Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Today, I am ashamed and embarrassed that I am a Cubs fan.  In the 2 game series with the Cardinals, the Cubs acted like a collective group of gutless crybabies.  I know this was a "big" series, but there is no excuse for the lack of professionalism this team showed Monday and Tuesday, and have shown for most of this year.
Carlos Zambrano is an emotional player who is known to rub people the wrong way with his yelling, strolls around the mound, and stares.  But Monday night, he crossed way over the line.  He inexplicably hit Jim Edmonds to start the game, then gets upset because Edmonds blasted a HR on Kenmore on the very next pitch.  He complained about Edmonds not running the bases, but I saw nothing wrong with that.  The Cubs have a few players who like to admire HRs and hop when they get a hold of one.  Carlos could have ended it there, but instead he goes to the Dikembe Mutumbo like finger wagging.  And after giving up the 2-run HR to Rolen, he then officially threw in the towel, intentionally hitting Edmonds again.  Carlos lost the game for his team, and then with nobody up in the pen, essentially quit on them.
Today, it was Latroy Hawkins with his insane outburst with the homeplate umpire.  I still don't even know what that was about.  To be honest, I turned off the TV before the Pujols AB and took a walk, because I couldn't watch the Cubs blow another huge lead to the Cards.
But the Cubs have a little history with unprofessional behavior on the field.  Early in the season, Kerry Wood was lifted from the game and stormed the homeplate umpire.  Kent Mercker did the same later in the season.  And now Latroy Hawkins.  Hell, even go back to last season with Antonio Alfonseca and his belly bump.  Moises Alou has repeated whined to the umpires about balls and strikes.  Zambrano has shown up teammates with his antics.  Todd Walker has mouthed off to the media recently about teammates and playing time. 
I hate to say it, but maybe Larussa was right.  Maybe Dusty does need to control his team better.  He had a chance to quiet the whole rivalry, but instead spouted back with the "he needs to worry about his own team" comment.  Dusty has a reputation for being a player's manager, but it's about time he steps up and becomes a leader.  I don't mind him sticking up for his players to the press, but he needs to get in some faces in the lockerroom.  Dusty is an old school man, and even though I hate the old school thinking....he needs to tell his players to respect the game they are so privaledged to play.

Friday, July 16, 2004

With all apologies to Maddox, I have a rant!
I can't believe this season!  Injuries are starting to piss me off.  Not once has the Cubs' projected 25-man roster played together.  Mark Grudzielanek, Jose Macias, Mike Remlinger, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Joe Borowski, Todd Hollandsworth, Tom Goodwin,  Sammy Sosa, Todd Wellemeyer, Alex Gonzalez, and Kent Mercker have all spent time on the DL.  Hell, the Cubs have barely been able to field a full 25 players with the various day-to-day injuries that the team has seen, before or without going to the DL.  Aramis Ramirez, Kerry Wood, Todd Hollandsworth, Kent Mercker, Todd Walker, and Ramon Martinez all have been unavailable for days at a time when they weren't even on the DL, leaving the Cubs at least a man short for most of the season.
Now last night!  Mark Prior goes down in the 2nd inning with elbow soreness.  Now, I'm not the type of person to assume the worst, but there's no way in hell Prior takes the mound again this season.  In fact, the Cubs would be stupid to even let him pick up a ball again.  He missed the first 2 1/2 monts with elbow soreness, that was originally supposed to be a 5-10 day achilles injury, and now a month later has elbow soreness coming back. 
I'm a grown man, but was almost in tears last night.  The 5-man rotation was together for the 1st time all season.  It lasted a whole, 1 2/3 innings, a whole 5 outs, a whole 8 batters!  Thanks for the teaser!  With all due respect to Glendon Rusch, who pitched his tail off last night, that leaves the Cubs with holes in the bullpen, rotation, SS, and on the bench now that Hollandsworth probably won't see the field again with some kinda of freak nerve damage crap.  What's the point of getting Nomar now, when he still only gets the Cubs back to the number of holes they had before 8:30 EST yesterday?  What's the point of anything when you are down 7 games in the division, and face stiff competition from a ton of teams in the wildcard race, who haven't been as cursed as the Cubs? 
I would kill for a little f'n luck right now!  I never believed in the goat curse, but damn, this is getting very frustrating!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Trade Rumors

This time last season, the Cubs were a team in playoff contention with clear cut needs. It was no secret that the 2003 Cubs had huge holes to fill at 3B (with the ineffectiveness of the 3-headed monster of Mark Bellhorn, Jose Hernandez, and Lenny Harris) and CF (with the injury to Corey Patterson). The Cubs filled 3B with a young, underachieving yet talented player, who had the potential to be a long-term solution. They filled CF with a free agent to be, leaving the position open for their injured player to comeback this season.

Turn the page to 2004. The Cubs are in a similar situation. In contention for the NL Central division, and even moreso for the Wildcard. But still, the team has distinct holes to fill in order to become title contenders. Those positions this year are SS and Closer. Shortstop has been the offensive equivalent of 3B in 2003. Closer has been the equivalent of CF last year, with the incumbent at the position being lost for a huge chunk of the season.

Rumors are flying around that the Cubs are interested in the likes of relievers, Eddie Guardado, Ugueth Urbina, and even Shawn Chacon. Accompaning rumors have circulated about SS, Orlando Cabrera. Well, how about using last year's formula to give this year's team a boost?

Like 3B last year, the Cubs have nobody ready to step in and man the SS position for the long haul. And like CF, the Cubs have an injured RP who is under contract and can hopefully resume his duties in 2005. My proposal:

Atlanta gets: Bobby Brownlie, Francis Beltran, David Kelton, and Ronny Cedeno
CUBS get: John Smoltz and Rafael Furcal

Why this works: The Braves need to cut payroll, and Smoltz is due $12M if he finishes 50 games this year. Atlanta was burned by the aging Maddux accepting arbitration, and won't let it happen again. Furcal is in the same boat as Ramirez was for the Pirates. Young, great potential, couple of good years, but too inconsistent to warrant a team cutting payroll to pay big bucks in arbitration. The Cubs get a dominant closer for this season and get a possible long term solution for SS and the leadoff spot.

Why it may not work: The Braves are just 2.5 games out of first place. They are 9-2 in their last 11, playing good baseball, and their ace, Ortiz is starting to dominate. They get Giles and Ramirez back after the break, and play the Phillies and Mets (2 teams ahead of them) 7 times and the rest of the games before the deadline are against last place Montreal and Pittsburgh.

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