I Won’t Walk With My Head Bowed

GAME TWENTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] MILWAUKEE BREWERS (12-11, 4.0 GB, 5th) AT CHICAGO CUBS (13-8, 2.0 GB, 4th) WRIGLEY FIELD, 1:20 CDT Weather: 59 degrees, overcast, wind 12 mph left to right TV: WGN, DirecTV 746 Radio: WGN, XM 185
Glendon Rusch, LHP 1-3, 6.41 ERA, 19 2/3 IP 14 K, 8 BB, 7 HRDoug Davis, LHP 0-2, 7.66 ERA, 24 2/3 IP
Rickie Weeks, 2B JJ Hardy, SS Geoff Jenkins, RF Carlos Lee, LF *Prince Fielder, 1B Bill Hall, 3B Damian Miller, C Brady Clark, CF Doug Davis, SP*Juan Pierre, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Jerry Hairston, 2B Henry Blanco, C *Glendon Rusch, SP
It is nice of the Brewers to send out a pitcher pitching worse than Glendon Rusch against the Cubs today. 21 walks in 24 2/3 innings? That is rough. Seeing how the Cubs are tied for last in the NL in walks taken, though, it might not be that big of a deal. The Tony Clark rumors continue to gain steam. I think he would be a nice pickup for a the Cubs, a guy who could fill in while Lee is out and then move to a pinch-hitting role for the rest of the season. As far as other candidates are concerned, I was at the Indy Indians-Columbus Clippers game last night and was excited to see that Carlos Pena was in the lineup for the Clippers. I thought he might be a decent dark-horse candidate for the Cubs -- cheap to get and might put up some decent numbers -- but I saw nothing from him that made he think he was ready for the big leagues right now. So, scratch that and let's hope Jim Hendry can put something together to get Clark. The Cubs are humming along nicely with significant pieces of their team missing. They're doing it with pitching (4th best ERA in the NL), not hitting (2nd worst OPS in the NL), and it would be nice to pick up a decent bat to guard against a day when Walker and Cedeno will no longer be hitting in the mid-.300s. Hey, if you're in Indanapolis, Montreal, Denver, or Fort Myers (random, huh?) turn on your radio in about an hour to hear me chat with Will Carroll on the second hour of Baseball Prospectus Radio. Yes, the second hour, otherwise known as "the hour they don't podcast." I'll have them record it for me, though, and if I manage to say anything remotely interesting I'll have it posted on TCR later this week.


is he from liverpool? "you'll never walk alone" for a theme song?

weather reports seem to indicate game will be played, with a wind blowing from roughly rf foul pole to lf foul pole. here's hoping rusch gets fly balls from fielder and ground balls from lee.

and that the wonder of small ball from the cubs carries on. go cubs!

if all they want is rich hill and a younger prospect for tony clark, do it. hill is 26 and not that awesome, he's behind ryu/marshall/guzman/williams, and i don't think i need to remind you that the cubs have some pitchers coming off the DL in the next few months that will push some people back to the minors anyway.

i'm not expecting him to replicate his career year from last season (30 HRs in 340 ABs?! 304/366/636?!), but he's still very useful even at his career average numbers of 268/343/494.

he's a switch hitter, when lee comes back you have someone on the bench who can actually hit from the both sides for power, plus lee will be able to be rested once in a while or if he has a nagging wrist problem.

also, lee should be back in time for the june 19-25 week where the cubs will be at the indians and twins, clark could DH. another little plus.

walker (2B)
clark (1B)

that's a much more legit lineup. replacing perez/hairston with clark is a huge upgrade. as ruz said above, this offense is real weak without lee. to keep making hay without him, more power is needed. clark provides that, and he's a guy that won't mind being the top bench guy after lee comes back.

this division might actually be good (which i'm surprised at) and just treading water until lee returns isn't good enough. go get em hendry.

also, maybe the cubs could have clark switch dugouts during the game if they trade for him next wednesday when they're in arizona for two. always an entertaining thought.

Lantern: that has the sound of something which may actually have happened in the past history of baseball- are you referring to any precedent in particular?

dave, i'm actually trying to remember what the example was, but i want to say that sometime in the 70s one player actually played on each team during a doubleheader after the GMs had made the trade in person during the first game. but i might be making that up. i was born in 83 so it's way before my time but it rings a bell.

also, clark is only owed $1M each for 06 and 07. do it.

don't look now but CPat is heating up at the bottom of the Orioles lineup...3-4 yesterday with his 2nd HR. Now at .275, with most of his hits in the last week

I've been waiting for someone to start talking about Kevin Mench who we once speculated might be our RF this year. Mench was hobbled by a sore toe, among other foot and ankle problems and had to sit out something like five games. A trip to the doctor determined he was wearing shoes too small for his feet.

Before and After switching from size 12 to size 12 1/2 shoes.

39 1 11 0 0 .282
33 9 13 7 21 .394

& he's homered in seven consecutive games to boot!

So I'm wondering, was Sammy Sosa wearing shoes too small for HIS feet too?

Last night the I-Cubs beat the Memphis littleredbirds 2-1 with a nicely pitched game by Ryu (his first win this yr), 7 IP, 3 Hits and no runs. Wuertz got a 2 inning save giving up an unearned run.

Pie-ay (.301) had a double, Brandon Sing's 2 run, 6th inning HR provided the offense.

#5 of 9: By Green Lantern (April 29, 2006 10:15 AM)
dave, i'm actually trying to remember what the example was, but i want to say that sometime in the 70s one player actually played on each team during a doubleheader after the GMs had made the trade in person during the first game. but i might be making that up. i was born in 83 so it's way before my time but it rings a bell.

also, clark is only owed $1M each for 06 and 07. do it.


GREEN LANTERN: Tony Clark has made it clear that the only way he will agree to waive his absolute "no trade" rights (which he has through 2006, but not next season), is if the D'backs can help themselves become a better team by trading him. (For whatever reason, Clark absolutely LOVES Phoenix and the Diamondbacks).

Since the D'backs' two primary needs are a rotation starter and a proven LOOGY who is not making too much money, Rich Hill and Will Ohman would seem to be the price the Cubs would have to pay. And I would make that deal. Immediately.

Also, Clark is making just a little over $1m each in both 2006 AND 2007 (whereas somebody like Shea Hillenbrand is making a whopping $5.8m in 2006), so he could easily remain with the Cubs next season as a heavy-duty bat-off-the-bench (Clark is an excellent PH), as well as be insurance in case D-Lee gets hurt again. That's because the Cubs have no 1st basemen in their system who could replace Lee anytime this year or next year.

If the Cubs can acquire Tony Clark, here is my early line on the Cubs bench for next season:

Tony Clark, 1B
Buck Coats, IF-OF
Angel Pagan, OF
Neifi Perez, INF
Geovany Soto, C

Is it true that will carroll looks nothing like he sounds?

There's Joel Youngblood, who got a hit for the Expos against the Cubs during the day and then got traded to Philly and got a hit for them versus the Mets the same night in Philly(1982). I don't recall a trade in the middle of a DH'er for any player...

DanThe Fan,

I dont't know -- how does he sound?

Why not trade Guzman instead of Rich Hill...? I was not really that impressed with Guzman when he had his first start (yet, I read this morning on the Cubs website that Dusty wants to use him again as a starter).

still no barrett




Cubster, if CPat comes close to reaching his full potential this year the Orioles will be very fortunate...he is a talented player who stuggled in the last few years...yet, he seems to be having a strong start this year...we'll see where he is later in the season. The Orioles aren't overpaying Cpat either...this is from ESPN's website..."Patterson, acquired on Jan. 9 from the Chicago Cubs, hit .215 with 13 homers in 126 games in 2005. He gets $2.8 million."...I'm still glad that the Cubs made a change and right now I like Pierre in Center Field.

Rusch is giving away runs early...lets hope he settles down and develops some control soon.

Rusch has given up 9 home runs in just 20 innings of work...that's not acceptable...If he continues on this trend Dusty may have to send him down to Iowa and bring up Rich Hill and see what he can do. At least we have Maddux and Marshall who seem to be much more reliable.

Scott...you cannot make a judgment against Guzman based off of one major leage start. And not only that, but he didn't pitch that poorly in his first start. It was not great, but it was decent.

yeah cannot trade hill for clark. we need hill to replace Rusch - who needs to just be released already.

Scott...but according to your logic, we should trade Marshall also, as he struggled in his first start (and his second).

And do you remember what Hill did last year when he got called up? He struggled. That is what young rookie pitchers do.

Now I agree with you on Rusch - he just sucks.

If I were Hendry (or Dusty) I would have already brought up Rich Hill to replace Rusch...I would have given it at least a 2 game trial...Rusch has demonstrated big control problems since spring training. Good pitching helps you win baseball games...This year without the team at full strength the Cubs can not afford to be too patient with Rusch...Just my view.

Scott...you haven't responded to what I said. Why do you discount Guzman based off of one start, yet praise Hill and Marshall even though they both have struggled in their limited big league experience?

Sorry Dave...maybe I have "rushed to judgement" on Guzman -- it will be interesting to see how he does in his next start. You are right that Rich Hill struggled as a big league starter last summer...yet, I think the Cubs should give him another chance...they have invested a lot in him and he seems to be doing well in Iowa so far this season.

I like Rich Hill, but he also did well in the minors last summer - actually he was dominating. But it has not transferred over to the big league level yet (mainly because he has been somewhat limited to just two pitches).

I think Hill is more valuable as trade bait than he is as a starting pitcher in the Cubs rotation.

Did Jones just get a hit off of a lefty?

Where is Cubswinthepennant to defend his man Rusch? Is it finally time to get rid of this guy?

Maybe Dusty (and Hendry) will start to get the message about Rusch after this game....It was a BIG and expensive mistake to renew his contract...It's time to consider other options.

Damnit Rusch!!!

And why can't I connect to parachat :(

Dusty: Will you send Rusch to Iowa..?? We can't afford a starter like that. Now the Bullpen will start to get overused.

Glendon Rusch = the new Shawn Estes

Dave: I think you would have preferred Rich Hill as a starter today...I have a hunch he would have performed much better than HomeRunGiveaway Rusch did. Lets see if the Bullpen can start to contain the damage.

Contain damage? Hmmm...

Anyways, whose the mop-up guy now?

Rusch is done. Send that boy to the fat farm and then maybe to Iowa. He's only in the league still because he's a lefty. It's kind of sad that Mad Dog is our only go-to starter right now. I'll be at Wrigley for the Padres series.How likely is it to be that Wood is back? Not bloody.

Did you hear Brenly talking about how Rusch has trouble getting to first base because of the way he "finishes his delivery"? That was rich. lol

Right, the way he finishes his delivery, *wink*.

Time for Rich Hill to join the rookie pitcher jamboree that will be the Cubs until June

Glendon Rusch = batting practice

Sweeney: Rusch is done. Send that boy to the fat farm and then maybe to Iowa.

Scott: Dusty: Will you send Rusch to Iowa..??

Can they even do that? He has to, what, clear waivers? I wish I understood this stuff.

Calling one AZ Phil as to how we can get Rusch off the 25-man...

I just sent Ron Santo an email about the pitching situation...we'll see if he gets to it...;-)

I can not understand why Hendry signed Rusch to a multi-year contract for millions of dollars per year. I would not have signed Rusch to another contract after last year's performance...Yet, if Hendry truly thought that was his best option he should have gone with a 1 year contract with a low guarantee and bonus money available IF certain milestones were achieved. It's becoming clear that the White Sox GM is much more disciplined about how they acquire and utilize talent. Of course Ozzie is quite an amazing Manager too. I'm a Cubs fan but last year there was only one Chicago team to support in the play-offs. The Cubs will need better pitching to stay competitive this year. We need more reliable and consistent pitching.

Of course, this game wouldn't be so depressing if WE could score some runs against a not so good pitcher.

Rush was guaranteed $6 Million late last year...details are in this passage that was posted on the Cubs website late last year...>

"i'm going to come to spring training ready"


"i'm going to come to spring training obese"

Anyone notice that the Reds are now 10 games ABOVE .500 right now...They were so smart to acquire Bronson Arroyo (an awesome pitcher that the Cubs could really use right now).

Who would've been our Wily Mo??

the good: 16 runs given up and it wasn't the defense's fault

the bad: almost every other aspect of the game

Freddie Bynum looks like Ronnie Woo Woo. Before Grace bought him teeth.

Well, I won't blame Dusty for that can of crap Cubs performance.

Don't say I never said anything nice about the guy.

"Anyone notice that the Reds are now 10 games ABOVE .500 right now..."

The last couple years the Reds have been a couple decent starters away from being one hell of a team. They are getting good starting pitching right now on most days, and if they can keep that up there is no doubt they are for real.

With that lineup, decent starting pitching, not top-notch like we need, will keep them very competitive. That lineup is young and exciting to watch and, as a Cub fan, its been discouraging to see them keep up their pace with Griff out the last 2 weeks.

CubbyUK, since when is Glendon Rusch "my man"????

This is what I said about him earlier this year,
Glendon Rusch should be ready to pitch by mid May when he comes off the DL (doughnut list).
Posted by: cubswinthepennant at April 5, 2006 07:53 PM

Rusch is a disgrace. A fat slob who showed for spring training pregnant.
Posted by: cubswinthepennant at April 11, 2006 02:31 PM

Well, I saw Rusch from five feet away in spring training Fred, and it was gross. He was the oddball in camp. Everyone else showed up in fantastic condition.
Posted by: cubswinthepennant at April 11, 2006 02:50 PM

Posted by: cubswinthepennant at April 11, 2006 02:54 PM

I said he had been a serviceable starter for the Cubs the last two years, which he has.

That has nothing to do with my opinion of him this year or Hendry signing him to a multi-year deal.

I think it's pretty clear that I'm disgusted with his effort this year.

Can they even do that? He has to, what, clear waivers? I wish I understood this stuff.

Yes, he would have to clear waivers - which well he would. If he didn't? Even better.

rusch to the pen is more likely than rusch to the minors. unless he's got something to work on sending him down isnt likely or useful.

not like that will solve any problems cuz stamina and the need to conserve secondary stuff isn't his issue(s).

From the tone of Johnnie B, I'll be amazed if Rusch makes another start.

My odds on favorite to land T Clark is Jerome Williams. We need Rich Hill to take Rusch's spot.

As for Angel Guzman, in my opinion he pitched well enough for another start.

Rusch, Aardsma, Ohman Struggle Again; How Long Before Rich Hill Enters the Rotation?

Submitted by cubsnet on Sat, 2006-04-29 17:43. Op-Ed


Bad days -- like today's 16-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers -- happen. But for Glendon Rusch and David Aardsma, it's been just about nothing but bad days.

Rusch has now allowed a major league "leading" 11 home runs in 22.1 innings, contributing to his 8.46 ERA.

Aardsma has now pitched in 4 games, 6 innings, since his call-up. Aardsma had pitched well this spring and well early in the year for Iowa, so his call-up was justified. But since arriving, he hasn't been able to control his pitches, walking 9 and allowing 3 homers. That's a big contrast from Aardsma's 7 innings at Iowa, where he struck out 11 and didn't walk anyone. As it is, there's just no way that Dusty Baker can trust him at this point to pitch in anything other than blowouts.

Rucsh isn't going anywhere, armed as he is with a new 2-year contract. Aardsma, on the other hand, could find himself back in Iowa very soon.

Meanwhile, Rich Hill is once again dominating minor league hitters. He's started the year with a 1.44 ERA in 25 innings, striking out 33 and walking just 7. He's only allowed 13 hits, one of them a homer.

Given this scenario, and given that Baker doesn't have a lot of confidence in Will Ohman right now either -- it wouldn't be surprising at all if the Cubs promoted Hill and inserted him in the rotation, moving Rusch to the bullpen. That would then mean that either Aardsma or Ohman would be sent down.

If Hill is called up and enters the rotation, it would be bizarre, looking at matters from the beginning of the spring, to have Hill, Sean Marshall, and Angel Guzman all in the rotation to start the month of May.

Despite the problems that today's game further revealed, the Cubs still stand at a good 13-9. Tomorrow's a new day, and Carlos Zambrano gets another chance to pick up his first victory of the year.

Could someone please tell me why in God's name Rusch started today? It was Zambrano's turn to pitch. With the day off on Thursday, Carlos has his 4 days rest as of today. So why the heck does idiot Dusty go with Rusch? Why does that stupid toothpick-chomping chump feel the need to hand the ball to someone as clearly useless as Rusch has been? Why ever go to the 5th starter if you don't have to? Especially when that 5th starter is Glendon Rusch!!! We had that goddamn batting practice pitching lardass out there for absolutely no good reason at all. And J. Jones gets another start against a lefty. Dusty f***ing Baker. I hate that motherf***er.

This just in from Chicagosports.com !

Cubs Announce They Are Putting Rusch Down

Beleagured starter Glendon Rusch, suddenly, has much more to worry about than a bloated ERA. Jim Hendry, the Cubs' General Manager, announced after the 16-2 drubbing the Milwaukee Brewers applied Saturday afternoon, that it was time to 'put Rusch down'. When asked if he meant sent down to the minors, Hendry replied 'No, put him down, you know like you do with a race horse who's broke his leg. It is just too painful to watch anymore, so we have decided to put Glendon down. Really this will be the best for all involved. The only thing we're not sure about yet is whether we will be able to make his cleats into glue'

The fact that Rusch is in the starting rotation is Hendry's fault. Knowing that you have a couple of injury questions (every year!)you would think getting a # 3 starter "wood" be pretty high on the "prior"ity list. Obviously, Millwood (he makes as much as Derek Lee!) and Burnett were significantly overpriced but someone along the lines of Jeff Weaver (1 year only!), Javier Vasquez, or Matt Morris would have been a wise investment. All of the above are actually capable of winning 12-15 games, Rusch isn't.

For $100 million, there shouldn't be questions about both the starting pitching and lack of a third power hitter in the middle of the lineup.

Hendry needs to get a little more bang for his buck.

Horatio: It's not Dusty's fault. I've been a critic of the man for a long time, but I'm not going to jump on the "Blame Dusty" bandwagon. It's not his fault we lost today, just like it's not his fault for the high oil prices or glaucoma in this world. If he had pitched Zambrano, and Z got shelled (hypothetically), can you honestly say that you wouldn't have posted to blast Dusty for pitching Z out of order? He had faith that Rusch would be able to pitch; he was wrong. If he had put in Zambrano today, he'd have to pitch Rusch tomorrow. Rusch is not a good pitcher, he's showing it this year, and we lost a game. Period. End of story. Not Dusty's fault that Glendon had a poor outing.

If we could get Tony Clark for Jerome Williams straight-up, I'd make that deal in a heartbeat. However, it'd probably cost us Williams and a decent prospect to go with him.

Hopefully we are about to see Glendon get sent to the bullpen for long relief, with Aardsma going back to Triple A. I think Aardsma can be good in the future, but he needs to work on a secondary pitch. As much as I think Ohman was a fluke last year, we really don't have another LOOGY to call up to replace him. Hill would obviously take Rusch's spot in the rotation; I'm nowhere near as high on Hill as most people seem to be, but I think he's better than Rusch. He worked a lot on developing a change-up this off-season, and that may help him fare better in a second tour of duty in the majors.

If Hendry can get Clark, a guy who hit 30 homers in less than 400 ABs last season for Jerome Williams, then he deserves the Nobel Prize for General Managing.

As for Rusch. The Cubs have started a stretch of something like 17 straight days with a game so skipping someone in the rotation would have been meaningless since Rusch would have to "pitch" sooner or later anyway. Just brutal to see a fat guy throwing batting practice without a screen in front of him. He could get hurt.

Honestly, what's the big deal with demoting Aardsma, recalling Hill, giving him the 5 spot, and sending Rusch to the pen? It's not like Rusch doesn't have bullpen experience. And the guy is good for little other than mopup duty right now anyways.

Hill, OTOH, has a sub 2.00 ERA in 4 Iowa starts. Give him his chance. If he has two or three solid starts before Kerry Wood returns, then he's just built up his trade value nicely, making Jim Hendry's inevitable June trade that much easier to consummate. Makes sense all around.

I want to see Rich Hill starting the game on Thursday the 4th. Period.


I think they should probably give Hill a shot at this point too, but you talk as if once Wood gets back, that's it, he'll just pitch the rest of the season. i have no such confidence. I don't think the Cubs can get rid of any more starters. I don't trust Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan (I mean Prior and Wood) to accomplish anything anymore. Anything positive they do is just a bonus. A combined twenty wins from those two would be more than I could ask. And it's doubtful Wood will be back next year unless he wants to give the Cubs a big discount for all the sick days he's taken.

I realize that eventually there would be 5 games in 5 days (or 10 games in 10 days, etc. etc.) so GR would eventually have to pitch. But the idea is to do it only when you absolutely have to. Any time GR pitches when there's a day off in the mix like we had last week, it's a start he never needed to make. Like this one. Over the course of a season, that's a difference of 3, 4, 5 starts. Like any shitty situation, you do your best to limit your exposure. What you don't do is look for ways to purposely put yourself into a bad position when you didn't need to be there. And that's why Dusty sucks.

Hill will always have great numbers at AAA cause most guys there cant hit curve balls and when he is brought up he will get shelled like Rusch. If there going to call anybody up it should be Ryu. He has been on the same rotation as Rusch and has more upside than Hill. Hendry's worst mistake was putting Nolasco and not Hill into that Pierre trade. With how Hill is overated they might have even done Hill and Mitre for Pierre leaving us with Pinto for another trade.

And I would not have "gotten on Dusty" if Z had gotten shelled. After all, it's Z's turn to pitch. Sometimes even good pitchers get shelled. It happens. My displeasure centers on the fact that a perfectly rested Zambrano was passed over for a fat-assed washout like Rusch. My beef with Dusty is the fact that he continually intervenes to sabotage the Cubs' chances of winning any given game.

come on....can we really say Hill will get shelled soley based on his 20 oh my god sample size stuff last year?

I dont think hes going to be great, but i certainly think he has done everything in the minors he can possibly do and needs a [u]prolonged[/u] shot in the majors. Face it, just about EVERY single major league starter got shelled for their first 50-150 major league innings. everyone from peavy to santana to maddux. Only a few actually dominate from the start. Cub fans have been brainwashed with Z, Prior and Wood all being ready when they got here, although I am stretching that a bit with Z.

Hills the kind of lefty who doesnt need a good third pitch, or even a average one. He just needs a show me change on the outer half he can throw 5-10 a game to righties. His FB/CV is good enough to get lefties out 3 times through an order. His FB/CV is good enough to get through it twice...and if he can have the command that he has in AAA he can get through it a third time.

Im a big believer in just give young pitchers with one big pitch time and theyll surprise you.

The most-likely scenario right now is that Rich Hill and Michael Wuertz will be recalled from Iowa--Wuertz replacing Aardsma possibly as soon as Sunday, and Hill replacing Rusch in the starting rotation next Thursday, with Glendon Rusch going to the bullpen replacing Will Ohman. (Aardsma and Ohman would be optioned to AAA, Aardsma probably immediately, Ohman sometime before next Thursday; as for Rusch, he will NOT be released, traded, or sent to the minors

Michael Wuertz has been pitching well so far at Iowa (throwing strikes and allowing no HR), and his ten days have expired (he was optioned out on April 15th, so he could not be recalled before April 25th unless he was replacing a player going on the DL), and thus he is very likely the guy who will be recalled to replace Aardsma. Again, possibly as soon as today (Sunday). I don't think Hendry & Baker intended for Wuertz to stay at AAA for very long, anyway... just long enough to get back on track.

Hill pitched last Tuesday night, Jerome Williams pitched Thursday, and Jae-kuk Ryu pitched Friday night, so any one of the three could be recalled to take Rusch's scheduled start next Thursday at Arizona. If Hill pitches Sunday, then figure he's NOT the one who will get the call, and that it will probably instead be J. K. Ryu, who pitched seven shutout innings (100 pitches, three hits, two BB, and five K) in his last start Friday night. But Hill is the more-likely candidate, because he has been absolutely dominating in his first four AAA starts:

25 IP, 13 H, 6 R (4 ER), 7 BB, 33 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP

Hill's most-recent start last Tuesday night (game suspended after 6-1/2 innings due to rain):

6 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 10 K, 1 WP, 98 pitches.

Hill starting versus the D'backs next Thursday night could also serve as a "showcase" should the snakes decide to move Tony Clark to the Cubs, presuming Rich Hill (and probably Will Ohman) would be the price (as I believe it would be).

Look at the bright side, Rusch could be plucked and shrinkwrapped as a Butterball turkey. Even a turkey, as long as its left-handed, could get a prospect from the bone dry Yankees system.

This is from today's Miami Herald...

Curse still haunts Cubs
The Miami Herald
Posted on Sun, Apr. 30, 2006

CHICAGO -- It started 50 years ago with a goat.

Since then it's grown to include a black cat, Leon Durham's glove, Steve Bartman and various body parts belonging to Kerry Wood, among others.

The Boston Red Sox once blamed their 86-year championship drought on the Curse of the Bambino. But the Chicago Cubs' dry spell is so epic it can't be pinned on just one person. Or even one species.

In fact, it's gotten so bad that whoever's been left in charge of evil sports curses should probably be flagged for piling on.

Consider, for example, the latest misfortune to have visited Chicago. After starting the season with three-fifths of their starting rotation on the disabled list, the Cubs have now lost Gold Glove first baseman Derrek Lee, the defending National League batting champion, for at least two months after a freak play in Los Angeles left him with a fractured wrist.

For former All-Star third baseman and current Cubs broadcaster Ron Santo, that was the final straw.

'When Lee went down, I said, `What's going on here?' '' said Santo, who has spent 30 seasons with the Cubs as a player and broadcaster. ``You have to. It's been 98 years.''

Ninety-eight years since the Cubs have won a World Series. Even the Bambino was little more than a Bambino then. The Titanic hadn't even been built, much less sunk, the last time a World Series banner flew over Wrigley Field.

Oops! Check that. Wrigley Field hadn't even been built the last time the Cubs won a World Series. It may be the oldest ballpark in the National League, but Wrigley is still six years younger than the Cubs' streak of misfortune. With the exception of those hosting expansion franchises, every baseball city -- even Chicago, with the White Sox -- has won at least one title since then.

''We're the only ones left,'' Santo said.

For its first 37 years, the drought was generally chalked up to bad luck -- unusually bad luck, perhaps, because the Cubs lost six World Series in that time, but bad luck nonetheless.


However, things took a turn in 1945 when Chicago tavern owner William Sianis and his goat were denied entry to a World Series game at Wrigley. Incensed, Sianis put a hex on the Cubs, and the team hasn't been back to the Series since.

Which isn't to say they haven't come close. In 1969, they led the league most of the summer and went into a crucial series with the Mets at Shea Stadium holding a 2 Ω-game lead with three weeks to play. That's when a black cat came out from beneath the stands and walked around Santo as he stood in the on-deck circle. Spooked, the Cubs went on to lose 14 of their final 22 games and finish second, eight games behind the Mets.

In 1984, the Cubs had the second-best regular-season record in baseball and were just a win away from the World Series before losing three straight to San Diego, the final loss set up by two Leon Durham errors.

And then there was 2003, when the Cubs took a 3-0 lead into the eighth inning needing just five outs to get to the World Series. But that's when Cubs fan Bartman inadvertently tipped a foul ball away from left fielder Moises Alou, starting an eight-run Marlins rally that didn't end until Florida had its second world title in seven years -- or two more than the Cubs have in the past 98.

For Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, none of that necessarily means the team is cursed. Maybe it's just really, really unlucky.

''I personally don't believe in curses,'' he said. ``I personally just think that this organization just had some misfortune. I'd love for it to be our turn. But a lot of times things are out of your control.''

Let the record show that, shortly after publicly doubting the curse, Barrett nearly broke a finger sliding into second base. X-rays later revealed a severe sprain, meaning the goat let him off with a warning. This time.


Or maybe the goat is mellowing. After all, despite their injury problems the Cubs went into the weekend four games over .500 and just 2 Ω games off the lead in the NL Central. And there's more good news: Ace right-handers Wood and Mark Prior, out with injuries since spring training, are expected back shortly; and even Lee's injury hasn't decimated the team because Todd Walker, his replacement, was leading the league in hitting at the start of last week.

Still Santo knows better than to taunt the curse. After all, it's only April.

''The goat thing . . . it's always haunted us in a sense,'' he said. ``I know that goat is dead. Somewhere. I know it is. And the curse, I feel, is dead.

``But if we don't get there by the time I pass on, I am going to find that goat and kill it again.''

someone along the lines of Jeff Weaver (1 year only!)

I'm sorry, but you can't complain about Hendry signing Rusch, and then say he didn't get more "bang for the buck" because he didn't sign Jeff Weaver.

Look at Rusch's line vs Weavers over the past 2 years, Look at Rusch's line vs. Weaver's line so far this Year, and then look at the two contracts. I think you'll find that Weaver isn't nearly the value you're looking for.

I also am also a little amazed at the number of people who still think Rich "one trick pony" Hill is the answer to anything. The guy can dominate minor league hitters because his one trick is that good, but it isn't good enough to fool major league hitters who face him more than one time a game.

Scott...don't paste complete articles. Just give a link.

Haven't we gone over this before?

Horatio: But you are unfairly criticizing Baker. He makes his share of stupid moves and even stupider comments, but he is doing a really good job so far this year. And again, can you with 100% honesty and certainty tell me that if Rusch hadn't been skipped in the rotation, and we still lost both games, that you wouldn't criticize Baker for screwing with the rotation? There are off-days for every team...starting pitchers end up getting an extra day of rest every couple of weeks. Get over it, man.

Sucks to see us lose again today, but what bothers me more is how poorly Zambrano has been pitching this season. I really thought that he found himself after the third inning of his start against the Marlins, but he still seems too amped up. It looks like he's trying to overthrow his pitches and hit his location, which is something Big Z simply can't do. We need him to get his mind right...ASAP.

AZ Phil: That's good to hear about MW getting better at AAA. His slider looked like hell when he was with the Cubs, and for him to be good, he needs his slider.

Hill probably isn't a miracle--I know that I was in favor of trading him this off-season while his value was really high, but even if he does just a mediocre job upon getting called up, he will be better than Rusch or Williams. Posting a 2-2 record with a 4.5 ERA would increase his value, too, so we'd benefit on that end, as well. Maybe Ryu will be better in the long-run, but I think Hill is the best option right now.

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Recent comments

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  • Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?

    Hagsag 6 min 59 sec ago view
  • It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.

    Still impressive.

    John Beasley 8 min 46 sec ago view
  • Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.

    He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.

    billybucks 7 hours 3 min ago view
  • Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.

    Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.

    billybucks 7 hours 7 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

    neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.

    crunch 7 hours 23 min ago view
  • Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?

    billybucks 7 hours 26 min ago view
  • Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump

    jacos 7 hours 30 min ago view
  • Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.

    billybucks 7 hours 34 min ago view
  • j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.

    felix pena, your turn.

    crunch 7 hours 36 min ago view
  • it's been a while since joe's over-managed a game...it's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.

    crunch 8 hours 22 min ago view
  • Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.

    John Beasley 10 hours 38 min ago view
  • barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.

    crunch 11 hours 26 sec ago view
  • Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?

    Brick 11 hours 9 min ago view
  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 12 hours 10 min ago view
  • rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.

    Fwiw, he can give up 1 ER in 5 innings (or more) and still be under 2. If he gives up 2 ER, he would need throw 9 IP to keep it under 2. 1 ER in 4 IP would give him an ERA of exactly 2.

    In terms of WAR, it's still Scherzer by a lot (6.4), then Cueto (5.6), Lester (5.5), Kershaw (5.5), Roark (5.4), and then Hendricks (5.1)

    Rob G. 13 hours 24 min ago view
  • Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.

    billybucks 14 hours 8 min ago view