graciously volunteered to join us in contributing his perspective on Cubs 101. And while I haven't directly asked him to contribute to the more mundain articles on the 2009 Cubs, nothing is stopping him -- so let's welcome Forklift to the team.

Speaking of additions to the team, GROTA has a long-standing tradition of absorbing writers the way the Blob would absorb the flesh of its victims. I've always tried to tentitively keep the number fairly low -- generally we have had a minimum of four contributors at one time but that number has balooned to six (and more) as the original writers have gone on to get jobs, wives, children, offers from other, better blogs and other deals that directly correlate to lower post production. So, since we're not exactly drowning you in content -- despite having myself, Byron, Jason, Rob, Colin, Kyle, Chris, AJ, and at large Tonker, Huey, and Chuck -- I've decided to take an open approach to adding on part-time contributors like Forklift.

Not that we're exactly screening for auditions or anything -- although any reader who's interested in writing for the site has the option to "audition" through a regular production of reader blogs, which aren't being used often enough -- but don't be surprised to see some old-time familiar faces posting sporadically on this blog.

Lastly, feedback is welcome.  Is there anything you'd like to see more of on this blog?  What do you think we're missing?  Please note that none of these two questions are invitations to hate on something we presently have that you DON'T like, be it a writer or regular topic.  If you can't resist the urge to tell me how much you despise something that I have no intention of changing then I promise I will make all efforts to double the amount of the content you dislike.  Why would I do something like that?  Because I'm a bastard, obviously.

Gamecast: May 31st vs. Dodgers

Cubs v. DodgersEric Milton (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Sean Marshall (3-3, 3.70 ERA)

Story Lines

In case you've been avoiding the Cubs for the past week, I would like to point out that they have a chance to take 3-of-4 against the best team in baseball tonight at Wrigley Field. How have they done that? Well, they continued to pitch well thanks to Randy Wells, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster. Then, yesterday they broke out the bats to club the Dodgers 7-0.

All of the sudden the Cubs are showing signs of life before heading out on a 9-day road trip to Atlanta, Houston and Cincinnati next week. With Milwaukee pounding the Reds this afternoon, the best they can be is 3.5 games out of first, which is just fine. The Brewers and Cardinals are in action tomorrow, so maybe we can pick up a half game without playing.

Back to the game at hand, the Dodgers are throwing Eric Milton. I thought he retired or something. Apparently, Milton did not pitch in '08, before signing a Minor League deal with the Dodgers this season. So far he's made two starts and is 1-0. I can't imagine he will keep up his 3.00 ERA, so I expect the Cubs to score a few today. Milton marks the fifth lefty the Cubs have faced this week, which is something you don't see often. They have fared pretty well against them, except Randy Wolf on Thursday.

Marshall will counter for the Cubs. In his last three starts, he's only gone five innings in each of them. Of course one of them was a rain-shortened complete game, but it is an interesting trend to look at in the time being. Unless somebody else gets hurt or the Cubs trade for another lefty, Marshall will move to the pen when Rich Harden comes back. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but if Randy Wells keeps pitching out of his mind it won't matter much.

The only other thing that's really got to worry Cub fans is the super-ice-cold Alfonso Soriano. Pat Hughes made a statement yesterday that he was a limping after catching a fly ball, but he stayed in the game. The Cubs really can't afford to lose another player, but playing with half a player really isn't that great either.

Who's Hot
Reed Johnson - What has gotten into Reed? He shaves his beard and goes nuts. In the last seven days, Johnson is hitting a not so cool, .389 with 3 HRS while posting a 1.339 OPS. Also, Reed is doing the little things like laying down 2-out bunts. This recent hot streak has raised his overall average to .270. Now if we can some other guys this hot.

Mike Fontenot - Nine days ago Fontenot was hitting .193 after a pinch-hit appearance. I guess he thought he might lose his job or something, because he's raised his average 37 points. He came up  with a 2-for-3 preformance yesterday that included a double and a triple, not to mention a walk and two RBI.

Milton Bradley
- Well he didn't do any real damage, but he collected three hits and saw his average raise to .223. Hopefully, he's ready to carry the team for a couple weeks and get up to around .270.

Who's Not

Alfonso Soriano - What's cooler than being cool? Well, I guess it's Soriano, who went 0-for-5 yesterday. He's average has dropped to .246, and he hasn't hit a HR since May 17th.

Bobby Scales - It wasn't a great day for Crash Davis. Scales rapped into two double plays and left four guys on base.

Conclusions

After losing a game on Thrusday it seemed unlikley the Cubs could win this series, but they have that chance now. I suspect the Cubs will put together a good performance and get pick up their second straight series win.

Also, I'm going to all three game in Atlanta. Scott Lange, of the Northside Lounge, and I will be tailgating at least a couple of days this week. I will try and post more details later, but we're probably sitting in the Upper Deck. Leave a comment below if you anybody wants to get together.

Whoops

By the way, I was supposed to announce yesterday that Goat Reader AJ Walsh has been elevated to Probie Status at GROTA.  Welcome to the fold, AJ!

I would have announced it earlier today but I was busy.  I was up at 3:30AM and drove damn near 17 hours from Toronto to Savannah, GA to kick off a long week of good eating and sight seeing.  That means I won't be driving the content here which is surely a happy relief for y'all.

Also I forgot to update the Zambran-0-Meter before I left.  Whoops.

This is what happens when I deprive myself of sleep for two nights, take a Tylenol PM on Friday afternoon, and go to bed at 8PM.  Sorry about all that.

A Goat Riders of the Apocalypse Mission Statement


This blog is not a public service.

It is - at times - a source of news. Usually it's a source of commentary. We have a ShoutBox that allows you to engage your fellow Cub fans in conversation. We expect to get all kinds of dissenting views on all sorts of topics. For example, Mark DeRosa or Mike Fontenot? Milton Bradley or Adam Dunn? Neal Cotts or a bucket of spit? I don't expect anybody to agree with my opinions on any of these topics - and numerous others - and I don't even mind it if you tell me that my views are absolutely idiotic. (You probably won't change my mind but it has actually been known to happen.)

But there are a few important things that you have to understand about GROTA. I'll outline them as follows:

We are fans of the Chicago Cubs, not of Wrigley Field. We understand that people will have conflicting views about the fate of Wrigley -- should they knock it down, load it with ads, sell the naming rights, etc. -- but if you think it's more important to have cheap tickets at an unspoiled ballpark than to have the chance to watch the Cubs win a pennant, then GROTA is not for you.

We follow the Chicago Cubs because we want them to win, not because we identify with them as losers. We understand, again, that some people would be just as happy to go to a game at Beautiful Wrigley Field whether the Cubs are 62-100 or 100-62, but baseball is a game, the purpose of which is to win. I will never tell a reader that they shouldn't go to a game if the Cubs are a bad baseball team. However if you tell me that if I cheer on the Cubs with the expectation that they win the World Series, then I'm "following the wrong team," then GROTA is not for you.

We also support the Cubs optimistically, but we're realistic about the nature of the world and of a billion-dollar sport. And no, "greenies" are not "like Red Bull." They are amphetamines that are an explicitly banned substance that absolutely serve as performance enhancers, by the way. While we at GROTA dread the day that a Cubs star is caught with a needle, or fails a test, we are not so unrealistic as to believe that it will never happen. And at this stage, we know better than to think that such "cheating" is done by a minority of players. But we understand that some people want their game to be pure and would like to "think of the children" when taking a hard stance against steroids. But if you tell me that "cheating" is not a part of baseball - ignoring more than a century and a half of stealing signs, loading bats, doctoring balls, and doing any little thing to gain an advantage - then GROTA is not for you. (I'm not saying you have to be pro-steroids to read GROTA, on the contrary we'd lose pretty much everybody if that was a drawing line, but I'm asking that you not be so stupid as to think that there's a team out there that doesn't cheat somehow, someway, every single game.)

And most importantly, this blog exists because we genuinely believe that the Chicago Cubs are not only capable of winning the World Series, but will in fact win it soon! We're here because we believe that this organization is not defined by its history of losing, but instead by its potential to win! Above all other things, THAT IS WHAT THIS BLOG IS ABOUT!!!!  WE'RE THE GOAT RIDERS OF THE BLEEDIN' APOCALYPSE!!!  DOES THAT NAME MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?

Ahem.  Like I said. This blog is not a public service. I welcome debate, I love being proved wrong, but I really have zero tolerence for the blue-koolaid swilling "I love Beautiful Wrigley Field and their lovable loser Cubs" mentality. I can't force the internets to block that kind of person from reading GROTA but I wish I could because the person with that kind of idiotic, unrealistic, frustrating attitude brings nothing to the table and flat out embarrasses me as a Cub fan.

For those of you who disagree with me or feel that I have overstepped my boundaries, then I QUIT YOU TOO!!! (Just kidding, actually I apologize. I know that not everybody sees it my way and I accept that. But there's seeing it differently and seeing it wrongly, and the kind of Cub fan I've been writing about here is just. Plain. WRONG. Like the mulleted Cardinals fan, the Koolaid-Swilling Cubs Fan is a blight on our kind and make me feel ashamed of us. I wouldn't even send that kind of person over to BCB ... instead, the forums on Cubs.com would be most appropriate. So go there instead and enjoy it, because GROTA ain't for you.)

Family Reunions = Missing Games and Neal Cotts must go.

Sorry for the lack of posts during the last two weeks, but Spring
Break and a trip with Mrs. Yarbs to her family reunion will do cause
these things to happen.

As for the Cubs, I haven't seen a game
since Monday, which before I was married was unheard of. To top it off,
I haven't listened to a game since Thursday thanks to reunion the last
two days. However, I did make it back to the car just in time to hear
Aramis crank his shot yesterday.

I will get a chance to sit
down and watch tonight, even though it starts about 8:05 p.m. on the
East Coast. Is too hard to start a Sunday night game at 7 p.m.?
Hopefully, I will be able to stay up and provide some comments on the
shout box.

Finally, it is just a matter of time before Neal
Cotts is released, placed on the DL, or ends up selling hot dogs at
Wrigley. He is just about as bad as anybody I've seen in sometime (or
watched on iPhone updates while at a reunion).

In 2 2/3
innings, Cotts has given up four hits, walked four and hit one guy.
Somehow, he's managed only a 3.38 ERA. I was really hoping that I would
get back from the 6.5 hour drive today to see our only lefty on the
side of the road with a "Will walk for food" sign. As of 4 p.m., no
such sighting or transaction has been made.

Well, I hope
everybody has had a great weekend, and please join me tonight for a
little fun in the shout box. Everybody is welcome. Well, except Neal
Cotts.

2009 Player Previews - GROTA Round Table

GROTA Round Table
Welcome to the second annual Goat Riders of the Apocalypse round table!  A few days ago I EMailed the entire GROTA crew with questions on the new season.  Pretty much everybody got back to me.  Below are the answers we came up with... maybe in October I will repost this so we can look back and laugh at how stupid we all are.

Team Questions

1. Who do you think will be the team MVP in 2009?

Kyle - Geo Soto
Rob - I think Soto is the most indispensable, and I am bullish on Bradley. Having said that, I see Ramirez having a monster year.
Byron - Aramis Ramirez - Career Year, 40 dingers and a Gold Glove
Yarbage - I'm going to go out on a limb to pick Milton Bradley. I think it comes down to his over .900 OPS this season.
Jason - It's gotta be Uncle Milton. Sure, you can claim that there's a health risk there, but I think it's kind of like smoking: research into health risks is inconclusive. I kid! But seriously, kids, smoking makes you cool. In a close second we have Uncle Aramis and his ramble rousing band of clutch hitters.
Kurt - So we've got two Sotos, an A-Ram, and a Milton. I think that like last season it will be a roleplayer, and therefore my vote goes to the only roleplayer really on the table this year - Mike Fontenot. He won't put up the best numbers but he'll get the big hits.

2. What teams in the Central will the Cubs have to watch out for?
Kyle - Cards, Reds
Rob - Never ever sleep on the Deadbirds, and the Reds will contend until Cueto's and Volquez' arms fall off.
Byron - The Brewers and the Astros
Yarbage - Probably the Brewers still. They still have a good lineup, and they will probably make another move to bring in a starter.
Jason - St. Louis...because of the Dave Duncan effect. And because nothing's scarier than a team with two converted outfielders in the infield.

The Reds...because I just see them flourishing under the strong leadership of Dusty Q. Baker.

The Pirates...because they'll be driving around in a bus trying to run over the opposition.
Kurt - Trick question! Nobody in the central will come close to competing in 2009!

3. What areas should they look to upgrade at as the season progresses?
Kyle - Bullpen
Rob - All the so-called experts seem to think we wil have to get an outfielder. I think Lou's gonna want his backup 3B.
Byron - The Jake Peavy pitching slot... and shortstop.
Yarbage - My guess is will be the starting pitching, because Harden is going to be on the DL. Dempster will probably regress and Marshall is an unknown.
Jason - The rotation. And if they're interested in another starting pitcher, I think I would see if the Padres have anyone available. Also, it wouldn't kill them to grab a true LOOGY.
Kurt - If Hendry is trying for the death blow, he'll pick up another top-of-the-line starting pitcher. If he's just trying to tighten the team overall, he'll pick up another backup infielder and some arms for the bullpen.

Player Questions

1. Kosukue Fukudome. Project his final numbers.
Kyle - .260/.350/.380, 8 HR, 50 RBI
Rob - gawd. My guy. 8 HR, 36 RBI, .261/.355/.398. Ugh.
Byron - .285/.385/.775 12 HRs, 70 RBI, 85 Runs, 15 steals, 8 assists
Yarbage -.275/.380/.475 with 17 homers and 70 RBI
Jason - 21. Yeah, he's changing his uniform number midseason. Unless you meant his batting line, in which case I would predict:

.273, .373, .414

...because I drink the Kool-Aid
Kurt - Again, we've got diversity here. I'm going to say that he'll play slightly above average. .285/.400/.420 12 HR, 80 RBI, 15 SB

2. Who's the first guy on the DL in 2009?
Kyle - Rich Harden
Rob - Harden. Really really sucked Saturday. I'm sure something's gonna turn up sore.
Byron - Alfonso Soriano's bunny hop.
Yarbage - Rich Harden
Jason - Harden will be on the DL within a month, if he doesn't start the season there. He'll be okay after that, though.
Kurt - I'm shocked that nobody picked Bradley. For that reason, I will.

3. Who spends the most time on the DL in 2009?
Kyle - Rich Harden
Rob - Harden. Unless White Slice breaks his face running into a wall.
Byron - Alfonso Soriano's shredded groin.
Yarbage - Rich Harden
Jason - Koyie Hill. Two of his three Frankenfingers will fall off, keeping him on the DL while the grounds crew searches for his missing digits.
Kurt - Jason with the bold pick. I'm going to say the biggest DL resident will be Rich Harden.

4.Biggest surprise and biggest disappointment?

Kyle - Mike Fontenot (surprise), Ryan Dempster (disappointment)
Rob - My good surprise of the year will be Fontenot. By the end of the year, we will have forgotten he was a part-timer for years. Fukudome is my biggest disappointment already.
Byron - Biggest surprise = Gary Gaetti waiver wire pickup (a.k.a. Jim Edmonds signing.) Biggest disappointment = Fonzi's wasted season.
Yarbage - I think the biggest surprise is going to be Mike Fontenot. Disappointment will be Rich Harden because he looks bad and won't be as dominating.
Jason - The biggest surprise will be that Theriot, once again, carries an OBP over .390. I know! I didn't see it coming either.

The biggest disappointment will be that Lee still can't find his power.
Kurt - I think Sean Marshall is going to surprise us all with how well he pitches. I'm again going to go out on a ledge ... Geo Soto will disappoint us the most. Not because he will have a bad year, but because he won't have a better year than what he did in '08. He'll put up slightly worse numbers but will still be better than most catchers.

5. Which pitcher wins the most games for the Cubs in 2009?
Kyle - Carlos Zambrano
Rob - Big Z finally gets 20
Byron - Carlos Zambrano = +19
Yarbage - Carlos Zambrano finally wins 20 this year.
Jason - Carlos. This is the year! 23 wins for Carlos.
Kurt - A Zambrano love-fest. Add me to the mix. Carlos wins more than 20.

6. Carlos Zambrano - healthy all year long or hurt?
Kyle - Hurt
Rob - This is the year he holds up. 2010, however, might be another story.
Byron - Healthy as a buck.
Yarbage - Big Z is ready to prove all his critics wrong and will make it through the entire season.
Jason - See above.
Kurt - I'm curious about Kyle's pick here ... he thinks the Big Moose will lead the team in wins, but will pitch all year long? Sure, I can join in with that. Carlos wins 24 while being forced to pitch left handed due to surgery on his right shoulder.

7. How many saves does Gregg wind up with - and do you think Marmol will eventually get that job?
Kyle - 40, Marmol will only get to close if Gregg is hurt.
Rob - I see a flip-flop deal happening at least once. I think Gregg will be the closer come playoff time, with 29 saves.
Byron - Gregg gets 25 saves. Marmol won't get the title of closer, but will still amass 10+ saves on the season.
Yarbage - Kevin Gregg ends up with 31 saves. I think he keeps the job all year, but Marmol stays in the 8th to get the major outs when the Cubs are in a jam.
Jason - No, and Gregg finishes with 37 saves. Marmol will scoop up a mere 7 saves, but about a billion holds.
Kurt - I think that Gregg will convert about 70-75% of his saves, which will eventually drive Lou to the brink. Marmol will get the gig in August, leaving Gregg with 20-25 on the year.

Over Unders

1. Wins: 95
Kyle - Under (barely).
Rob - OVER
Byron - Push, leaning toward the over.
Yarbage - Push, I picked 95 wins.
Jason - Push.
Kurt - Over. Way over.

Bonus question ... exactly how many wins will the team finish with this year?
Kyle - 94
Rob - At the risk of angering the baseball gods, I'm going to see last year's 97 wins, and raise ya one. 98.
Byron - 95
Yarbage - 95
Jason - 95, but with a Pythagorean expected record of 153-9.
Kurt
-
I love you guys, but the Cubs are a better team playing in a weaker
division. They're going to win more than they did last year, and
because I'm all about the big proclamations (and "100" just doesn't
look good enough on the Zambran-0-Meter) I will be going with ... 110.

2. Derrek Lee Double Plays: 20
Kyle - Over
Rob - So much has been made about this, that he starts uppercutting to compensate. Under.
Byron - Over. Sadly.
Yarbage -I'm taking under, because he can't win again.
Jason - Under.
Kurt - Under. Just go look at the leaders for the past 5 seasons. You'll notice that nobody trends to the top every single year.

3. Combined homeruns between Lee and Ramirez: 60
Kyle - Under
Rob - Under
Byron - Over. Barely.
Yarbage - Under, D-Lee's power days look to be over and I don't think Aram can hit 40.
Jason - Under, but don't blame Aramis.
Kurt - Under. Lee has gone from hitting like Ernie Banks to hitting like Mark Grace. He'll still be fine, but their combined output won't be as epic as an optimist would hope for.

4. Combined homeruns between Fontenot and Theriot: 15
Kyle - Over
Rob - Over. No thanks to the Riot.
Byron - Under. Fontenot 12. Theriot 2.
Yarbage - I'm going over here, because I think Fontenot might hit 15 himself.
Jason - Way over. You clearly underestimate Theriot's power.
Kurt - Over. Fontenot is going to surprise people. Theriot, not so much.

5. Combined homeruns between Soriano and Bradley: 60
Kyle - Under
Rob - Over.
Byron - Under. Soriano 10, Bradley 25.
Yarbage - I think under here, because Sori and Bradley are both headed to at least one DL stint each.
Jason - Over. Have you sen the power display for Soriano this Spring? The man is ready to play.
Kurt - Over. I think Byron is nuts. Sori's injuries have been flukish - especially the ones he had last season. He'll stay healthy even if Bradley doesn't and the Cubs will have some slugging in the corner outfield spots.

6. Days Bradley's on the DL: 30
Kyle - Under
Rob - Under, but not by much.
Byron - Over. Most of July and August.
Yarbage - I'm going under on this one, mainly because I really hope he stays healthy. We need to stay positive.
Jason - Under, although he'll take more than 30 days off overall. I'm seeing him with about 130 amazing games.
Kurt - Push. two trips to the DL = 30 days.

Playoff Questions

1. Will they get to the post season?
Kyle - Yes, NLC champs
Rob - this year so far, the Cubs have roared off to early leads, which tells me that our lineup is better than anyone else's. So yeah, but...
Byron - Yes. What am I going to say, no?
Yarbage - Yes, if we don't I might go into seclusion like J.D. Salinger.
Jason - Hell yeah.
Kurt - Yes!

2. Can they win the World Series if they do?
Kyle - Of course
Rob - during the two games at Yankee Stadium, they played like....they did the past two playoffs!!
Byron - Yes. If the Devil Rays can make the Series, why can't the Cubs do it?
Yarbage - Yes.
Jason - Yes.
Kurt - HELL yes.

3. Why?
Kyle - This team is built for the playoffs. Versatility on the bench and on defense.
Rob - this team, as constructed, is not built for the Big Show - still no leadership.
Byron - Why Not?
Yarbage - Any team can win once they get to the playoffs. The Marlins have one twice and nobody thought they could. I think this team is flawed, but we are still really, really good. We can only that the Cubs make some moves that put us over the top.
Jason - Because this is the year and they're due and I believe and they'll be fine in '09 and can't hardly wait and he's the one with the gun and special orders don't upset us!

Also because they will clearly be the best team in the playoffs and, with a little luck and a touch less collapselikeacheaplawnchair, they have a better chance than anyone else. Does that mean they'll do it? Well, no, these past two seasons have made that pretty obvious. However, they've put themselves in a great position and all we can do is hope they play will in the playoffs.
Kurt - This is the year!

Long day, no content

I've had one of the busiest work days in recent memory, which consisted of me working through my lunch and not taking any breaks during the day - oh, and I stayed half an hour later than I was supposed to, too.  Consequently, no GROTA updates.  But cheer up, good news, I'm here now!

Since I'm mentally exhausted, it'll just be some quick links with brief commentary.  Later tonight I'll write the Mike Stanton Player Preview, since Rob apparently forgot.

First, to the shock of every overthinker who owns Cubs swag, Carlos Marmol insists that the WBC blown save won't have an effect on him.  I'm actually amazed that this possibility has gained any amount of traction, and I'd rather think that it's a case of the media creating a story rather than reporting on one.  Should Yankees fans have worried about Mariano Rivera after he blew the World Series in 2001?  I think not.

Carlos Zambrano showed his marbles in a recent game against Team Japan.  He faced Kosuke Fukudome twice, and having told him what pitches he'd be throwing was still able to get him out both times.  Unfortunately the Cubs lost the game 3-2, so they will not be advancing to the next round of the WBC. 

Speaking of Fukudome, the Sun-Times has an article about how, scarred from the failure to perform last year, Kosuke left America for a Japanese monastery this past winter.  He apparently spent the cold months meditating over his losses while perfecting the physical discipline necessary to kill his father's murderer and to become ... the Kung Fu baseball master.  Or something like that.  I didn't actually read the article.  The Sun-Times sucks.

Ownership troubles look to prevent the Cubs from acquiring Peavy any time soon.  Not only are the Cubs likely to have a new owner in the Ricketts clan within the next month or so, but the Padres are also in the process of selling the team.  Only it turns out that the next theoretical owner might be short on factual cash.  But chin up, Cub fans.  On top of already rooting for the best team in the NL, a lot of things can happen between now and August 1st.  Even if the Padres ownership issues aren't resolved, there'll be plenty of teams fallen from competition whose top stars might look good in a Cubs uniform.

In an entirely un-Prior like experience, Prior-like Cubs ace Rich Harden threw in a game for the first time this Spring.  There was no towel in sight and his fastball topped out at 92 MPH. 

Goat Friend Bruce Miles breaks my heart by writing a fear-mongering article about the Cardinals.  Miles also reports that if Guatemala and Belize go communist, then Mexico will be the next domino to fall and we must sacrifice all of our freedoms because if we don't then Bin Laden's terrorist network will get us.  How could you, Bruce?

Up later tonight: Mike Stanton's someday-soon pointless Player Preview!

Update: Screw it.  We'll do a Player Preview Double Shot tomorrow.  I'm going to bed.

WTF!??!

Every once in a while, something strange happens here on GROTA. I'll be blogging away, minding my own business, saying ridiculous things like...

  • Alfonso Soriano was brought on board to babysit Aramis Ramirez! (Which, if you think about it, is about as ridiculous as saying that he was brought on to be a steady leadoff man...)
  • So Taguchi should make the Cubs roster because he looks craaaaayzeeee!
  • The Cubs are going to win 120 games this year!
  • Dusty Baker had his good qualities!

I - or the other guys on this site - will write ridiculous things like that, and people will actually take us seriously! I understand that it's hard sometimes to read intent. It's kind of like the recent article linked by Colin regarding Milton Bradley. If you don't like Crazy Milton -- and in fact, calling him "Crazy Milton" might be a good indication that you don't -- then you might read a tone that wasn't there when he communicated his intent to play every day, even if he's hurt. I think Milton intended to convey a desire to play games. I think he succeeded in convincing people who already didn't like him that he's selfish and will quit on the team if he doesn't feel good.

Similarly, Jason wrote an article yesterday in which he said "Li'l Ryan Demspter struggled last year with the 2008 Cubs, failing to win 20 games for the 10 straight year, and most attribute his struggles to a general inability to fit in south of the Great Lakes." This was hot on the trail of him saying that Corey Koskie has been invited to try out with the Cubs in order to give Dempster the kind of companionship that no American citizen can understand -- while ignoring that Rich Harden is also a Cannuck, but I digress. The day previous, I'd written an article about So Taguchi in which I said that he should make the Cubs because ... "that crazy expression, those insane eyes, the #99 worn on his back, So Taguchi just might be crazy enough to be casted for a Tarentino movie. Maybe he's not crazy enough to tell Derrek Lee he's 'got no marbles,' or to stand on the outfield wall to rob a guy of a homerun, but I've seen this movie and we need our lovable, not-understandable scallywags. Unless Carlos Zambrano really steps up his game in 2009, then Taguchi just might be that guy."

So, I will preface myself by saying that I'm not trying to call out the GROTA Army member who thought Jason was serious, because he's neither the first nor the last to respond to something written here - or anywhere - with a WTF?!!? moment. But I have to admit that his WTF?!!? moment caused meself to have my own WTF?!!? moment because while we do write seriously - and sometimes even intelligently! - about the Cubs, we in no way, shape, or form take ourselves too seriously and neither should you. Really, anytime you read a GROTA article that doesn't have at least one attempt at a joke, then we are not doing our jorbs. And some articles - like Intern Sammy, or a Player Preview about a guy with just better than a snowball's chance of making the team - are all jokes, all the time. (Not necessarily funny jokes, but jokes nevertheless.)

Therefore, I have just one simple request to make to everybody who's reading this. We're don't always have the right opinion, we often don't even have the popular opinion, but if you read something that provokes your WTF!??! reflex, assume that what we wrote was in jest. And if you don't understand it no matter how often you read what we wrote, then at least say something like "I'm missing the joke, but I assume you're kidding" before going all WTF!??! up in our grill. At least it will save you the burden of having to read a long, explanatory article like this one which brings nothing to the table regarding the Chicago Cubs.

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