Wednesday, April 27, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

What's up there Cubs fans? It has been awhile since I have posted up on the here. I have been busy watching the Illini make a great run in the NCAA Tournament, only to come up a Luther Head 3-pointer short. Well and you know the normal stuff like work, and of course watching the Bears totally blow it in the NFL Draft. Cedric Benson, don't understand that one. Why do you release A-train, who was very productive when he got the chance, only to draft another running back a month later? Besides with our o-line, I think only Walter Payton himself could run successfully with that group. Makes no sense to me. I have said it before and say it again...the Bears will not win didly squat until Jerry Angelo is fired. Period.

Anyway, the baseball season is almost one month old, so I figured I would throw my two cents in the mix. Well, I will be honest, I want to talk about Carlos Zam-no-brain-o. As Crash Davis said about Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham, "a million dollar arm, but a five cent head." Zam-no-brain-o was ejected for the second time last night, second time in only 5 starts. That one might have cost the Cubs a game. I know he was struggling a little bit, but he was tossed and left the game in the hands of the Cubs pen. Game over.

I certainly have no problem with a guy pitching inside, heck I don't even mind a little chin music every now and then, and even would agree that there are times when it is needed to hit a member of the opposing team. Zam-no-brain-o, however has a little trouble knowing when the right time to do it is. First of all, you don't do it right after giving up a home run. Secondly, you don't do it in a close ball game, when your bullpen stinks. A more mature pitcher would have stuck whatever it was that ticked him off enough to want to drill Kearns, he would have stuck it in the back of his mind and waited until the next time he pitched against the Reds. Wait until Kearns comes up with 2 outs and no one on base. Then you drill him in the back. You don't get kicked out of the game, and you have one guy on with 2 outs.

Carlos can't and never will be considered the ace of the Cubs staff, or anyone else staff, unless he grows up. You can't keep costing your team games because you want to act like a 6 year old with a 98 MPH fastball. He has all the ability in the world to be a great pitcher for 15 years, but until he grows up, nothing but mediocre at best. Just my thoughts





Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Are You Kidding Me?

Is this really happening? I've been on a hiatus from the blogging world for a couple of weeks since my last post chiding Dusty Baker's use of Neifi Perez and look what has happened since. It's like the Twilight Zone. Perez is killing the ball and the Cubs story looks like someone photocopied it from last year. Here is an excerpt from today's Trib commenting about Chad Fox's season-ending and speculated career-ending injury from last night:

They'd already lost Joe Borowski, Todd Walker and Garciaparra to injuries and are starting to feel like they're living through a rerun of last year's injury-plagued campaign.

What more can I say? The Cubs are repeating two themes from 2004: relying on the long-ball and getting injured. We also have a player that has stepped in due to an injury and performed very well (Perez for Walker / ala Hollandsworth for Sosa 2004). All we can expect now is for Neifi to get injured to complete the deja vu.

Does it look like last year? Absolutely. The only difference so far is that Mark Prior is on the mound and pitching like version 2003. I don't mean to be one of those Cub pessimists (we already have enough of those), so I'll leave it at that. Besides, I don't know what more I could write.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Am I Missing Something?

So I tune into the game preparing to see the Cubs take on the San Diego Padres and Adam Eaton. I figure we're going to see Jerry Hairston penciled in at second since Todd Walker has been placed on the DL after Carlos Lee's chop block at second the day before (I thought it was clean for the record). But I was in for a surprise. Well after thinking about it I shouldn't have been surprised. Who's at second? Oh that's right, Neifi Perez.

During The Leadoff Man Dusty Baker tried to rest his decision on Neifi having an edge in the experience department with Adam Eaton. Well, Neifi sure took advantage of this valuable experience didn't he? The only production we've seen from him all year is one single and one sacrifice hit. I'm not big on early season stats, but this is not going to be a short cold streak. We're going to see this all year from Baker until the radio shows start griping and the fans start booing the starting lineups.

Friday, April 08, 2005

More Steve Stone Controversy

WSCR The Score was broadcasting about 98% Steve Stone discussion yesterday. Steve Stone and Chip Caray appeared on the Mike North morning show to talk about the whole situation between the Cub players and the analysts last year. I think this whole situation has been blown up so big that it is utterly ridiculous. I am completely with Stone on this issue. I understand that some of Stone's comments can be chaffing from the vantage point of the player, but you've got to let him do his job. His comments have never been personal. He's criticizing how the player plays, not how he is as a person. Stone even talked about how he called Kent Mercker and Todd Walker on separate occassions and offered to work out any problems face-to-face as professionals. Neither accepted the offer.

Over the last few years, the two players who I feel would have the biggest right to complain about Stone's comments (if anyone does) would be Antonio Alfonseca and Corey Patterson. Alfonseca threw one pitch as a Cub (low and in fastball) and was utterly hated. Corey Patterson can't take a pitch and was booed terribly last year (although I'm optimistic about an improvement). Stone has had some rather chaffing comments about these two in the past. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe those two have whined to the papers.

Let Stone do his job and if Zambrano and Wood have a problem with it, let them speak up after they've had a 25 win / Cy Young season.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Cubs' Dempster has tough time in first start since '03

I could have written this headline two months ago. How’s this for a line?
3.2 innings, 9 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks, 7 K (this is actually good), 17.18 ERA

This quote from Michael Barrett was rather amusing:
"They just had good at-bats."

Really? Maybe it was the pitcher.

The Party's Antics

It looks like Mark Prior will be pitching for the Albuquerque Isotopes tonight. All is well in Cubland right? Carrie Muskat writes:

“If all goes well, Prior could be activated and inserted into the Cubs' rotation for the April 12 game against San Diego.”

Well, I’ll let my co-bloggers “comrade tirade” stand for a while longer as we let the Tribune Company’s Doublethink (ala 1984) get to work. Compare the pitching injuries and last year’s events to this description about Orwell’s classic novel:

After the WW, the Party took control of the country, and from then on it has been difficult to remember anything, because the Party changes history constantly to their own benefit… Doublethink is a kind of manipulation of the mind. Generally, one could say that Doublethink makes people accept contradictions, and it makes them also believe that the party is the only institution that distinguishes between right and wrong. This manipulation is mainly done by the Minitrue (Ministry of Truth), where Winston Smith works. When a person that is well grounded in Doublethink recognizes a contradiction or a lie by the Party, then the person thinks that he is remembering a false fact. The use of the word Doublethink involves doublethink. With the help of the Minitrue, it is not only possible to change written facts, but also facts that are remembered by people. So complete control of the country and its citizens is provided.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Dusty Strikes Again

This seems to be the recurring theme among the most recent Cubs blog posts. Dusty Baker upset a number of fans last night (including myself) by choosing to bat Neifi Perez in a top of the ninth, down by one, runner on first situation. Jason Dubois and Jerry Hairston, Jr. were both on the bench ready to go. Both Dubois and Hairston are much better hitters than Perez in every category you can think of, but Perez has the two beat in two non-stat categories - one of which is age.

When do the numbers matter with Baker? At some point you've got to ask yourself when the numbers mean more than some stereotype or preconceived notion about veterans and clutch hitting performance.

Here's a thought: why don't we just dump Neifi and pick up the ever-fantastic Rick Ankiel off the waiver wire. At least he's amusing.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Keep drinking the cool-aid lemmings...

For the second straight year, Mark Prior has experienced discomfort and pain while pitching in Spring Training and for the second straight year the Directorate of Information at 1060 W. Addison is assuring the troops that all is well with comrade Prior.

For the second straight year, in spite of repeated earlier statements that Prior would be fine, the heroic and gallant comrade Prior will…

unfortunately and unexpectedly(!)

begin the season on the DL.

:-/

Not to worry though lemmings - keep your chins up! For the second straight year, the directorate has once again given its assurance that comrade Prior will be pitching sometime later this month (April 12th to be exact)! We won’t even miss a beat!

Listen to us lemmings - we are not relying on an unlicensed trainer this year! In fact, the following represent the only things you need to know: 1) our current trainer received his academic certificate as a medical transcriptionist in the mail three weeks ago; 2) he received an impressive array of training in human anatomy and physiology through this training (in addition to valuable information about interpersonal communication and time and stress management); 3) we are fairly confident that he is fully licensed to transcribe medical records in the state; and (perhaps most importantly) 4) we have acquired a more disciplined assistant trainer who knows to keep his mouth shut.

Keep repeating the party line lemmings, “Comrade Prior will not be out 2 months like he was last year – he will be with the team soon enough.”

Say it again now comrades.

And again…

And again…

There now, don’t you feel better?

The heroic Cubs will march on to glorious victory this year comrades! Do not listen to the "nattering nabobs of negativity" (yes, we are well aware of the right-wing origin of that phrase) who note the facts that: 1) Wood and Prior are both exhibiting the same troubling signs of being prone to injury this year as last year; 2) Matt Clement is not around as he was last year to keep the leaky boat afloat in the absence of either Prior and/or Wood; 3) the major question mark surrounding the fifth starter; 4) the loss of the #2 and #4 offensive producers in Alou and Sosa; and 5) a bullpen that looks strikingly similar to last years squad.

Don’t take our word for it Lemmings! Our shills faithful friends among the CBA are rallying the troops as well!

Victory lemmings – victory! Just keep thinking positive thoughts and when the effects of the cool-aid begin to fade, just remember these words:

Serenity now!

Remember those words lemmings – you’re going to need them for most of the season.