Tuesday, February 01, 2005

When you find yourself in a difficult spot…

it's not so much how you got there that's important but how you respond.

Take this Slovakian gentleman (as you'll see, I am using this term loosely), Richard Kral, for example. Apparently, Richard was motoring along the Tatra mountain range in Northern Slovakia when he suddenly found himself overtaken and buried by an avalanche.

Fortunately, Richard possessed both the necessary resources and a shameless temerity that enabled him to discard discretion and (quite literally) find the relief he was so desperately looking for:

A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.

Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains.

He told them that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and tried to dig his way out.

But as he dug with his hands, he realised the snow would fill his car before he managed to break through.

He had 60 half-litre bottles of beer in his car as he was going on holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported.

He said: "I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there."

Parts of Europe have this week been hit by the heaviest snowfalls since 1941, with some places registering more than ten feet of snow in 24 hours.

Now apart from being somewhat of an amusing story, the preceding account illustrates something that I think Jim Hendry could well learn from. It’s actually a time-honored principle that we all learned intuitively the first time we found ourselves in a grim situation – Desperate times call for desperate measures. And since that always proves inevitably to be the case, when you find yourself in a serious dilemma, a half-hearted reaction just isn’t going to pass muster.

You’ll note that in the above story the guy didn’t squander away his narrow window of opportunity with the half-hearted consumption of a mere 10 beers. He didn’t waste his time with a measly 20 – no, not even 30 beers – but double that! The dude downed 60! Count them – S-I-X-T-Y! He was like a modern-day Cool Hand Luke – except with bottles of Topvar instead of hard-boiled eggs. Think about it - when you’re buried under an avalanche it’s not a time to be messing around with half-hearted solutions – you do what you need to do to get out of the mess.

Now, the Cubs find themselves in a similarly desperate situation. If you’ll recall, they finished 7th in run production in the National league last season and they just lost their #2 and #4 offensive producers (I won’t mention the loss of Clement and the bullpen problems). So far (and with apologies to Jerry hairston Jr.) - no one acquired fits the bill as an adequate offensive replacement for Alou and/or Sosa. Not exactly the types of off season moves I think any of us were hoping for.

But, nevertheless, that’s where the Cubs find themselves – buried deep. And as I said – it’s not so much how they got there that is of significance but how they respond now that they’re already in this mess.

That being said - signing Jeromy Burnitz would be like trying to apply a band-aid to a severed artery. That’s not the solution Jim – you know that and we know it – and we know that you know that we know it – so don’t try to pull a quick one on us. A move like this is only going to make matters worse. I would actually prefer that you do nothing and wait for a midseason upgrade to tell you the truth.

Of course (and since you’re interested), my first choice is that you quit messing around with nasty rumors of Cliff Floyd, Jeromy Burnitz, and Eric Byrnes. Fly your rear end out to SoCal to watch Magglio work out. If he satisfies you that his leg is healthy and won’t fall off during the season, sign the man to a 3-5 year deal or whatever it takes.

These are desperate times Jim and if it takes you calling up Omar Minaya to learn what kind of spell he cast on the Wilpon’s to get them to open the coffers up for Pedro and Beltran – get on the horn and then cast that same type of mojo on the Trib execs!

We’ll be watching.