The Silver Lining

I never really thought we'd catch the Pirates or the Royals for worst record in the league, but honestly a top pick in the first three slots of the draft is usually a good thing especially since the Cubs don't seem to shy away from giving out bonus money. This isn't a team that's so young that any type of moral victory such as fifth over sixth place would mean anything, so might as well go for the high draft pick. The Royals are playing well so they're definitely catchable for the overall worst record. You want to see some of the kids on the team do well, I'm particularly interested in Murton, Theriot, Hill, Guzman, Marshall and Ryu and on a lesser scale Soto, Marmol and Mateo, but anytime a vet needs a break or what not, no reason to put them out there I say. Well maybe we should put Rusch out there, he'd definitely help with the losing. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (56-83 (Div) 5th - 18.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th -16.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (55-83 (Div) 6th - 19.0 GB; (Wild Card) 13th - 17.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 77 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 8 mph TV: CSN, DirectTV 745 Radio: WGN, XM 189
Rich Hill, LHP 4-6, 5.24 ERA, 65.1 IP 46 K, 30 BB, 12 HR 252/333/479 againstZach Duke, LHP 8-13, 4.97 ERA, 179.1 IP 94 K, 59 BB, 14 HR 310/367/456 against

*Chris Duffy, CF Jose Bautista, 3B Freddy Sanchez, SS Jason Bay, LF #Ryan Doumit, 1B Ronny Paulino, C Joe Randa, 3B Jose Castillo, 2B *Zach Duke *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Derrek Lee, 1B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS *Rich Hill, P

Pirates vs. Hill: No Pirates with more than 10 AB's Cubs vs. Duke: Matt Murton: 8-14, 571/600/929, 1 HR, 2 2B Ronny Cedeno: 6-13, 462/462/462 Aramis Ramirez: 3-12, 250/308/500 Juan Pierre: 1-11, 091/091/091 Derrek Lee: 2-10, 200/200/300
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Comments

you don't really advocate the cubs throwing games for the rest of the season so they can have a higher draft pick, do you? you're just ambivalent about whether or not they win any more games?

basically....

no reason to put anyone out there that's not 100% right now that's for sure.

but I'll be rooting for the kids, whether we win another game means nothing to me though.

agreed... start Soto for crying out loud.

maybe ramirez got thrown out last night to give moore a couple ab's?

3 k's and a bb, and he still only throws 14 pitches. I am starting to like this guy...

And before anyone says it is just the Pirates, he did just strike out two of the best hitters in baseball in Sanchez and Bay.

First complete game of the season on the horizon?

yo, don't jinx it carmen :)

If you meant Anibel Sanchez...maybe.

Sanchez has a no-no through 8....with 4 BBs.

Anibel got it done. First no-hitter since the Unit's in 2004.

Congrats to Sanchez!!

Wish we had that good of young pitching.

Is it just me, or has Ramires been lousy since the return of D-Lee?

It will be a painful shame to watch Hill's outign go to waste.

Odd-- according to Yahoo, Bay homered in the top of the 6th to tie the game at 1-1. But, GameDay shows Cubs still leading 1-0 after 6.

????

Two in one night?

Randy Johnson has a no-no through 5.

Yea...yahoo appears frozen for me...

Johnson...no-no through 6. I guess he still wants to be the last one to throw a no-hitter.

Awesome play, there, Ronny. You're a star.

D-LEE! Must be nice to hit a grand slam on your birthday.

Ramirez hit the ball pretty well tonite, just didn't get good results. that GIDP was an amazing play.

Rob G.--

Go for the draft pick? IMO, the hardest, most elusive thing to develop in sports is learning how to win. It involves not only developing your talent as a ball player but also developing a vision for seeing the whole field at a glance, in context, plus the ability to spot opportunities to exploit your advantage or your opponent's vulnerability and know the very thing you can do to make it happen. They also develop the presence of mind to do it in the biggest games and in pressure-filled situations. Players like Derek Jeter come up big in the clutch time after time because they have developed this. The relay play he made in 2001 playoffs to nail Giambi at the plate was the kind of thing that can happen when a player has learned to win.

Every day, every game in sports is another opportunity for each player to make the breakthrough in his maturation that will cause him to learn how to win. It is impossible to tell if it will happen to any particular player or what will cause it to happen. However, I believe that an attitude in a player (or manager) that tolerates losing makes it much less likely that they will ever learn to win. Ditto for anyone who thinks they can "turn it off and on" at will. Therefore, for a player (or management) to EVER take the attitude that they are "playing for a draft position" is competitive suicide. They have strangled the very spirit that could lead them to discover how to win.

As a Cubs fan, I want each of them to play hard to win every game. Today is the day they may come upon that most elusive quality -- learning how to win. If you don't show up to play today, you may not have the opportunity to learn it again tomorrow -- or ever. To sell THAT for the hope of a higher draft pick is like selling your birthright for a bowl of stew. Anyone who does so has demonstrated why he will always be a loser. I hope I don't ever hear a statement like that again on this board.

Joe-- You sound like a motivational speaker--LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!!

"...the spirit that could lead them to discover how to win... they may come upon that elusive quality--learning how to win... developing a vision for seeing the whole field..."

Joe, you can't possibly have been a Cubs fan for as long as your name suggests. Because if you have, you'll know the unifying theme of decades of suckitude has been lack of talent. Not day games, not goats, not Bartman. We've just had a really awful time spotting and developing young talent.

So if losing a few extra games in this already God-awful season allows the Cubs "braintrust" to draft first or second, where they'll have a harder time screwing it up, that's just fine with me.

Because when you write "Anyone who (loses to get a better draft pick) will always be a loser"... you might want to go back and check the standings the past seven decades or so.

No van, no river-- just in my mother's basement by the creek....

BTW, you sound like a real winner, too.

Wow, I didn't realize that there was some magic ability to win baseball games that didn't involve runs.

I'm not sure I advocated anyone to not play hard or do their best. But at the end of the season, with this talent, losing is a far better investment than winning. I'm certainly not rooting against anyone or the team, but at the end of the day a first or second pick in the draft is going to have a greater impact than
whether we finished 5th or 6th in our division.

I don't mean to speak for Rob G, but I think he was trying to find a silver lining (a high draft pick) in this otherwise dismal season. I don't think he or anyone was advocating that the team actually go out and try to lose games. Of course, even if they did, how could you tell?

Sweet Lou: Of course, even if they did, how could you tell?

If Mabry goes in to pitch I'll call you out on that and say the Cubs are trying to lose.

Anyways, how about that Ronnie Cedeno? He's got quite an arm. Want to hear something fun? Furcal has 23 errors so far this season, Cedeno has 22.

Hooray for overpaying!

You know, now that I think about it, if I was trying to lose games, but not be overly obvious about it, I'd sit my hottest hitter (i.e. Murton) and pinch hit Mabry for Theriot, even though Theriot was in the middle of a hot streak. With this being the norm, would it be all that unusual to pitch Mabry? After all, Dusty keeps running Rusch and Dempster out there. Hmmm...

I'm with Rob G. here. Plus, vagaries like "learning how to win" are nowhere near as important as simply having good players on the roster. The Cubs problem isn't that they don't know how to win, it's that the group isn't talented enough to do it no matter what they may know. Get better hitters who don't get themselves out 68-70% of the time and we just may notice a difference in the level of play.

Furcal's also recorded about 150 more outs in the field than Cedeno and has almost 100 points of OBP on him at the plate. Furcal was actually only paid $9 million (or Pierre and Dempster) this year. Sorry. I'd be less snarky if there was some end in sight.

#28 of 29: By Horatio
Get better hitters who don't get themselves out 68-70% of the time and we just may notice a difference in the level of play.
----

That double negative dangling participle fooled me, but a low curve on the outside corner is why I never got paid ENOUGH to make a living baseball (hate it when my participle dangles, by the way.....JoeyWifey is an English teacher..she HATES it when I talk dirty like that)

Horie, may I assume you meant to say you WANT to find hitters that get themselves out ONLY 68%-70% of the time??

If not...help me understand what you meant, please.

Joey

I never thought Furcal was the answer for the Cubs, but I think that word "overpaid" gets over used and/or misused. The Dodgers "overpaid" Furcal, but in the end they spent just about as much on total team payroll as the Cubs.

For virtually the same money, the Dodgers are about to win the NL West, even though they have had to deal with injuries this year, most notably to their closer, Eric Gagne, who has missed the entire season. On the other hand, for the same money that the Dodgers spent, the Cubs are in the basement of the NL Central and have allowed injuries to ruin their season (or at least that's their excuse).

So who overpaid? If it was the Dodgers, then I hope Jim Hendry decides to jump on the over paying bandwagon in 2007. Sometimes you have to pay more for a player than he is worth by himself. But if he is the piece of the puzzle that the team needs, then it's really not over paying.

"Sometimes you have to pay more for a player than he is worth by himself"

This is true but also you have to be able to judge the talent better for whom you over pay-

Rusch
Neifi

Jacos -- Exactly. It seems like the Cubs purposely avoid high profile, big ticket guys because they are too expensive, but then overpay for mediocre, run-of-the-mill (or worse) guys. In the end, the payroll ends up the same, but the on field performance is lacking.

For 2007, I'd like to see the team pick up a couple of pitchers and a couple of perennial all-star type position players. It's time for the Cubs to start acting like the big market team they are.

Re: Learning how to win

I'm guessing anyone good enough to make it to the major leagues has already "learned how to win."

Playing in state tournaments, state title games, college world series', Venezuelan Winter Leagues, etc offer just as much opportunity to learn how to be a winner under pressure as a meaningless MLB game in September when your team is stuck in last place.

Anyway, give me talented players over someone who supposedly "knows how to win" anyday. I bet at some point in his life, everyone said, "Boy, that Glendon just knows how to win."

There are three things the Cubs need foremost in 2007-
Starting Pitching
Starting Pitching
Starting Pitching

There is such a thing as players that know how to win. This is true in many sports. Guys that have played on winning teams repeatedly (key word) usually know the importance of team, chemistry and clutch. Guys that were usually the best but played on losing teams end up placing a higher importance on their stats and numbers. Some organizations (forward thinking ones), do actually place a higher importance when building their organization of a guy's stats in a winning environment vs. a guy's stats in a losing environment.

Take the Bulls for example (different sport obviously), but look at the team they have built there. About 75-80% of that team has won or finished second at every level they have played at. If you get guys who are used to losing and accept, you breed losing. Winning breeds winning.

A couple of bright spots:

Since the A/S break:

Hill: 8 starts, 53 IP, 3.21 ERA, 46K/17BB, 1.11 WHIP. Throw out the Mile HIgh game and it looks much better.

Wuertz: 26 IP, 2.10 ERA, 27K/8BB, 1.17 WHIP.

It's not a full year, but they are definitely showing some promise.

Throw in Theriot and Murton, and you have some promising young players who have had a fair amount of MLB experience this year.

By the way -- JP now leads the league in hits, which is a remarkable turnaround from April/May. Remember back in the day when that used to be something people paid attention to?

There are three things the Cubs need foremost in 2007-
Starting Pitching
Starting Pitching
Starting Pitching

So are we going to win all of our games 1-0, and 2-1?

I won't have any problem with a rotation of:

Zambrano
Schmidt
Hill
Guzman
Marshall

for next year. I even think Butterball should be given the off season to become a professional athlete again. If he shows up in February looking like Willy's stunt double again, cut him then. Bringing back Maddux for $3 million to be the 4th starter would be OK in my book as well.

I don't mean to stick up for Joe Pepitone, but there is something to be said for creating a winning environment. This is something I think Dusty has done a very poor job of this year.

If you take a bunch of run-of-the-mill players (sprinkle in an especially talented player or two) and add a winning environment, you'll have a team that competes (ala the Marlins). On the other hand, take a group of talented ball players, create excuses and controversy, and nurture an environment where losing is okay (ala the 2004 Cubs), and you'll have a team of talented losers.

This is why I argue that the right manager is so important. The manager sets the tone, creates the expectations, and holds the players accountable. Others have claimed that MLB players don't need this from their manager, but I think it is probably the most important thing a manager does.

DD is right. Give me talent and I'll win. Lots of guys in the NBA, not just on the Bulls, won at every level because they were the best players and the best players play at the schools that win. That's why North Carolina has had a lot more players in the NBA than Northwestern. I'd like to hear examples of guys who know how to win that I'd rather have than someone at the same position with better stats across the board.

Was Bucky Dent a winner when he played for those awful Sox teams and the Yankees prior to his homer in Boston? Would people say, "Boy, with the season on the line, I'd sure like to have Bucky Dent up. Can't hit, can't get on base, but dammit, he's a winner." No, a 320 foot homer and one good World Series is all that stands out in his mediocre career. He wasn't a winner. He's just a guy who got hot in the Series after batting .200 in the ALCS.

I don't think Aramis Ramirez has the characteristics of what you would call a winner, but he almost carried the Cubs into the World Series in 2003. Had he done that, would he now, as he stands at the plate and watches his "homers" bounce off the walls, be a winner?

Right on jacos. A big bat in LF would be nice, but that's minor compared to the holes in the '07 rotation.

The Bulls? Oh yeah. In 2000, they had Kukoc, Dickey Simpkins, Ron Harper, Matt Maloney, Will Perdue, Elton Brand (Duke), and Ron Artest (St. John's) among the minutes leaders. All these guys had either played in the NBA or conference finals recently or went to the Elite Eight or better and/or played on one of the most dominating series teams in any professional sport. All the winning atmosphere in the world couldn't get them above 17-65.

When Dusty joined the Cubs, he came in with a "Why not us" attitude. He wasn't buying in to the lovable loser mentality or the Billy Goat curse. In his mind, the only thing the Cubs were lacking was a couple of talented players and a winning attitude.

In 2003, this new attitude worked right up until the Bartman play in the playoffs. There was nothing special or magical about that play, but Dusty and his boys let it get in their heads and it has been downhill ever sense.

Dusty succeeded in geting rid of the "lovable loser" tag. Now, the Cubs are just viewed as losers. The entire organization needs an attitude overhaul and that needs to happen before the team can get back to being a contender.

The Real Neal: Zambrano
Schmidt
Hill
Guzman
Marshall

3 rookies is too much. IMO 2 rookies is too much, but if Hill can show up next spring and consistently throw junk like he threw last night (and keep it on the edge of the zone), I'd be ok with Hill & Gooz both in the rotation.

Marshall's nice and locates his pitches great, but with him in the rotation that means Hill is the #3 starter, and Hill's not a #3 guy yet. Elect me for GM and I'd package Marshall somehow and trade for some offense and sign a guy like Eaton for #3 starter. A big LF bat would be nice.

OK, guys -- I forgot who my audience was.

Part of "Learning how to win" is the ability to manage one's self to perform well under high stress situations. Sudden stress causes the amygdala (in the brain) to activate the adrenal glands. The release of adrenalin gives an extra shot of physical energy ( which is good) but there is also a release of cortisol in the blood stream, which interferes with the hippocampus and impairs the ability of the brain to perceive the environment and to use ones memory systems. "You see less, hear less, miss more cues from the environment, and make mistakes. Under extreme stress, the visual field actually narrows." (Laurence Gonzales, "Deep Survival", at p. 39.) In sports jargon, you choke. Learning to win, in part, means learning to take advantage of the energy from the adrenalin while keeping a clear head and mind in the middle of a high stress situation. It means learning how to fight off and overcome a natural physiological reaction. That is a skill that is difficult to learn but extremely valuable. You don't learn it by giving up in the face of your competition. (Check out Gonzales' book "Deep Survival" for a discussion of the brain chemistry under stress and the ability to maintain a clear head in the middle of high stress situations.)

In addition, a characteristic of all successful athletes is a compulsive competitiveness that hates to lose at anything. I think it's a bad idea to promote the idea that losing is OK. It can start to become a really bad habit. As a Cubs fan, experience leads me to the conclusion that losing becomes a habit way too easily. IMO, one should avoid it like the plague. I also think that one should take every opportunity to learn the opposite.

When we look back on Dusty's regime, what will be thought of as his smartest move?

I say making Borowski the closer in 2003. Borowski wasn't a big name, and he had to earn the job. His stuff wasn't particularly awesome.

What if I had said before the '03 season?: "Borowski will save 30+ games, and we will win our first postseason series since 1908, and Borowski will be on the mound to record the final out when we win that postseason series."

You would have thought I was nuts. Borowski had zero in his background to suggest he "knew how to win."

So that's why I don't buy the "learning how to win" argument. These guys have to be pretty damn driven to make the major leagues in the first place.

Also -- since the A/S break, Cubs are 6th in the league (out of 16)in runs scored. The current lineup (assuming Murton in LF and Theriot at 2B)can score enough runs to win. The bullpen, excluding Dempster, looks solid.

So -- resign JP, extend A-Ram, and if Pie is ready next year, deal JJ to an AL team who needs a lefty DH. Eat some contract if you have to.

Find a way to get Schmidt to Chicago, lock up CZ, find a #3 guy (Prior? I know, I know), count on 2 of Hill, Marshall and Guzman to be #4-5, and you can contend in the NL Central.

If Dusty is a reason that JP, A-Ram and Schmidt would come/stay, then keep him around. If not, start over. The stuff about the pre-game clubhouse is, IMO, over-rated. You think the Red Sox clubhouse was a library when they won it?

Anyway -- I'm strangely optimistic about next year. Hunh -- that's new......

Sorry it's a day late, but we must observe:

This Date in Cubs Bliss-tory
Sept. 6, 1993

Steve Buechele, Willie Wilson and Steve Lake hit back-to-back-to-back homers as the Cubs beat the Phillies at the Vet.

Ah, good times.

I would trade Marshall this offseason. He walks way too many guys for a soft tosser. He's got "Scott Downs" written all over him, and I remember fans thought Scott Downs was going to be a John Tudor-Jimmy Key type.

To clarify my point -- if there is something called "learning to win", it is a valuble thing. One should not risk it in the hope of getting a higher draft pick. That's all.

at this point in the season's anyone's fandom or willingingness to see the team win shouldnt even be in play.

anyone still paying attention to this trainwreck has some kinda vested interest in the club be it immediate or 07.

as of now there are no andy millers or mark priors out there, so its not a race...and well...the cubs always got the $$ to go for the money pick that slips (prior).

RE: Anibel Sanchez

I know Girardi gets all the credit for everything that goes right there, but isn't the Marlins pitching coach Rick Kranitz? How long did Rick Kranitz work here?

This guy must be doing an unbelievable job. It's just incredibly rare for a team to have so many good young pitchers. As we've found out, even young pitchers with good stuff struggle sometime.

Kranitz always struck me as a hypertechincal pitching nerd. I don't believe he ever pitched in the big leagues, so it would might be difficult for him to get a more veteran staff to respect him.

If Girardi comes here next year, I hope he brings his pitching coach with him.

billybucks, I like your plan... except I'm 100% done with Wood & Prior. Period. I'm sure some team will rehab them successfully and they'll go on to win multi Cy Youngs, but I'm okay with that.

Mitterwald: I would trade Marshall this offseason. He walks way too many guys for a soft tosser. He's got "Scott Downs" written all over him

I like Marshall a lot and I think your comparison is a bit unfair (he actually locates his pitches pretty well), but I agree, there's no room in the rotation for 3 rooks.

There is no room for 3 rooks in the rotation!!!!

Exactly...just ask the Marlins...:)

Stirrin' it up!!!!

Exactly...just ask the Marlins...:)

Or the twins...

Joey,

I want the Cubs to get players who get themselves out LESS THAN 68-70% of the time, preferably WAY less than.

Players who get out "ONLY" 70% of the time are referred to as "replacement level scrubs" (or, alternatively, Cubs shortstops). Players who get out more than 70% of the time earn a ticket to AAA.

Rob G.:
"with this talent, losing is a far better investment than winning."

With this talent, losing is far more likely than winning too.

Ryno:
"Want to hear something fun? Furcal has 23 errors so far this season, Cedeno has 22. Hooray for overpaying!"

Why didn't you show their offensive numbers?

Their GM might of overpaid for Furcal and maybe other players, but that is what you have to do sometimes to get the top players.

And the LA Dodgers are leading their division right now. I don't think, with the Cubs .5 games out of last in NL, Cubs fans should be critisizing the LAD GM too much.

Jacos:
"There are three things the Cubs need foremost in 2007-
Starting Pitching
Starting Pitching
Starting Pitching"

AMEN brother...hopefully hendry sees that too.

To nit pick -- Ronnie has more errrors than that -- I believe you are only showing his SS errors. He has also made a few (shocking,I know) at 2B.

And yes, let's not forget Furcal's .360+ OBP....

RICKY NOLASCO LAST THREE STARTS:
16.0 IP
25 H
15 R (14 ER)
2 BB
6 K
2 HR

RICH HILL LAST THREE STARTS:
22.1 IP
13 H
4 R (3 ER)
3 BB
19 K
1 HR

I wish the Cubs could have acquired Juan Pierre without trading Ricky Nolasco, but maybe Jim Hendry was right to hang onto Rich Hill.

Response to #46---

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

a Cubs fan, experience leads me to the conclusion that losing becomes a habit way too easily. IMO, one should avoid it like the plague.
--
huh? The Cubs have worked very hard over the past century to lose. This isn't a habit come on easily, they've earned it, decade after decade.

It's actually better hitting bottom then just being mediocre/middle of the pack/4th place of 6, etc. When they hit bottom let me know...they probably won't make a thump in the night kind of sound when the bottom is struck.

AZ Phil,
3 start comparison? Come on man... That is screaming sample size.

I don't think there is a person in baseball that wouldn't trade Rich Hill for Nolasco (except maybe Hendry since Hill is untouchable) straight up right now.

NED COLLETTI will make a play for Mark Prior.

I'm thinking that with the Dodger's depth, he will take a calculated gamble on resurrecting his career in his home town.

I agree we need three things, all right. Either of these three combos would do:
Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, and Walter Johnson

Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal

Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson

Ferguson Jenkins, Bill Hands, Billy Williams

Father, Son, Holy Spirit

A new owner, a new general manager, a new manager

Jason Schmidt, Jeff Francouer, Brian McCann

Joe Crede, Joel Zumaya, Chuck James

1)Pierre CF
2)Bynum 2B
3)A-Ram 3B
4)Jones RF
5)Pagan LF
6)Moore 1B
7)Blanco C
8)Cedeno SS

Better keep Murton and Theriot rested.....especially against a touogh opponent like Shawn Chacon.....

Having three first or second-year pitchers in the starting rotation next year wouldn't bother me one bit.

In 1967, the Cubs were running four or five first or second-year pitchers (Fergie Jenkins, Ken Holtzman, Bill Hands, Rich Nye, and Joe Niekro) out there everyday, and that was the year the Cubs went from being a last place team (in 1966) to a perennial contender for seven staight seasons.

In 1960, the long-time 2nd-division dwelling Baltimore Orioles (ex-St. Louis Browns) jumped all the way up to 2nd place, finishing only behind the mighty Mantle/Berra/Ford/Maris Yankees. Amd they did it on the strength of five young starting pitchers known collectively as the "Kiddie Korps" (22-year olds Steve Barber and Chuck Estrada, and 21-year olds Milt Pappas, Jack Fisher, and Jerry Walker).

So I don't care if the Cubs have three rookie or 2nd year pitchers (like Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, and Angel Guzman) in the starting rotation next season, as long as they can pitch. And there's more of 'em on the way, too (Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal, Chris Shaver, Mark Holliman, Mitch Atkins, and Mark Pawelek).

A couple things-

1) Ending the season in last place is the best thing that could happen to this team. Such an extremely horrible season requires extreme measures by the GM in the offseason. If they were to go on a run and finish in the middle of the pack, Hendry might get the idea that he can get away with just a little tinkering for 2007. That's clearly not the case.

2) Even if Hill, Marshall, and Guzman were in the rotation next year, that wouldn't technically be 3 rookies, right? Hill and Marshall will surely have accrued enough time by the end of the year to not be considered rookies. It's little consolation, but I like the way these kids are progressing. It might take another year, but it's starting to look like they might eventually realize their potential.

3) The onus of a winning attitude should be placed squarely on the manager's shoulders. By this point, every player knows how to handle pressure and win. Yes, they have some accountability, but one of the main jobs of a manager is setting expectations for attitude. 2003 Dusty set the expectation that the team would win. 2004 - 2006 Dusty is letting the inmates run prison and seems like he just wants to get the hell out of here. Big difference.

AZ Phil:
"So I don't care if the Cubs have three rookie or 2nd year pitchers (like Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, and Angel Guzman) in the starting rotation next season, as long as they can pitch."

I think that is our point, I don't think they can pitch good for 200+ innings. I wouldn't mind giving 1, maybe 2, a shot to prove themselves as a 4-5 starter, but that is it.

Doung D.:
"Ending the season in last place is the best thing that could happen to this team. Such an extremely horrible season requires extreme measures by the GM in the offseason."

I heard the same thing from many Cubs fans about the White Sox winning WS last year. How did that turn out?

I don't think there is a person in baseball that wouldn't trade Rich Hill for Nolasco (except maybe Hendry since Hill is untouchable) straight up right now.

HA, good one. Manny with the pulse of the baseball nation...

Break out your prospect list when you get a chance Manny.

MannyT:
The White Sox have nothing to do with the Cubs. Maybe in some fans' minds they do, but what the Sox do on the field has no real impact on the Cubs.

Finishing in last place, on the other hand, is a direct reflection of the talent on the Cubs, and clearly shows that major changes need to be made to be competitive. That's the difference.

That said, I don't expect Hendry to go out and break the bank, but the pressure on him to do something has to be mounting.

Doug D.:
"Finishing in last place, on the other hand, is a direct reflection of the talent on the Cubs, and clearly shows that major changes need to be made to be competitive. That's the difference."

So if the Cubs beat out Pitt by 2 games, then Hendry won't think changes need to be made since they won't be in last place? I think it is OBVIOUS changes need to be made, no matter where we finish up. If losing 100 games compared not 90 games is the only thing that opens Hendry's eyes that changes are needed, we are still in MAJOR trouble. FIRE HENDRY!!

Ryno,

"3 rookies is too much. IMO 2 rookies is too much, but if Hill can show up next spring and consistently throw junk like he threw last night (and keep it on the edge of the zone), I'd be ok with Hill & Gooz both in the rotation."

Couple things. That rotation would be either 1 or no rookies. How did Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior do the year after their rookie seasons? Well, maybe three things, Adam Eaton stinks. We already have Rusch, no need for a right-handed version.

There were 2 big positives I can see from last nights game.

1 - Rich Hill. Since getting his first win, the kid has really done a remarkable job. He's really showing why Hendry was smart not to give him up for the first available offer. He's doing a great job forcing himself into next years rotation.

2 - The attendance. Only 32k watched last nights game, with plenty of seats still available for most of the games the rest of this season. Fewer people in the seats more than anything else is going to force change in the Cubs upper managment.

Bleeding Blue: "Only 32k watched last nights game, with plenty of seats still available for most of the games the rest of this season. Fewer people in the seats more than anything else is going to force change in the Cubs upper managment."

That's a good point. Even if all the games are sold out, only 32K showing up is pretty important. That means fewer people are going to buy tickets next year, TV ad contracts will be cheaper, and for the first time in a long time, South Side attendance may beat out the Cubbies.

Those are all things ownership cares about more than winning, and they might finally see winning start to correlate with $$.

--I don't think there is a person in baseball that wouldn't trade Rich Hill for Nolasco (except maybe Hendry since Hill is untouchable) straight up right now.--

Is Jason Bay 'in baseball'?

BB -- Don't get too hung up on attendance. As I understand it, TV revenue and merchandising are where the big money is. Plus, even though attendance may have been down last night, my guess is that tickets were sold, but there were a lot of no shows.

I don't think 32K actually showed up to the game last night, it seemed pretty empty there.

The 'announced attendance' is the number of tickets sold.

Summer's over, the Cubs were playing the 2nd worst team in the league, 40K is not going to happen again this year - unless we play the Cards on a weekend.

Doug -- I think you're making a jump tying in attendance at the game to TV revenue. I'm not sure the two are overly connected.

Because of the Cubs national following and the "landmark" status of Wrigley Field, I don't see attendance being a problem in the foreseeable future. If almost 100 years of futility hasn't kept people away from the ballpark, I don't thnik the 2006 Cubs are going to do it.

Yeah, I didn't get to watch the game, as I was watching the Peoria Chiefs get shutout in their first game of the MWL playoffs so I can't comment on how many people were actually there. But driving home, Pat and Ron mentioned the 32k attendance and said tickets were still available for upcoming games against the Dodgers and others.

And yes, merchandise and TV does have an impact, but realistically, those things aren't going to change much no matter what happens. Even TV ratings don't mean much because Comcast pays a rate to have anchor programming to draw people to their network (driving competitors like FSN out of business) more than for specific ratings. And WGN's deals with the Cubs will never change much for obvious reasons.

Sweet Lou:
"If almost 100 years of futility hasn't kept people away from the ballpark, I don't thnik the 2006 Cubs are going to do it."

Exactly...The Cubs will draw 3 million fans this year, so getting mid 30's for a Sept game isn't going to make the Tribune Building crumble.

A team losing 100 games isn't all of a sudden make Hendry think changes need to be made. If he doesn't see it already after, he is truly more hopeless than i thought.

Sweet Lou -

The reason I think 2006 is going to have an impact (where other losing years havent) is because the fans' attitudes have changed. Now, we expect the Cubs to win and are frustrated when they don't. Also, take a look at historical attendance figures. From 1970 - 1983, the Cubs averaged only 1,295,581 in paid attendance. They never even got to 2 million until 1984.

Not until the Tribune bought the Cubs and put all their games on WGN did attendance start to skyrocket. That's why I think in another 5 years, if WGN keeps playing shitty WB shows instead of Cubs games, their attendance will start to fall dramatically. They are no longer a national phenomenon because the superstation hardly plays any of their games anymore.

This hasn't always been a Cubs town, and there's no reason to think it always will be.

I don't see attendance being a problem in the foreseeable future. If almost 100 years of futility hasn't kept people away from the ballpark, I don't thnik the 2006 Cubs are going to do it.

Wrigley Field attendance is never going to drop to Flordia Marlins like levels, but the current losing is keeping people away from the ballpark. Just 2 years ago, every game was sold out, now you've got games where 10k seats are still available. That happens 10 times over the season, and say the average price of the unsold tickets is $20, that's 2 million dollars in lost revenue. Its certainly not a huge amount in the overall scheme of the Tribune or even the Cubs, but it might be enough for the bean counters to say that things are heading in the wrong direction - which is what we really need to have happen for real changes to be made.

this is a 90-100m team that will "reset" almost yearly.

any doom that's in place now probally will not carry over to the following season.

whether the pieces work or not (or work when they're not on the DL), the team looks different with pointed upgrades yearly. people will buy in. scalpers will buy in...fans will buy in.

A team makes more on concessions and merchandise than it does on tickets 'sold'. Each FILLED sold is worth a lot more than an empty sold seat. I remember seeing the number an actual filled seat is worth at a ballpark and it's very suprising.

CURB,

I posted in the other thread this:

#52 of 63: By Chad (September 7, 2006 03:14 PM)
"Fans that don't show up after buying the ticket still cost the Cubs money in concessions and souvenirs."

Probably not, as the Cubs don't sell concessions. They sub contract that out to a third party vendor.

"Probably not, as the Cubs don't sell concessions. They sub contract that out to a third party vendor."

Yeah, they're pretty nice to allow that third party vendor those rights for free. Even if it is sub-contracted to Aramark or whoever, the Cubs still derive revenue based on sales - $2 a beer and $.75 a hotdog or something similar. At least that is what my friend who worked at Tenrun tells me.

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