Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Time Running Out

After the All-star break is when we for the most part we got back a fully healthy team. The win streaks were expected, but have never really happened. We keep waiting and waiting for the team to take off, and nothing happens. At one point you have to realize our best baseball of the year is only when playing sub .500 teams. So I went back and looked at how the Cubs and Cardinals have done since the All-star break, with both teams being relatively healthy.

Cubs 2 game losing streaks - 4
Cards 2 game losing streaks - 2

Cubs 2 game winning streaks - 2
Cards 2 game winning streaks - 1

Cubs 3 game losing streaks - 2
Cards 3 game losing streaks - 0

Cubs 4 game winning streaks - 1
Cards 4 game winning streaks - 0

Cubs 5 game winning streaks - 1
Cards 5 game winning streaks - 3

Cards 7 game winning streaks - 1

The most obvious note is that the Cardinals have on three seperate occasions ripped off three 5 game winnings streaks and even have a 7 game mixed in. They havent had one monster run of stringing together 15 straight wins to get to where they have. It is a bunch of small streaks. The Cards will lose a game and then start a streak, thus building on the previous one. What did the Cubs do after winning 5 straight? They go out and lose 3 straight totally destroying any momentum they could build on. Its fine to lose hear and there, I dont expect a win every single day. But I also don't like seeing a team get a nice little win streak and then totally flush it down the toilet in the next series.

These are all bad omens for the playoffs. Most Cubs fans are clinging to the belief we will be the Marlins of last year this year because they won the WS through the wild card. One major difference was the Marlins were playing lousy baseball and then found the groove and won mostly in the second half. Atlanta is that kind of team this year. Floundering for a month or two and BOOM, 20+ games over .500, 1st place in the division. Then we look at the Chicago Cubs, we have floundered for 130ish odd games. If we are such a great team don't you think a Florida Marlins St. Louis Cardinals, or Atlanta Braves type of month should be coming, like soon?

At 100 games left people were like we have time.
80 games left, we still have time, no worries.
60 games left, they will start winning soon.
40 games left, hot streak just around the corner.
30 games left, false alarm.
0 games left, wait till next year?

I wish this team would play with a sense of urgency, instead of losing 8-0 to the Expos tonight in a series you should sweep. Excuses should of been checked at the door after the All-star break. There is no excuse for the pathetic play of this team since.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

So We Had a Chance To....

I had to qoute this poster from The Cub Reporter

Bleeding Blue said: So, in the past month we've had a chance to put some distance between us and the Giants, and failed. We had a chance to put the Padres well into our rear view mirror, at home, and we failed. Now we had a chance to finish off the Astros, again at home, and we failed.

Anyone want to guess how close Florida will be to the wild card after we get done with them?

I am guessin Florida will be even or one game back after kicking our ass. Florida has good pitching, and good hitting. Teams like that we can't beat. Its gonna get ugly guys.

The Madness Continues

You see why I can't get behind any Cubs winning streak now? Just when you think the team is going to go on a roll they come out and drop 2 straight to Houston.

If you need any more proof that the Cubs antics on the field are being watched closely by MLB read this.

"I wanted to remind both managers that if things got out of hand there would be discipline," said Garcia, who watched Friday's game and will attend Sunday's. "The games are too important [for that]. I think the disposition of both teams is very good."

Garcia said his umpiring crew already had filed reports with MLB disciplinarian Bob Watson over several incidents Friday, including Barrett's oral sparring with Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, Kent Mercker's plunking of Oswalt and Mercker's shouting at umpires immediately after the game.

Watson reportedly was watching Friday's game in New York because of the possibility of bad-blood payback.

Watson "just asked what I saw and I reported what I saw," Garcia said. "He sounded like he was pretty much up to date on what was going on. I thought he knew more than me."

That appears to me that Barrett and Mercker could be seeing some suspensions if the umpire crews have already filed reports. I dont know, but when are Cubs players going to get it through their heads that jaw jacking doesn't win baseball games. Whining to the umpires doesn't win ball games. Getting suspended doesn't win ball games.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Ends His Own Misery

Farnsworth is pitching so bad he decided to kick a electric fan.

Farnsworth was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained and bruised right knee Saturday, one day after he gave up six runs in the ninth inning to the Houston Astros. Farnsworth, who'd been struggling, threw his glove in the stands as he left the field following the six-run ninth that helped the Astros to a 15-7 victory.
Then, as he went back to the Cubs clubhouse, he kicked an electric fan that sits in the runway from the dugout, manager Dusty Baker said. Farnsworth was on crutches Saturday and declined comment.

Silly, silly boy.

Cubs trainer Dave Groeschner said Farnsworth had an MRI exam, which ruled out ligament damage, but he does have a lot inflammation in his knee.

"From what he did, he almost hyperextended it," Groeschner said, estimating it be three-to-four weeks until Farnsworth can pitch.

My rule of thumb, tack on 1 week to every week Dave Groescher expects a player to miss. Which means Farnsworth is done for the season, and good riddance. Which should seal Farnsworth's ERA for the year at 5.00+.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Oh That Silly Farnsworth

Didn't I say a week or two ago that there was plenty of time to get Farnsworth's ERA over 5.00? Well today he accomplish his goal of every even numbered year of having a 5.00+ ERA. He Still has time to bring it down, but don't count on it, count on it to get worse.

Cubs down 9-6 heading into the 9th, with a realistic chance of rallying in the bottom of the 9th. Yet Farsnworth strolls to the mound and gives up 6 earned runs in the top of the 9th to put Houston up 15-6. Way to go buddy, you have gone from an eye lash of being a closer to not even being good enough for basic mop up duties. You sicken me. Not even a new hair cut can change what goes on inside your pea brain.

With that said, I still want to bring him back next year so he can wow everyone with his 2.00 ERA and everyone can start saying, "He should be a closer." "Why isn't he a closer?" And then pawn his ass off on someone else before we start saying what I have been saying this year, "And people wonder why Farnsworth isn't a closer."

Oh No He Didn't Cheat!

By now your aware of Julian Taveraz being suspened by MLB for having a foreign substance. Most Cubs fans know this guy was never playing with a full deck in his time with the team. But still crazy doesn't automatically mean cheater. However you need to go over to
Redbird Nation and read the comments on the post about all the controversy.

These same Cardinals fans who slammed Sosa, don't want to believe that one of their own was caught cheating. While Sosa may be a bigger name they are willing to believe any crazy, whacked out conspiracy theory to get Taveraz off the hook. Yet no way could Sosa of picked up the wrong bat! He knew he was cheatin! Yeah, ok. A cheater is a cheater, whether he did it purposely or by accident. Serve your suspension and never do it again. Stop being hypocrits Cards fans.

Ohh Yeah Baseball

Haven't posted much in the last couple days because of the begining of college. Also it kind of ties in with my Cubs superstition. If your doing a certain thing and the Cubs roll off a winning streak, keep doing that certain thing. It can't hurt.

Anyways it appears the Cubs may have dodged a bullet in the waiver wire...

Whether the Cubs could have made a deal for Pittsburgh closer Jose Mesa never will be known, because another National League team put a claim in for him before the Cubs did.

The Cubs' interest in Mesa was marginal, as they were not prepared to give the Pirates any minor-league player of significant value. It's unlikely a deal would have been consummated, but the Cubs indeed are looking for right-handed relief.

The unknown team that claimed Mesa has until noon Friday to make a deal.

Jose Mesa is about the lowest level closer you can get before you start getting into setup men to be your closer. To get Jose Mesa is like adding another Kyle Farnsworth to the team. You just never know when he will blow up. You never have 100% confidence in his abilities to finish a game.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Corey Patterson Profile of the Season

Patterson is having a good season in my eyes. He has suffered from the usual ups and downs from a player still in the learning stages. But the key is he is learning. And you always want to see that from young players. My typical whipping boy Alex Gonzalez never showed signs of improving or wanting to improve. That is why Toronto gave up on him.

The splits on Patterson are interesting. I pointed out these splits when he was in a slump and alot of people were saying he was a bust and demanded he be sent to AAA or benched.

The splits in Patterson's numbers show a patient hitter below the surface. With nobody on base he probably tends to over swing and strike out more. But with runners on base he either concentrates more or attempts to put the ball in play more. He understands what to do with runners on base, and change his approach.

None on he hits .271 - .318 OBP - 7 HR - 17 BB - 66 SO's - 262 AB's
Runners on he hits .294 - .355 OBP - 10 HR's - 47 RBI - 17 BB - 45 SO's - 194 AB's.

The runners on stat is what I want to see out of Patterson's over all numbers in future years. People get on base ahead of him and he is pretty good at knocking them in.

RISP shows signs also of being a more patient hitter.

RISP - .247 BA - .343 OBP - 33 RBI - 13 BB - 28 SO's - 93 AB's.

While the batting average is not what we would want he has shown the ability to take the walk to extend an inning. I despise .250 hitters who have .280 OBP. I can live with a .250 hitter who gets on base around .340-.350. At least they are still in some aspect helping he team. Hopefully in future years he can raise that average.

Two surprising splits is his hitting with RISP and 2 outs and close and late.

.280 BA - .357 OBP - 21 RBI - 5 BB - 15 SO's - 50 AB's

Close and Late..

.297 BA - .350 OBP - 6 RBI - 5 BB - 21 SO's - 74 AB's

The last split is what some people might refer to as the Clutch stat. I dont really buy into that. If a guy knocks in a run in the 1st inning and that is the only run in the game, isnt that clutch as well? Does clutch only happen in close and late situations? I just like to see his OBP around the .350 mark in key situations.

Currently Pattersons totals stand at..

.284 BA - .337 OBP - 25 2b - 5 3b - 17 HR - 54 RBI - 68 Runs - 23 SB - 34 BB - 113 SO's.

The Batting average is good. The OBP needs to get a bit higher. Extra base power is fine. Steals are fine. Needs to walk more around the 70-80 mark to be ideal. And needs to cut down his SO's alot, though I think he will always be a 100+ a year strikeout player.

Overall I think they are excellent numbers to build off of in the coming years and he is proving last year's half season was no fluke.

One final note is his outfield defense. Which has been outstanding. He is quickly gaining a reputation of a powerful and accurate outfield arm. He has 7 assists, and 4 DP's from the OF to go along with 1 error and a .996 Fielding %.

In comparision Jim Edmonds has 9 OF assits, 3 Errors, 2 DP's and a .988 Fielding %
Steve Finley - 5 OF assits - 2 Errors - 3 DP's - .992 Fielding %.

Winning a gold glove on the other hand? I don't see that happening. With the way Gold Gloves are slanted to the ones that are better offensively, Patterson is still way behind the likes of Edmonds, Finley, and Beltran in that regard.

Keep up the good work Corey, and keep on improving and working on your bunting skills. You have a bright career in Chicago.

Throwin It Away

I am still not ready to believe in any win streaks this team puts up against sub .500 teams. On that note this is what Hawkins had to say after the loss.

"We're playing good baseball," Hawkins said. "You can't let one win, I mean one loss, set you back. We've played too well to let this one loss get us down."

Did I miss our long winning streak? Did I miss us taking it to the Wild Card teams and extending our lead in the wild card race? So playing good baseball is taking 2 from Milwaukee and 1 from Houston? I think I need a bit more than the last few games to start saying we are playing good baseball. Especially after the dismal performance by Hawkins.

But Baker keeps think the dominate streak is coming from the Cubs.

"That's OK," Baker said. "We'll get over the hump. Just keep playing."

40 Games left, time is running out.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Lee: Glad to see Dusty Baker going with Derek Lee in the #2 slot and the offense has responded. Lee or Walker I don't care as long as the Cubs keep a good OBP guy in the #2 slot this team will start winning more games.

Patterson:I understand players need a day off, but I hate it when Dusty rewards a guy after having an awesome game by benching him the next day. Tom Goodwin got the start today in CF. Way to take advantage of a player locked in. Just bench him so he loses that mental edge.

I swear Baker can't stand the younger players on his teams having any kind of success. And he must be really pissed off that Patterson is hitting .330 in the #1 spot. How dare he actually hit! That isn't part of the plan! Your supposed to suck, like Tom Goodwin and Jose Macias! You haven't earned the right to be good Patterson!

Future Vision

If Nomar Garciapparra doesn't resign with the Cubs this off-season the Cubs have just aquired his replacement.

The Cubs signed free-agent infielder Neifi Perez to a minor league contract on Thursday. He will be assigned to Triple A Iowa.

Perez opened the season with the San Francisco Giants and was released on August 13. He appeared in 120 games for the Giants, batting .232 with 15 extra-base hits and 33 RBI.

Perez was originally signed by the Colorado Rockies in 1992 and spent eight-plus seasons in the organization. In 2000, he became just the second player in Rockies history to win a Gold Glove

All glove, no stick.

Can someone explain to me the Cubs organization's affliction for .250-.260ish hitters with .290-.300 OBP's? Let's run down the ones we have signed in the last year alone....Jose Macias, Rey Ordonez, Rickey Gutierrez, Damian Jackson, Gookie Dawkins and now Neifi Perez.

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise. If you suck and you play the infield, we need you on our team! It is amazing all these guys were free agents when we picked them up. Those other MLB teams really are stupid for not getting these gems. Suckers!

Sosa Moves Down

Not many people will give credit to Sosa for moving down in the order. Infact most will probably ignore it and still say Sosa is a selfish bastard.

"I was a little bit upset [Tuesday night]," Baker said. "I had a few drinks. When I got back to my room, my wife said Sammy had called three times. So I called him and he answered the phone immediately. He just told me that he thought it was better for the team and the way he is going to drop himself down in the order.

"I told him I had been thinking about it for a while. He said he wanted to help us get to the playoffs and the World Series."

"I have been thinking about this for a week. And [Tuesday night] I made it official," Sosa said. "I'm doing what is best for the team. I don't mind doing it. I will hit fifth the rest of the year, whatever they want."

Does that sound like a man thinking of only himself? Does that sound like a man that intentionally wants to hurt the team? I rag on Baker alot but this is one part of his style I respect with regards to Sosa.

"Sometimes both sides feel better when someone comes forward, versus you mandating that particular move," Baker said of the lineup shift. "Somebody asked me back in Chicago if I ever had a player ask me to move him down in the order. I said no. And this is the first time. It was a good, noble move. A good team move."

When people were flat out demanding Sosa to move down was just plain wrong. With a player of Sosa's caliber the decision needs to come from him. He has earned that right. Some people don't think so.

And Sosa isn't as dumb as most people make him out to be....

"I am not going to get the team to the playoffs by myself," Sosa said. "Everybody is together. If I could do it by myself, then I would have done it when I hit 60-something home runs. It's not like that anymore. What we need now is for everybody to get back together. If I don't do it today, somebody will pick me up."

He knows he isnt the 60 HR hitter anymore, and he knows other people on this team need to step it up also. Alou batted #4 and is in just as bad a slump as Sosa with a .220 BA and .250 OBP in August. Where are the demands for him to retire? Where are the demands he get bumped down in the order? Where is the outrage? A bit hypocritical on some people's part.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Do You Get Tired of This?

After the Cubs 3-1 loss to Milwaukee....

"There is a sense of urgency. You don't panic. You never panic," said Baker of the wild-card race also involving San Diego and San Francisco. "We are sitting in a good position. We still haven't played our best baseball, we know that. Everybody has hot streaks and we haven't had ours. Hopefully ours will come at the right time or in the nick of time."

I know I am getting sick of these comments from Baker. Ever come to the conclusion we are playing the best baseball of the year? Last year we won the division with 89 wins. Yeah it was nice to win the division but no power house this team was. We struggled through that year because 2 other teams struggled just as bad. But you knew that was going to be a one year fluke. Either Houston or the Cardinals would get back on track and 89 wins again wasn't going to cut it to win the division.

We now sit at a pathetic 15 games out of first place. But we are still on pace for 89 wins and a finish over .500 for 2 years straight! Big whoop. Yet still no worries from old Dusty Baker. Our groove will come, we will make the playoffs. Hopefully this, hopefully that, maybe in the nick of time. Under performing team, manager incapable of stopping the sinking. They say you can't fire the players. But you sure as hell can fire the manager. Baker is right on track for my 3 years and then fired prediction. Keep up the good, ummmmm no work, of making the team better. Far too much talent on this team to be 8 games over .500.

It Is Not Our Fault. It is You That Is The Problem.

A poster (Adam) on the Cub Reporter suggested maybe the Cubs are getting the raw deal on calls because of all their whining to the umps on balls and strikes over the last 2 years. I found that an interesting thought and it could be entirely possible that the Cubs have gotten a bad rep with umpire crews that we are just that. A bunch of whiney cry babies. Which in turn means we aren't going to get the benefit of the doubt calls, we will have to earn everything. I stopped short of calling it a conspiracy, because I highly doubt umpire crews in Cubs games get together and say, "Let's screw over the Cubs for what they did on such and such a date."

Then I read this from ChicagoSports.com.......

The Cubs insist they are not paranoid, but that doesn't mean the umpires aren't out to get them.

That was the opinion pitcher Kerry Wood and manager Dusty Baker expressed Tuesday.

Yet this is the excuse.....

Baker says he believes the Cubs are being singled out.

"It seems like we are sort of victimized by having a lot of fans and a lot of fans who are into it a lot of times," Baker said. "Well, what if you don't have a crowd? Do you get a different suspension?"

Baker noted no fans threw anything on the field or ran onto the field after Wood's tirade.

"It doesn't take much to incite our fans, No. 1," Baker said.

You know if you stupid fans would just calm down, Kerry Wood, Latroy Hawkins, and Carlos Zambrano wouldn't loose their cool. It is your fault, it is you fans. Calm the hell down!

Wood is perplexed.

"I have seen a lot worse get a lot less days," Wood said. "Inciting the crowd, in my opinion, that's the reason I got suspended. I wish we had been on the road and that wouldn't have happened.

"I'm a competitor and I was out there in the heat of battle. It's human nature to be upset about it."

Wood says he believes the umpires generally are picking on Cubs players and coaches.

I am not saying there is a conspiracy but Cubs players and our own manager are suggesting it. Oh Dear, the excuses barrel must be running low now.

You got an under performing team, pitchers going crazy, what do you do? Blame it on the Cubs fans. How about just accepting the blame for your actions instead of pawning it off on other people? Wood, Zambrano, Hawkins all got what they deserved.

Paul Sullivan Questions

Paul Sullivan answers some of his readers questions....

With the horrible call by Bruce Froemming in the Aug. 12 Cubs-Padres game, will MLB ever institute a system where umpires can be suspended just like players? -- Tom Augustynek, Chicago

Mike and Tom, disciplining umpires is almost always kept under wraps, but it does happen on occasion. I remember when Ken Kaiser rolled a ball back to a Sox pitcher after Ron Karkovice missed a pitch and it bounced off Kaiser's facemask. Kaiser was later fined and received a slap on the wrist. Froemming definitely blew it and admitted it afterwards. What MLB will do is anyone's guess and we may never know. Umpiring is definitely at a low point in history, though the Cubs tend to overdo it with their snaps on balls and strikes. The Froemming call, however, deserved to be protested and should be seen by umpiring supervisors.

You can add Corey Patterson's throw to Derek Lee to the obvious botched calls file from last night's game.

When is someone going to teach Farnsworth to pitch? So much talent, but he's borderline on being a risk in a close game. Can the Cubs afford to keep using him in late innings? Greg Farren, Anderson, Ind.

Not at this rate, Greg. I don't know his problem, but it's certainly an issue Baker has to deal with. Farnsworth has morphed into El Pulpo, where every appearance is now under a microscope. Unfortunately, Farnsworth has brought it on himself.

Just remember it is an even numbered year. Every even numbered year Farnsworth is a complete waste of a roster space. 2000 - 6.43 ERA, 2001 - 2.74 ERA, 2002 - 7.33 ERA, 2003 - 3.30 ERA, 2004 - 4.17 ERA. Still enough time to get it above 5.00. But the good news is he should be a pretty good relief pitcher next year. And that is when you trade him at maximum value and forever rid us of this mental midget.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Pretenders

Over the next month the Cubs have a fairly easy schedule and should still make the playoffs. But the way they have played against San Fran, San Diego, and LA it will be a quick exit from the playoffs. One thing this Cub team has not done all year is gel into a team. It is still a bunch of individuals playing on a team, instead of a bunch of individuals playing as a team. You can even group Sammy into that. I was listening to the radio and a person suggested that Sammy Sosa should do the P.C. thing and come out and say bat me where ever you want, I just want to do whatever it takes to help the team win. And you know I agree with that. I don't agree with demands for him to be moved down, and then calling Sosa selfish for not coming out and saying that. I can understand the pride, and he has accomplished far too much in his career for people to be calling for his head and second guessing him. If Sosa came out and said that, that would take the media spotlight completly away from the situation that Dusty Baker has created with his "sensitive" comments.

Ohh yeah and if Sosa really was telling the fans to, "F*** Off" like it looked like to me after he struck out over the weekend, that is one battle Sammy Sosa will not win. It is a road no player should travel down.

As for the bullpen woes, how bad is the childish attitude of Latroy Hawkins damaging this team now? Actually I shouldn't blame Hawkins, the blame should fall into Kyle "I crap my pants in meaningful games" Farnsworth. I swear you can see the wheels turning in his head thinking, "What if I screw up here?" "What if I don't get this guy out?" "What do I do when I have 2 strikes on a hitter?" He is so afraid of failure that he becomes a self fullfilling prophecy of failure. If only we could make a player called Joeyle Farkowski. The brain and and heart of Joe Borowski and the physical makeup up Kyle Farnsworth.

So look for the Cubs to beat up on the Milwaukees and bottom feeders and for everyone to say we have turned the corner and are playing as a "team." Only to get bounced in the 1st round when we play some real teams. Because one thing is certain, the real teams have kicked the crap out of us this year.

Note: Didn't I say if you wanted to lose you play Grudzielank and if you want to play to win you play Walker? And who has gotten the most starts in the last 3 series? Yes I know Grudz is batting .353 (39 AB's) in August but like most of his career it is a hollow batting average, because of a grand total of 1 RBI. Walker in 16 AB's in August is hitting .438 with 6 RBI. Grudz can't drive in runners to save his life. All Walker has done in his career is hit for extra base power and consistently drive in runs from the top of the order.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


The Cubs just can't beat the .500+ teams on a consistent basis. Padres take 2 of 3 after we lost 2 of 3 to the Giants. That isn't contending team baseball. Now the Dodgers come into town.

I said after the Padres and Dodger's series we will find out if the Cubs are pretenders or contendors. Half way through this important set and we look like pretenders.

If this team is so great when healthy why aren't they winning now? I am starting to believe Dusty Baker is a unique manager, with no talent he can keep a team at .500 and slightly competitive. Give Dusty Baker all the talent in the world and he can keep a team at .500 and slightly competitive. You could bring in Barry Bonds, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Schmidt, Curt Schilling and Mariono Riveria and the Cubs would probably still have the same record they do now.

The Cubs HAVE to sweep the Dodgers. All this talk about we are in the drivers seat for the Wild Card is hogwash. If we were in the drivers seat we would of buried San Fran and San Diego when we had the chance like the Cardinals did to us when they had the chance.

On a bright note Corey Patterson seems to be doing well in the lead off spot he had a great game today 3 for 4 with 2 SB's and 2 runs. I dont know if these stat's include todays number because the game just finished but in 39 AB's in the #1 slot he is hitting .333 with a .395 OBP. Small sample size, but nice to see him doing well in that slot. I think combination of Patterson's speed and ability to steal bases will create alot of RBI chances for Nomar.

Prior Looking To Get Back On Track

Mark Prior has looked at the tapes from Tuesday night's debacle with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and found some mechanical flaws in his delivery that he needed to correct., the right-hander told WGN-AM 720 Wednesday

"This is one of those tests in life you've got to go through," Prior told the radio station. "I'm sure I'm not the only one in life with a bad stretch at work. … It's been a tough year mentally as much a physically. But when I get through this year, hopefully, I can turn it around for the better.

Better hurry up Prior, or you will be replaced by Sergio Mitre or Glendon Rusch. Cubs fans are an impatient bunch, lol. Franchise tag or not.

No really I hope he finds his groove, we are going to need him for the rest of the year with his A game.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Did Anyone Catch.....

The news about Moises Alou being bumped to the lower part of the order after batting .192 in June?

Did anyone catch the Phillies telling Jim Thome should be moved from the #3 spot in the order after hitting .229 in July?

Did anyone cath the D'backs telling Luis Gonzalez he should be moved from the #3 or #4 spot after hitting .200 in May, and .231 in July?

Did anyone catch the Red's telling Sean Casey to be moved from the #3 spot after he hit .266 in June and .234 in July?

Did anyone catch the Royals telling Mike Sweeney to be moved from the #3 spot after hitting .243 in May and .250 in June?

Did anyone catch the Rangers telling Alfonso Soriano should be moved from the #3 spot after hitting .235 in May and .239 in July?

Did anyone catch the Yankees telling Derek Jeter should be moved from the #2 or #1 spot after hitting .172 in April, .261 in May, and .262 in July?

OK you might be able to come up with a few for the Jeter one, lol.

Yet what do we hear when Sosa hits .231 in June (39 AB's) and .265 in July? Move him down, he is done, stick a fork in him. I am just glad the arm chair managers who think Sosa should be bumped from the lineup don't run the Phillies, Royals, Reds, Rangers, Yankees or Cubs. Because those teams would lose out on the production of these hitters when they get hot again. You never ever move a hitter from his spot in the order because of a small down point. And if they did, all those guys I mentioned above would be batting all over the lineup, instead they remain in the spots they have hit well their entire career. Why is that? It is a question some people need to answer for themselves.

Holly Still Hurting

Another in a long line of, "He will be back soon." Extended into, "We have no idea when he will return." I just don't get the initial reports from our trainer that end up being 100% wrong all the time. One thing Cubs players should worry about is, if you get injured and Dave Groeschner tells you it is minor or whatever, seek an immediate second opinion and get medical attention. Something is seriously wrong!

Hollandsworth had an MRI on Tuesday, his third since June 27 when he injured his leg by fouling a ball off his right shin.

The latest MRI showed inflammation around the bone and some irritation in the nerve, Cubs trainer Dave Groeschner said on Tuesday. Groeschner said they are comparing the test results with the X-rays from 2001, when he suffered a season-ending injury on May 11 to his right leg.

In 2001, Hollandsworth fouled a ball off his right leg and fractured his shin and crushed a nerve. He appeared in 33 games that year with the Colorado Rockies.

In the same article it appears we have brought back Vince Coleman for some special teaching duties....

Vince Colemman, 42, who is a roving baserunning instructor for the Cubs this year, joined the big league team on Tuesday and will work with the players this week.

"I've given him carte blanche to do what he has to do," Baker said, calling baserunning the Cubs' "No. 1 weakness."

Now if we brought in Vince and then fired Wendell Kim that would be a good start at fixing the base running mistakes. But trying to place a band aid over a severed limb really does nothing to stop the bleeding.

I still like that we brought in Coleman 100+ games into the season, way to stay on top the situation and not letting it get out of hand Dusty! I guess better late than never can apply here. A good manager would of had Coleman working with the team from spring training and through the season. Not bringing him in when things get really bad. Your job as a manager is to prevent these kinds of things from ever happening.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

What Are We Boston Now?

I thought this was a dumb post on benching Sosa, but this hits new levels of stupidity.

Northside Lounge does an excellent dissection of the Tribune article so you should go check that out.

This kind of crap happens every time Sosa goes into a slump. People calling him a worthless bum, he is in decline, he isnt worth the money we are paying him, he is a cancer on the team. It is like clock work. Yet every time, Sammy gets hot and shuts up his critics. The critics will go into ignore mode for awhile waiting for the next slump to unleash the proof of his decline. I do feel for these people, because eventually they will be correct. But that is like saying some day you are going to die. Really? Your freaking kidding me? I am going to die?

They want him gone now because of one simple point. He isnt the Sammy Sosa that hits 60 hrs and drives in 140 RBI year in and year out. That is the main reason Sosa takes his flack from his critics. They will deny it and say he strikes out to much, doesn't walk like he used to, and other dodges. But guess what? Sammy has always been strike out prone, and traditionally has never been very good with walks except for a few season's.

In other words the critics are spoiled and want the 98-2002 Sammy Sosa. Guess what guys? Your not ever going to get it. And you will never be happy with a .270 hitting Sosa with a .350 OBP who hits 40 hrs and drives in 100 RBI a year, now or for the next 4-5 years if he puts up this numbers. You will never be happy until the day he is gone.

This is the way I think of it, he put up some of his best season's in his prime years and is now settling back down into, how do I say it, more normal pattern. I never bought into the myth he should be able to continue that pace to age 35+. I would be happy as hell if he did, but no way would I be disappointed or think Sosa is less of a player.

I don't agree with posts and articles calling on Sosa to be benched or retire. They are entitled to their opinion, as am I. That's why we comment on our blogs about things that are passionate to us.

In the end I think it is dumb to be openly rooting for the demise of Sosa when he is still sporting around a .900 OPS, and if he continues to hit .261 for the year he will have 36 hrs, 82 RBI in 447 AB's. I might jump on the band wagon when it dips to a .700 OPS for the season, but I will always respect his time in a Cubs uniform and hope he retires a Chicago Cub.

To finish let me just take one quote from the Tribune article and respond....

Despite the occasional dinger, you have left more men stranded this season than Paris Hilton.

If all you watched were the last couple of weeks you might be correct, other than that his point is a flat out lie.

Sosa with RISP 2004 - .293 BA - .430 OBP - 7 HR - 35 RBI - 18 BB - 17 SO's - 72 AB's. (1.055 OPS)

Which in turn mirrors his 3 year splits with RISP - .292 BA - .456 OBP - 37 hrs - 211 RBI - 134 BB - 124 SO's - 401 AB's. (1.067 OPS)

The key has always been to get as many people on ahead of Sosa as possible because according to the AB's to RBI he has a 50% chance of knocking in a run. Factor in his walks with RISP and he does a damn good job of either knocking in the run or simply taking the walk to extend the inning for another hitter. That is why Sammy Sosa will remain in the #3 or #4 spot for now, and for the near future.

I don't know guys am I just dumb for wanting to keep a guy with a 1.000 OPS in the middle of our order with RISP?

Can't Get Enough Nomar

I usually reserve my venom for Dusty, but I sure do like this quote from him via the Sun Times.com.

"Nomar can hit," Baker said. "He can hit good pitches, bad pitches. He can hit. The more consecutive at-bats in games he sees, the better he'll be."

As for signing him long term....

Garciaparra is a free agent after this season, and neither side is willing to commit to the future. Here are two facts to consider: Garciaparra loves playing in a city that embraces its stars, and the Cubs must find a shortstop outside the organization during the offseason. They might as well sign one who is immensely talented and already fits in well with the team.

A poll on ChicagoSports.com last week asked who was the biggest star on the team, with Sosa getting 49% of the vote, and Nomar getting like 14%. I personally believe Nomar is the biggest star on this team, and is quickly becoming the offensive force that makes this team go. But then again he is one of my favorite players in baseball, so I could be a little biased.

Note: Links to articles I am getting quotes from can be found by moving your cursor over the title of the post. It is a bit of a change from the format I used previously. Hope that clears up some things for the ones who couldnt find the links.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Geez Back Off

Here I go again defending Sosa. Look around the Cubs blogs and they are slamming Sosa left and right for not making adjustments to his game. Like that can just happen over night and the next day he will come out a brand new player hitting .350 with instant power.

Let's get something straight. What Sosa has done for most of his career he can't undo. He has always been an impatient streaky hitter. And that impatient streaky hitter has also put together some of the greatest season's by a power hitter in recent memorey. He will keep hitting the same way until the day he retires. What he has done his entire career has made him a Hall of Famer, GET OFF HIS JOCK!

You may not like his current slump but deal with it, sh*t happens. When he starts hitting again, these same bloggers will be silent until the next slump comes and they will yell and scream at how worthless Sosa is and we need to get rid of him, blah blah blah.

One person who never got any bad responses on Cubs blogs was Alex Gonzalez. He never adjusted his game and that is why is a .240 hitter for his career. That is the definition of a hitter that NEVER makes adjustments. The real hitters in baseball go through slumps and come out of it by making subtle adjustments to their game. Sosa is no exception.

And if your one of those bloggers comparing Bonds to Sosa and saying look he makes adjustments why cant Sosa, you need immediate psychiatric help.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Holding Back the Praise

I didn't want to comment after the Colorado series that the Cubs were playing some of their best baseball of the season. I wanted to see what the Cubs would do against the better teams in the league. Yes we are beating for the most part the teams we are supposed to beat, but the teams that are half way competing for playoff spots really give us a hard time.

The Cubs really need to start sweeping teams. Our nice little run gained us no ground on the Cardinals, in fact it has put us even farther back at 11.5 games. Now I know most of us have given up on winning the division but I sure would like to see the Cubs start beating the better teams on a regular basis and cutting into this Cardinal lead. The more we cut in the Cardinals lead the more wins we add to our lead on the Wildcard. I don't like saying we are a lock for the Wild card. If you start to play just for that you might end up losing that as well.

We will see what the Cubs have in the series against the Padres and Dodger's. The Cardinals series in July decided if we would win the division or not, these next few series will determine if we are a contender or a pretender. If we truly are the best team in the NL when healthy we should wipe the floor with these teams.

A few things I noted about the game was naturally the terrible base running. Alou had two pretty blatant ones. The one that got me upset was when Sosa hit the ball to SS and they were turning the double play, Alou didnt even attempt to slide to break it up, he just ran off to the side so the 2nd baseman could have a nice easy throw. You don't want to run the bases and slide Alou so you can help the team? Then screw you. The other one was when Sosa hit a line drive to the right fielder and Alou got doubled up off 1st base. Real smooth dude. Not that Sosa gets off the hook, swinging at fire flies up there.

I can accept being in a slump and not hitting, but base running mistakes and not hustling are things you can actively prevent. That is all on player. No one else to blame but himself.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Cubs Notes

The Cubs closer, who has been on the disabled list for two months with a partial tear in his right rotator cuff, threw from the bullpen mound Friday at SBC Park.

Borowski will throw again Sunday and then return with the team to Chicago. If he checks out OK with doctors, he'll begin a program that could have him back on the active roster later this month.

If we can get back the Joe Borowski of last year I think that could help alot, and allow Hawkins to go back to setup man.

The Cubs have shut down pitching prospect Angel Guzman for the season. They say there's nothing wrong with Guzman, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder last year. It's more a matter, the Cubs say, that Guzman has been working hard since January and he needs a rest.

Some minor concern about him, hopefully he makes a full recovery. We might need him next year in the majors.

Left-hander Jimmy Anderson started for Class AAA Iowa Friday night. The Cubs re-obtained Anderson from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. Anderson went to spring training with the Cubs and appeared briefly for the big club during the regular season.

Ok we traded Jimmy Anderson to Boston for a player to be named later. And now we got him back for a player to be named later. As far as I know the rule is the PTBNL can't be the same player that you traded. So the Redsox and the Cubs now owe each other players, how ever that works out.

Maddux Wins 300th Game

You can read all the press releases online on Maddux's 300th win but I liked this little moment.

Maddux had a senior moment when asked how he viewed the Cubs' acquisition of shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. He apparently wasn't sure about Alex Gonzalez's last name. Gonzalez went to Montreal in the four-team trade.

"As much as everybody respected and liked playing with Alex Gonzalez ... is that right?" he asked a team public relations woman. "As a player, you appreciate having your organization go out and make that kind of effort to give you a chance to win. That's outstanding. You get a player of that caliber, it's special."

What we had a SS named Alex Gonzalez? Was he any good? For some reason my memory doesnt recall anyone prior to Nomar Garciaparra. Ah well I guess it isn't important any more.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Bosox Continue the Onslaught

Rick Morissey takes to task the Boston Redsox's attempt to demolish Nomar after the trade...

But the Red Sox carry on, sledgehammer in hand, because they know they received the weaker part of the deal. They know their fans are upset about losing a Boston icon, a man with a career .323 batting average.

I'm not sure I can recall such a lengthy, all-out verbal assault on one player after he had been traded. Know this: The harsher the attacks, the more indignant the protests, the more likely it is that a team is doing the backstroke.

You have to read his whole article, because he hits it squarely on the head.

So almost a week after the trade, Garciaparra is still defending himself against an extremely defensive franchise. Character witness Todd Walker, a former teammate in Boston and a current one in Chicago, said Garciaparra was well-liked in the Red Sox's clubhouse. That doesn't match up with the characterization in the Boston media of him as "cancer."

Wonder where that could have come from.

Only Boston's ownership is to blame for the character assassination and driving away Nomar. That is the legacy they must live with now.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Nomar Speaks

His side of story, so take it for what it is worth, but I do like this exchange...

On Boston general manager Theo Epstein's assertion that he was a defensive liability: "If they feel that way, that's great. I don't have to worry about how they play or what they have to do anymore. My focus is on this great team and trying to be a part of it. My goal is to try to get to the playoffs and try to win the World Series.

Meanwhile Barrett and Garciaparra exchanged numbers under one condition...

"I just told him I'm not going to give you my number for a month and a half," Barrett said. "You're going to have to think about staying here for a while. And he said he would. That was probably the biggest piece of the negotiations."

Way to go Barrett!!

Note: It probably wasn't noticed by many people last night but I liked how Nomar took a pitch straight down the middle so Corey Patterson could steal 2nd base and get in scoring position. Even better the very next pitch Nomar knocked him in. You have to be pretty confident in not striking out to pull off going down 1-2 in the count.

I guess I am so used to seeing our guys get down 0-2, 1-2 in the count and 80% of the time ending up striking out and doing nothing. Nice to see someone with some bat control on this team.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Trapped In a Dream World

I am getting sick of hearing this...

The Red Sox traded Nomar for another shortstop because Nomar was no longer a five-time All-Star. The Nomar of old (’99, ‘00) did not enter the 2000s and was lost forever when he underwent wrist surgery that still affects him to this day. His penchance for swinging at the first strike was made bearable when his statistics showed that he had a .372 AVG with a .434 OBP. That is the Nomar I know and love.

Let me back up. Nomar was the lovechild of Boston up until 2002. He underwent wrist surgery in 2001, but we still were full of love for Nomar. In 2002, he had an off year by his standards. We are still waiting for his off-years to stop. He hit .310/.352 in 2002, and his OBP was no longer acceptable because his average was way down. His slugging % also took a nosedive, from which it has yet to recover. The evidence is unassailable - the wrist surgery turned him from a shortstop you could contend was better than A-Rod to one jockeying for #2 status with Jeter, Renteria, and Tejada - a battle Nomar would lose.

I keep hearing this crap that the wrist injury made Nomar a shadow of his former self. Just because he isn't hitting .370 or .350 every single year it means he is washed up or not acceptable. If you honestly think Nomar is a shadow of his former self because he isnt hitting .370 then you have to be about the dumbest person on this planet. Sammy Sosa has gotten the same treatment. If he isn't hitting 60 HR's a year then something is wrong and he must be in decline.

People have peak years and then generally level off. That is the way it goes in baseball. The writer answering these questions acts like a .300 BA, .350 OBP, 20-30 HR's and 100-120 RBI's a year from a SS are some how not good enough. Well not good enough for Boston fans.

I just find it incredibly stupid to say because Nomar isn't hitting .370 it is an off year. I mean geez, I guess after Joe Dimaggio hit .380 in 1939 the rest of his career was an off-year. Poor guy he could of been great if he only maintained that .380 batting average. And then that guy Mickey Mantle hit .365 in 1957. Poor guy couldn't keep it up, would of been a hall of famer. And what about that poor bastard Ted Williams who hit .406 in 1941. To live up to that? To bad the rest of his career was an off-year he could of been truely something.

I know I am going over the top, Is Nomar as great as those guys? No. Not many people are. The point is you should never focus on a players best season and expect that year in and year out. No one can do it, and your setting yourself up to be let down each and every time. Those guys were great at their postions in that era, Nomar is great at his position in this era, just enjoy it!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Something to Prove

You know Nomar is taking heat in Gammons recent article and by Kevin Mench of Foxsports.com. Basically tearing him down as the root cause of Boston's problems.

My take on it is, the new ownership did it's best to destroy Nomar in the press so they could get him signed to a low ball offer.

Which is what we know about Epstein. While Nomar did love New England and was a crowd favorite for the way he played, his bitterness toward the ownership ran deep. He signed a below-market contract after his historic rookie season, then when he sat down with owner John Henry, team president Larry Lucchino, et al, in spring training, 2003, he rejected a four-year, $60 million deal. Last fall, that offer dropped to four years and $48 million, and not only was Garciaparra angry about that, but while he was on his honeymoon he found out he was all but traded. While Epstein constantly called to update him, Garciaparra was hurt. As someone who after his wrist surgery seemed increasingly angered by management and media issues, he became overly angry this spring.

Garciaparra did not hang out with teammates, and this season became increasingly distant as his body language became despondent. That he didn't play in Yankee Stadium in the July 1 classic when Derek Jeter gave up his body for an out got a little exaggerated, but veteran teammates constantly made private comments like "he is the biggest disappointment of my playing career -- I never knew what he was like."

1st off you got A-rod making like 20+ million a year along with Derek Jeter and the Boston Redsox's initial offer was 15 million per year? Nomar from what I know asked for about 2-3 million more a year. Which would still put him well behind Jeter and A-rod. So the Redsox's counter with 4 years again and $48 million? Talk about a slap in the face, any player would be bitter and upset. After that the Redsox's broke of negotiations and claimed he refused to sign with the Redsox's, further distancing themselves and pissing off Nomar. Gee what did you expect? Him to just go, "Awe shucks, you screwed me once, might as well let you screw me again!" "Should I just bend over now, and take one for the team?"

Meanwhile Manny Ramirez and Pedro get any amount of money they want from the Redsox, suddenly it is time to resign the heart and soul of the franchise and the Redsox get cheap. Including this..

In time, Epstein, Henry and Lucchino hope to change the Red Sox's culture, which has traditionally been to cater to stars. Once former manager Jimy Williams disciplined Pedro Martinez for reporting late for a start in 1999 and was overruled because Pedro was a star, Williams was done, and Pedro was given carte blanche to do what he felt like doing. Ramirez may occasionally sit himself, but while he has taken a lot of heat, he is liked.

I don't remember Nomar ever being late, or occasionally sitting him self. I think all Nomar wanted was a little respect on a team full of disrepectful people. Boston is rewarding it's malcontents and letting them do whatever they want. But when the straight and narrow Nomar tries to rock the boat that apparently is the last straw in Bean town. They can keep Manny and Pedro, Nomar has a better attitude than those two idiots.

What is Matt Morris?

A mystery player from the Cardinals was quoted saying this...

And it didn't take long for the conspiracy theorists to come out. One unnamed Cardinals team member was quoted in the St. Louis-Post Dispatch on the one-sided acquisition of Garciaparra from the Boston Red Sox: "How does that happen? It seems like someone's always looking out for the Cubs. I don't get it." That must explain all those Cubs World Series championship banners flying above Wrigley Field.

I would bet money Matt Morris said that. After all he was the guy saying he would throw games against the Astro's just to keep the Cubs out of the playoffs last year. And was whining at the same time at how our schedule was easier down the stretch than the Cardinals and not calling that fair. Never mind the fact we already went through our toughest part of the schedule the previous month while the Cardinals were in their cream puff stretch.

The Timeline

Alot of these quotes you have probably already heard but it is nice to see how the day went for Nomar. Some select quotes...

He is warming up in short left field when the batting order is given. When it is announced that the No. 2 hitter is Garciaparra, a long standing ovation follows.

"The ovation I got today you don't forget," he said. "It stays with your heart and you appreciate it."

"It was great," he said. "My first game, the ovation I got, things like that you'll never forget. I can't thank them enough. I just hope they know how much I appreciate it."

"It's OK," he said. "I was already packed for a [Red Sox] trip.

"Mom, I've got clean underwear."

Read the whole thing.

Nomar Looks Happy

Big Red C hits on a point that I was thinking about....

So, as long as I'm wallowing in the morass of subjective impressions, how cool was it when Nomar asked for the ball after his first hit as a Cub? I'm no psychologist, but I don't think players who view their time with a team as a short-term rental agreement ask for sentimental souvenirs of their stint in uniform.

He looked like a man who wanted to be where he was (and who wouldn't, with the reception he got?), and who might want to stay there for a long time. And you know what? That'd be just fine by me.

Compare Nomar's facial expressions yesterday and over the last couple months and you saw more smiles and laughter out of him in one day than you probably saw in the last 18 months.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Nomar Pics

A pure class act Nomar is....

The Chicago Cubs and their fans didn't waste any time making Nomar Garciaparra feel at home, even if he didn't get to wear No. 5.
The new Cubs shortstop, acquired Saturday in a four-team trade, was made comfortable at breakfast Sunday at his Chicago hotel. He made several new friends by signing autographs after batting practice, too.

When he was introduced to the crowd before the game, the Cubs faithful welcomed him with a standing ovation. Garciaparra thanked the fans by doffing his cap.

"At the same time, going out to breakfast this morning people were telling me 'Welcome to Chicago' and that was great as well and takes the sadness away and brings a smile to your face," Garciaparra said. "You say, 'Hey, this is a wonderful place to be,' and I think I knew that coming in."

Enjoy the pics, hope to have more as the day goes on.