Monday, August 09, 2004

Well I'm back...

I haven't posted here in over two months (at least my co-blogger Camden has put up a few thoughts in this time span) because I've been immersed in an intensive 8 week Summer German course for my PhD work. And let me tell you - it was crazy-insane! Nothing but 15 hours a day of memorizing German vocabulary words and translating graduate level German texts for 8 weeks straight. The first 3 weeks of this German course is allegedly equivalent to 2 years of college German, while the last 5 weeks focused on translating specialized graduate level texts in my discipline. Fortunately I passed my proficiency exam (!), and so my summer of German immersion is finished! In any event, my desire to publicize my thoughts on the Cubs has had to be fulfilled by posting comments on Ivy Chat and The Cubs Pundit - and I'm sure the authors of those blogs are happy to have me back on my own blog.

So - what's transpired since I last posted? As everyone knows, the Cubs picked up Nomar Garciaparra - and he has been nothing short of spectacular. Although I must say it's been frustrating to see many of his hits and walks wasted because he bats between Patterson, Alou, and Sosa (the 16 million dollar man in case you forgot). As we get closer to the end of the season, I plan on calculating how much each of Sosa's hits is costing the Cubs this year per dollar by dividing them according to his salary (we'll throw in the strike-outs for free) - and I'm guessing they're not coming cheaply.

Based on the line-ups Dusty cobbles together day after day and his strategy of giving essential players days off during key games against teams competing for a playoff spot - I confess that I have concluded that Dusty Baker is either a genius or a certifiable idiot - and I'm leaning toward the latter (although what do I know - he's the one making the big dollars to manage - and I'm just some schlep with a blog).

In any event (and hindsight is always 20/20) - I feel pretty confident saying that letting Kenny Lofton slip away was a major mistake. Lofton - unlike the wildly inconsistent Patterson - always found a way to get on base and create offensive havoc once he was on. Can you imagine if the Cubs had Lofton still leading off, with Garciaparra batting second?! I'd like to see Baker find a way to put Garciaparra, Ramirez, and Lee together in the line-up, because those three have consistently proven themselves capable of getting on base and advancing runners. For what it's worth, here's my ideal lineup (w/ respective batting
average's and OBP):

1. Todd Walker (.288/.372)
2. Nomar Garciaparra (.357/.367)
3. Derrek Lee (.300/.370)
4. Aramis Ramirez (.326/.375)
5. Moises Alou (.274/.334)
6. Michael Barrett (.289/.338)
7. Corey Patterson (.271/.324)
8. Sammy Sosa (.262/.346)

I say to heck with Grudzielanek (.271/.312) - Walker was an excellent leadoff batter - he worked deep into counts and he generally found a way to get on base as well. The Cubs need to quit screwing around with who was starting last year and yada yada yada and award starting jobs to people who are producing now. Also - and I know this sounds terribly ungrateful after all Sosa has done for this ball club - but to heck with him as well. “What have you done for me lately” might seem Machiavellian, but when you haven't won in nearly a century - that's the unfortunate circumstance we find ourselves in.

Well anyway - those are my rather disjointed thoughts for today. I heard Dusty say he's resting Ramirez for Tuesday's game against San Diego - which has me pulling out my hair, but at least I've come to expect it with him.