Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Zambrano is a friggin' beast, Part XVIII

also: the Unofficial Goatrider Stance on Banning commenters

Thank you Big League Stew for what should be the Official Picture of Goatriders

Don't Wake Daddy said it was "up to Bradley standards".  Sweet Lou remarked that he himself, number 41, "was the calmest person around" after Z's public display.  Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster learned one of the basic tenets of Euchre, "Don't send a boy out to do a man's job!"  Dempster merely tore off the front shield of the G Machine; Lilly merely got thrown out of a game. Points to both for their passion; but neither receive any points for panache

Please don't misunderstand - I do not in the least way CONDONE Z's behavior yesterday.  He will most certainly earn a lengthy in-school suspension; he will further muddy an already fluid roster situation; and his lack of participation in what I am guessing will be at least two starts will cost us at least one win.  Piniella will have to press both Marshall and Wells in the starting roles, and probably will also have to bring someone else up from Des Moines for a spot start, all of which will over-burden a bullpen already containing the shit-tastic David Patton and the increasingly worthless Aaron Heilman. (thanks to Deadspin for the G abuse pic)

What's more, the play in question wasn't, in my opinion anyway, worth all the hysteria.  I've seen at least 10 worse calls already this year.  Nyjer Morgan is not many things, but he is quite speedy.

I think we were all hoping Senor Zambrano had matured and gotten past such churlish acts.  In lieu of acquiring Certain Staff Ace Jake Peavy, we need Z to show some Positive Leadership, and I don't think THAT was how it was done.

It DID make it in the network nightly news, not to mention SportsCenter.

Now, on to banning:

Outside of malicious acts of spamming or frequent and willful inability to follow the brief, sketchy guidelines of behavior here on the Goat, we will never ban anyone merely for the act of voicing one's opinion.  Squelching free speech is a douche-worthy act better left to pollyellons and other such Socialists.

That having been said, I came across a lot of flak when I dared make the statement that the Cute-n-cuddly Geo Soto has just been stabbin' us through the heart since he returned from the Beans-n-Rice Festival, a/k/a the World Baseball Classic.  Some of it was somewhat reasoned, hey, if you want to hang the blame on his sporadic activity there, as the third catcher on a roster that barely calls for two.  I merely point out that the sporadic activity did not seem to harm Yadier Molina, who also rode a lot of bench for Puerto Rico as the Formerly Swollen Pudge hogged the spotlight in a completely transparent MLB tryout.  Not to mention the aforementioned Lilly, who literally gathered moss as less talented men than he got lit up for Our Team.

You want to stick up for our reigning Rookie of the Year?  Once again, I implore you to Live in the Now, or alternatively, feel free to go out to a Baseball Reference to look up previous ROYs and consider their contribution in their second year and beyond.  Being a ROY many times points to likely future success, but it is not guaranteed.  Todd Hollandsworth was a ROY, for God's sake.  Wasn't Ben Grieve?  If anything, once you become a ROY, you have to worked harder, not less hard.

The point I want to make today, is simply, LEARN TO effin READ!!  I never said I hated Soto, and I never said we needed to trade him, or release him, or give his spot to Three-Finger Hill or Beef Wellington on a permanent basis.  What I HAVE said is, as more than a casual observer of both the Chicago Cubs and of Human Nature, that he is not working as hard, he has taken his role for granted, and he needs a serious attitude adjustment, now, if not sooner.  As the catcher and a middle-of-the-order hitter, he occupies an oversized role in Our Future Success.  He is not merely 1/25th or even 1/9th of this team - I would say closer to 1/4.   In this day of age, a superior catcher gives his team a clear competitive advantage!  I anoited him the Cubs MVP last year, over Clutchy and Mark DeRosa d/b/a the Second Coming!!

But this year, his league-worst OPS+ and GIDP, along with his 22% stolen-base  prevention, is a major reason (nay, the biggest reason) why this team with the 3rd highest payroll in the major leagues is one game over .500.  As I stated yesterday, this is a simple fact, and honestly, if you disagree with the previous sentence, then not only are you not watching the same ball games I am, you also cannot read and comprehend English.

And if you are a kool-aid drinking, non-reading, deluded sheep-bleating Cubbie Fan who simply CAN'T STAND IT when someone criticizes one of their heroes, well, we aren't gonna ban you, because that just starts a bad precedent.  I would, though, ask (just this once, nicely), if it is you (and if your handle starts with the name of a large Asian country, yes, you are amongst them), if you do not want to read criticism of the Chicago Cubs, then go away.  This little reststop is not for the likes of you.

For I will keep calling spades spades, I will call Geo Soto a listless, fat prima donna with a sense of entitlement, and I will swarm over him and anyone else that DARES to drag us down to yet another year of defeat and humiliation.  And if you don't like it, then scoot out of here and go wack your willy over regression charts over at THT, or suckle at the milky blue teat over at BCB.  And leave ME the f**k alone.

And as one guy who disagreed

And as one guy who disagreed with your stance on Soto -- and agreed with your take on the other guys you were calling out -- I never said you hated him or anything. I just pointed out the following:

1. You said he needed to make changes. I noted that since the start of May he's been hitting a lot of singles, drawing a lot of walks, and consequently was batting about .290 with an about .390 OBP. To me that looks like a player who's changed his approach at the plate to compensate for his inability to hit. The question becomes this: can he turn the singles into doubles and homers? If the answer is yes, and there's no reason for it not to be, then Soto will be fine... even if he doesn't surpass (or even match) last year's total.

2. About the caught stealing deal ... maybe we forget, but early in the season he almost went on the DL due to a sore throwing shoulder. I'm not convinced it is healed or that he's fully healthy. The Cubs seem very reluctant to DL anybody this year, but would you be surprised if we later learn that he's got a bum arm which has been affecting everything else?

3. I don't think he's the blame for the team's failings much as I don't think he was the reason for their success last year. I think it has more to do with how, last year, the lineup was stacked and everybody produced. This year on a good day only 75% of the lineup is hitting the way we THOUGHT they would. Usually 4 of the Cubs 8 starters are slumping all at once. THAT has been the problem in my opinion.

4. People misreading your take and attributing you an opinion you never made is effing typical and annoying. I posted an article for another blog the other day in which I joked that David Ortiz should go train with Jose Canseco in order to "inject" some power back into his stroke. A reader on that blog responded by calling me a yellow journalist for accusing Ortiz of steroid use without proof. Just saying... I know you don't "hate" Soto. You just have concerns like the rest of us.

On the whole I probably agree with about 75-80% of your concerns, but I've got (at least in my opinion) very good reasons for disagreeing with the others. Probably the best part about GROTA isn't that we disagree with the readers but that we often disagree with ourselves. I doubt there's a single subject in which every Goat Writer agrees entirely. That's a GOOD thing, eh?

wow, sounds like maybe you need to take some of your own advice

You probably could have done without the entire last 3 paragraphs of your post Rob. I don't usually post here, I'm usually quite content just reading everyone's thoughts and interesting articles. But your rant inspired me, so here it goes.

What's so ironic about your post is you're taking everyone to task for disagreeing with your stance on Soto. Yet you turn around and tell them that if they can't handle disagreements that they should go some place like BCB? Am I the only one that senses the extreme hypocrisy of your post? I mean not only do you go off on people that disagree with you, but you do so in a really unconstructive manner.

Now before you accuse me of being a "kool-aid drinking, non-reading, deluded sheep-bleating Cubbie Fan" then let me just state, that I love to have debates regarding baseball, and more specifically the cubs. However, I just think when you use your position as an author on GROTA, to call people out for disagreeing with you, and do so in a fairly juvenile manner, that it doesn't really help you gain any legitimacy in the eyes of the people you're trying to debate with.

Just my 2 cents. Thanks for the interesting posts!

The problem isn't the

The problem isn't the disagreeing. The problem is when readers -- and I get this ALL the time -- mischaracterize your stance, criticize you for something you never said, and sometimes get all-out hostile ... only for them to turn around and act shocked and appalled when you defend your stance on the topic in question.

It's like a common internet problem it seems.


Yeah, those readers. Curse them and their hostility.

Theoretically, if those readers were saying stuff like:

"And if you don't like it, then scoot out of here and go wack your willy over regression charts over at THT, or suckle at the milky blue teat over at BCB. And leave ME the f**k alone."

That would totally illustrate your point. Since that hasn't been going on, I, like you, will continue looking for thought provoking posts. Well, that is, as soon as I "LEARN TO effin READ!!"

Yours truly,
Stevie Wonder

I guess you've never seen how

I guess you've never seen how *I* respond when dealing with people who run off in the wrong direction with something I said. Considering that I have begged Cubbie Downers to vacate this blog and have loudly wished I could quit certain individuals from reading this website, Rob's reaction is hardly over the line.

Now, I've EMailed you personally and said twice publicly that your comment was NOT deleted by any of us. Either you think I'm a liar or you're just being malicious at this point. Nevertheless, a LOT of people disagreed with Rob about his take on Soto. I was one of them, and yet I didn't take his angry response to be directed at ME. So why are you acting as if you are the sole audience of his diatribe?

Anyway, if you had to choose between reading vanilla blogs or visiting one in which people will loudly disagree with you to the point of losing their cool -- including the site writers at times -- then I assume that this is the place for you.

2 things

1) I use a junk email when I sign up for stuff. So I visit that email address about as often as George Brett poops his pants (roughly twice a year). Fine, my post was lost in the shuffle. Hopefully now I'll cease this unending maliciousness.

2) I've re-read what I wrote. I think it's a reach to even imply I suggested I was the sole audience. However, it should be noted, I was the only person quasi mentioned by name.

I found this site over the winter because I thought that Colin Wyers guy had some insightful stuff to say. It was nice to find a blog that was Cub specific and had interesting analysis. Whether or not there are arguments, I don't really care. I mean, it's fun to tease Ogre a little bit, but loud disagreements are not why I'm here. So, thanks for providing a forum for people to say interesting things.

Colin is a great, great

Colin is a great, great writer. You like teh numbrrs?

Almost Agree

It's impossible to deny the sadly declining production of Soto this season (unless you're a little "slow" or a White Sox fan), whether it be for reason of injury or the ROY second-year slump. So I won't disagree with your stance on his production, because that would make me an idiot*, but I do have to disagree with some points that I find to be very unfair.

* We still haven't ruled out this possibility.

Among your complaints about Geo is that he has been, "not working as hard, he has taken his role for granted, and he needs a serious attitude adjustment". Further he is called a "listless prima donna with a sense of entitlement". I find ALL of these complaints unfair. I'm just curious as to what you base these thoughts on?? I watch a lot of games and I haven't witnessed a decline in effort from Soto offensively or defensively**. Furthermore, I don't think either of us have the proper authority to say he has a sense of entitlement, has taken his role for granted, or needs an attitude adjustment. These are personal attacks that need a knowledge of the man's CHARACTER*** in order to be confirmed. I've never spoken to Soto and you probably haven't either, so all we have to judge his character on is on-field performance, and nothing I've seen from this performance indicates he possesses any of these character flaws.

** Last year in a game against Washington, Soto struck out 5 times. After the game he gushed about how proud he was of his pitching staff for throwing a great game. He didn't sulk. It wasn't all about him. Yes, it was last season not this season, but this gives us a little glimpse of his character traits.

*** We know he's been playing with a sore shoulder, though the extent of the injury is unknown. Regardless of the severity, can we agree that trying to play through this to help the team contradicts the notion that he is lazy, listless, and a prima donna?? Not to mention, catcher isn't a position where you find a lot of prima donnas.

So yes, you can whack on Soto's performance, and I feel you are justified in doing this, as his production has been terrible this year. But personal attacks on his character aren't warranted, I just don't think we know enough about Geovany Soto the person to make these claims. Sure, we get small hints based on witnessing on-field conduct, as I did from the paragraph above, but I've seen nothing to indicate he has these character traits that you claim.

Say he sucks at the plate. Say he can't throw out runners. But neither you or I are close enough to Geovany Soto to criticize his work ethic or mental state.

hank white approved of this

hank white approved of this character.

i do believe he is injured though. as more steal, more will steal.

There's this old Steve Martin bit...

... from back in the late 70s when he was at his best. At the end of this rant, he screams "I AM ANGRY!"

I think you could have summarized with just those 3 words and saved a lot of time.

Before my post was deleted, I noted that you can't actually send David Patton down since he's a Rule 5 pick. Additionally I noted that Wellington Castillo is under performing Soto, in AA, so it would be hard to imagine that by sending Soto down and calling Castillo up that the cubs would be instantly better, as you asserted. Did you know that Soto's CS% was only 4% higher all of last year than it is this year? It's not like he's fallen off a cliff. He's just not a giant threat behind the plate to throw guys out.

Offensively, his BB rate is consistent, his K rate is consistent, he shows great plate discipline (rates of swings in and out of the strike zone similar to Milton Bradley), and his line drive rates are consistent, they just aren't finding the gaps yet. I never particularly enjoy when guys get critiqued for hitting into a lot of double plays, so his 9 already this year are very fluky and not really indicative of anything, I don't believe. Soto's updated ZiPS show him ending up worse than last year, but still + for the position. Lastly, Soto is not a middle of the order bat, never has been. I'm going to gather from how regularly note how much of the Cubs you watch, you've noted he generally hits 6th or 7th.

I think I've presented enough evidence here to illustrate that the Cubs don't have an option that's an upgrade over Soto.

As to your declaration that Soto's performance to this point is the key reason why the Cubs flirt with mediocrity, I would only say that I have to believe that's the most outlandish point in your post. If Soto were hitting .300 with 8 homers right now, the Cubs would still be rolling out an infield of Freel/Theriot/Miles/Hoffpauir some days and the Cubs would maybe have one more win to hang their hats on. You've gotta be pretty blind to not acknowledge the absence of Ramirez, the plummeting offensive output of Soriano, and the slow starts of Bradley and Fontenot as the key reasons the Cubs are where they are. Soto's start, while slow, is really a marginal contributing factor in the Cubs current record. Cumulatively, counting the pitcher, that's 2/3 of the lineup who is either missing or gonna struggle to hit (and I'm being kind by leaving Lee out of this).

In general, I want to reiterate what I said yesterday. Your posts are really a joy for me to read. I've been trying to think of the right analogy for your posts. It's like if Larry the Cable Guy tried telling 'The Aristocrats' joke. It's like reading the lyrics to a Toby Keith song. It's like watching those interviews with the Iraqi Information Minister in 2003. "We have slaughtered the infidels at the airport!!!"

Keep up the great posts. I love them all.

I love Zambrano!

I disagree with your opinions about Zambrano. His passion is a big reason I love that the guy wears a Cub uniform, stands on the mound and swings a big stick (from both sides of the plate). He's a gamer, he's passionate, and he WANTS to win. I was even impressed how he blocked the plate - many pitchers don't assume such a catcher-like position.

And, I thought the call was wrong. I wouldn't have reacted that way, but I love Z's passion.

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