Predictions, Projections, and Psychotic Bloggers. In the shortest month of the year, the month in which Pitchers and Catchers report, predictions, projections, and psychotic bloggers go together like peas-n-carrots, or pro athletes-n-Kardashians.
Like the rest of you, I've had a long, dreary winter to think about the State of the Cubs. Actually, probably more than the rest of you, since I have been functioning as a ward of the state since New Years' Eve. And what conclusion have I drawn with my massive chess club brain, and all the time I've had to sit here and compile? Well, in 50 words or less:
The soulless corporation sold the Cubs to actual people. The new owners seem more interested in Wrigley Field than the Cubs. Their biggest moves, so far, have been the wacky hire of an expensive coach, the trade of a discontented yet talented black guy, and the refurbishment of the bathrooms. OMG!! We have returned to the P. K. Wrigley era!!
I tell you kind people that I don't even have my sarcasm key held down as I type all this. However, I understand the special financial circumstances the Ricketts are under at the present moment, and while I might and should expect them to chuck the general ledger aside and just Win, baby? It appears that they are digging in for the long haul as owners. It is clear that the Tom Ricketts does not share the same urgency for a winner as I do. It is obvious that he and his family will not go broke by winning at all costs. There seems to be a four-year period that they need to pay down a special loan that they hadn't counted on having to use when they first made the offer for the Cubs.
Just, coincidentally, this is about the same amount of time that the Cubs still need to pay Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. I suppose if I were the billionaire owners of the Cubs, and although I am a fan, I am not as overwrought as the guy writing on that blog. And, if I had several all-star ballplayers that I had to pay eight figure salaries to, I would expect the players to go out, and win, with minimal help from me. And, when their contracts are finally paid off, and my special financial deal is finally satisfied, I will finally adopt the degree of urgency that the blogger has, and I will hire my own General Manager, and go after the players I really want, and win at all costs.
So, when all was said and done this winter, our roster is fairly static, so it ought to be fairly easy for us to Preview the 2010 Season, one Cub at a time! We pretty much know who we have, and what we have, and between now and Opening Day in Atlanta, we're gonna pass our sweet-and-savory flavor along to you in single player slices. So come back, early and often, because this is a fun time of the year - in fact, most years, it's the most fun time of the year.
Let's hope not, for 2010, though.
Cub Blogger Nation has evolved, or devolved over the years, depending on your point of view. It appears that some of our best and brightest, and I sincerely mean it when I say it, have done their best to close the gap between themselves and what we'd call the 'legitimate media', which means the Sun-Times, Tribune and Herald, WGN radio, and the collection of TV outlets. They've met, befriended and betrayed, variously, Len Kasper, David Kaplan, Paul Sullivan, Bruce Miles, and others.
I mean, I see it. I'm not going to name names today, but I have met, broke bread with, sat at games with, and have followed the exploits of nearly all of the principals in last week's Cub Blogger Catfight. They are closer to the media action than we are here. They are closer to Chicago in proximity, they know people who know people, and if I had the combination of a) proximity, b) time, c) connections, I would do exactly the same thing.
I was jealous when a few of them got to be on Kaplan's show last month, I won't kid you. In fact, once upon I time, I considered myself to be equal to those guys in terms of notoriety, but due to the reasons cited above, plus some notable and unfortunate lack of focus in my personal life, I have fallen off the grid a bit. Yes, when I started writing about the Cubs starting in 1998, it was initially a journaling exercise, but after a few initial successes, I saw perhaps a future in the media surrounding the Cubs for myself.
And it may still happen, to a certain extent, someday, but there have been some decisions I have made, which many of the principals know about, that have caused me to separate from the inner circle of Cub blogdom that seems to have some connection to the "legit media".
What that means, for me, is that I don't get to do fun stuff like go on "Sports Central". But what that means, for you, that we don't have any affiliations with anyone that may serve to color our viewpoint of what we REALLY feel is important; simply, the chances that this God-forsaken franchise will ever win a Pennant and/or World Championship in our lifetimes.
I come out here to express my views on how close, or far away, the Chicago Cubs are from winning it all in any given year. So does Kurt and AJ, and whomever else comes along in the future. Now, sometimes, we'll hear something said or written by another blogger, or a member of the media, that is so contrary to the real picture that we may comment on it. That concept seems to be the core concept that is driving many of the most well-known Cubs blogs.
They've gotten too close, in my humble opinion. We here are unbeholden, and our only bias is to the success of the Cubs baseball team. Whether the announcers say dumb stuff or the game recaps and trade rumors in the paper are dumb, really doesn't matter much to us. This is all about the Blue W on the White Flag, nothing more or less.
This is where you can always go to find out what a small group of rabidly observant Cub fans notice about the team. End of story. Go Cubs!!
So many things to blog about, so little time. I wanted to write an article defending Sammy Sosa, but it'll have to wait. I wanted to expand upon my opinion that Lou Piniella isn't helping this team, but there's no time for that just now. Instead, I will have to regrettably talk about one of our Cubs blogging neighbors, Another Cubs Blog.
Here's the short end of it: they don't like Rob.
Actually, based on what I've seen of their work, they don't really like much of anybody. I'd say that a tremendous amount of their content is driven by shouting down the opinions of other blogs they don't agree with. Be it Al Yellon, or Rob, or pretty much anything, ACB seems to not be content driven so much as they are counter-program driven.
The only problem is that it gets old. I'm sorry, but is it really a big accomplishment to produce content that seems to almost exclusively be anti-everybody? How is that compelling? And it's not even like they do it well.
It's as if they want to be the Thought Police. I don't regularly read their washed-out, want-ads-looking blog but when I do, usually what they seem to harp on is how certain kinds of fans should not be allowed to exist. As if theirs is a superior fan or something -- and I'm sorry, Dave, Maddog, MB21, whatever you want to call yourself -- there is nothing superior about being a borderline illiterate douchebag with reading comprehension issues.
On a number of occasions, we've butted heads with Dave while trying to remain cordial. Which didn't stop him losing his mind when I tried to make him a friendly bet regarding the '09 play of Mark DeRosa and Mike Fontenot, which he tried to turn into a $1,000 bet about the '09 play of Mark DeRosa and Adam Dunn. He seems to flip between this bipolar point of view that we (GROTA) are either non-comprehensible or we're good, minus the continued existence of Rob (which doesn't stop his hangers-on from taking pissy little shots at this blog whenever we are linked over there).
Not to mention that if I have the gall to show support for Rob -- or any of the writers at GROTA -- Dave's response tends to be "how dare you defend something I criticize!" As if it's against some kind of bizarre internet rule to have a defensible point of view.
Anyway, Dave, my message to you is this: you're doing it wrong. Just "it" in general -- y'know, life. Existence. I'm sorry, I mean no offense but anybody whose rhetoric leaves the Bad News Cubs statfag douchebag with a sense of vindication has to be a total flipping moron. Maybe -- instead of shouting down contrary opinions to your own -- you should spend less time reading writers you can't stand and more time developing original thoughts. (It's just an idea to explore, don't get mad)
People expressing contrary opinions is not a bad thing. People getting so violently upset about contrary opinions that they suggest suicide to the opinion-makers, however, is not a good thing.
Of course, you're welcome to your opinion. I'm sure you'll be expressing it later today. I can only promise you that whether you express that opinion incoherently on your blog, or in an EMail to me, or even as a comment here on GROTA, I will not be reading it. You know how you sometimes say that you will no longer be reading this blog or that blog because they're so idiotic? Congratulations, your Counter-Programming Blog has reached that level with me -- and unlike you, I actually enjoy not reading things that I find to be completely devoid of compelling content. Which means that, if I am lucky, Dave, I will never have to read something you write ever again.
In the meantime, while you are busy playing the Thought Police, I can't help but note that while you are not Rob's biggest fan, you will probably remain his most ardent reader. Thanks for that, we appreciate the links.