Now I’m Psyched

Before I begin, the Chicago Bears are real damn good. Thanks to the wonderful work done at Goat Riders of the Apocalypse, there's a transcript of this afternoon's press conference. And I take back what I said earlier, MacPhail got canned. Reading through the transcript, this John McDonough fella is sure saying all the right things. Let's cherry-pick some quotes:
"My goal is singular. The purpose of why I have been asked to do this job is for the Cubs to win the World Series. Not win the wild card or win the division or win the pennant, but it's time to win. It's time to win the World Series. And I think we need to reward these tens of millions of fans who have waited for a long time."
"It's pretty simple. Jim Hendry and I have known each other and have worked very closely together and we've been very close from day one. I have great respect for Jim."
"As Dennis said, I think my response to things is to be aggressive. I do know what I don't know. I think I ask very good questions, and I am a results oriented person."
"The greatest fan experience is winning. It's not about marketing. It's not about being creative it's not about bringing people into the ball park or the seventh inning stretch or any of these other things. It's all about winning. Winning is the greatest marketing idea of all time.""
"So, from the standpoint of being aggressive. That is my style. It's important that I listen and I understand parts of the organization that I'm not familiar with and I plan on doing a lot of that in the next few weeks."
"Well, Realistically, you want to go into every season thinking you are going to win the World Series. Our goal is to win the World Series next year and the year after that. I think you have to be careful and realistic, but with the resources we're given and with the decisions that need to be made. I think that the Cubs will win the World Series, and I think the Cubs will win the World Series soon."
"We need to reward these people. These are the greatest fans in the history of sports. We have not won the World Series in 98 years. We have a terriffic General Manager in Jim Hendry. Jim will get all the resources that he needs. It's time to win."
"If you're talking about the farm system, my philosophy, and this is again a guy that hasn't spent any time overseeing a baseball operation, is that championship teams are built from the ground up. You have to have a fertile farm system. You have to draft well, you have to develp the players you draft. and You have to see them on a Major League field, and then build around that. That's the important part of any successful organization."
Who knows what this will ultimately mean for the Cubs, but how can't you get excited after hearing that? And by aggressive I hope they mean, whatever players we target in free agency, we will not rest till they're wearing Cubbie blue. And doing a bit of reading between the lines, I find it interesting that Jim Hendry came through pretty much scot free. Not only is he keeping his job, he gets a bit of praise from McDonough. Makes one wonder if McPhail vetoed some moves over the last few years that some others in the organization disagreed with, in particularly high-priced free agents. Taking it a step further, we know MacPhail is buddies with the MLB power-that-be as he's helping negotiate the new CBA this year. Throw in his past with the low market Twins and the baseball family he comes from, I think it's a solid guess that he's against handing out obscene free agent contracts as he probably thinks they're bad for baseball. I just wonder if there was some friction there among the front office folk. Just speculation on my part and I doubt it was the ultimate reason for his demise, but let's say I could see that being part of the equation. The 2006-2007 off-season couldn't have started any better.
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Comments

Worst possible thing John McDonough could of said:
"Jim Hendry and I have known each other and have worked very closely together and we've been very close from day one. I have great respect for Jim."

Hopefully McDonough isn't as buddy buddy with Hendry like MacPhail was and let that blind his true opinion of him.

Speculation is fine. Its what makes for most of the dialogue on this blog! What would folks like HORATIO, myself, or any others do without it!

Anyway, yes, until proven otherwise, I am liking this decision.

that's the worst possible thing he could of said?

I would have gone with, "we're cutting the payroll by 50% and raising ticket prices"

that seems far worse...

You raise some good points Rob, especailly the point about Hendry getting pretty much off scot free. I have been saying that for awhile now, but now with MacPhail gone and Baker most likely gone tomorrow, there is no where for him to hide. He has enough money to win, and maybe McDonough will get him even more, so let's just win.

But here are a couple things that bothered me...

-Is John McDonough saying MacPhail did not give all the resources he could of?

-The President of the Cubs should not be making player decisions or anything like that. That is what the GM is for. So what does he mean by being aggressive? Unless he can get the Cubs to pony up $120-$130 million for next years budget, Hendry can only be so aggressive as he only has like $25 million to spend.

Rob G.:
"that seems far worse..."

HA HA...true!!!

that's the part I find interesting, the president gets canned, the manager gets canned (likely) but Hendry gets praised by the new president.

It really makes you wonder if Hendry was getting cock-blocked on some of his moves.

either that or McDonough is just showing confidence in the guy as they've decided to keep him (or they didn't want to eat his contract).

Who really knows?

I hope McDonough isn't deciding player A over player B either. But I doubt that....

Rob, thanks for the link to Goat Riders. Byron worked his arse off getting that transcript online. Fellas, feel free to revisit the site... we have some deleted scenes from the transcript in another post along with a few other things.

ha, Comcast Sports Night said the Cubs get the top draft pick cause they had the worst record in the NL. WRONG!!!

http://baseball.about.com/od/newsnotes/a/draf...

as mentoned many times here before, they eliminated the alternating starting with the 2005 draft.

Since we're talking draft.

Matt Wieters, Andrew Brackman or David Price

We'll get one of them. I can't see the Rays not going after a pitcher. I don't think they pass on Price unless his bonus is way too high - but it's not like Brackman will be cheap. He's a Boras client. I also see the Royals taking pitching.

"I'm not happy with the way I've thrown this year," he said. "I'm never going to lead the league in assists, but I played with a torn labrum and bone chips in my elbow. I've got to see what's going on with that."

that's from jacque jones, something to keep an eye on for the off-season and next year.

http://tinyurl.com/hfh8m

Girardi meeting is set for Tuesday morning, they intend to target Fredi Gonzalez as his replacement it sounds like.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

"I'm gone. I won't be back," Baker told the Chicago Tribune after the Cubs' 8-5 win over the Rockies on Sunday. "Somebody's got to take the blame, and it might as well be me."

Baker told the Tribune that he regards Monday's meeting with general manager Jim Hendry as merely a formality.

in case there were any doubts....

pressure from above for McPhail to go, coming from the business interests...I wonder if beancounters might have had something to do with this after all. Could it be that prognosticators were already aware of serious impacts on TV ratings/contract or season ticket sales?

Actually Krish, the Royals are on record as REALLY liking Wieters, I think they'll take him. They're intrigued by the possibility of him either catching or taking a prominent bullpen role, both are huge needs for KC.

Starting pitching OTOH, they're looking rather strong with Hochevar, Buckner, Greinke, Hudson and more on the way.

I think we get Price, Brockman's huge wingspan will be too much for Tampa to pass on. And I'll be happy because Price is my first choice!

a quote from this am's sun-times:

from the lips of our former pooh-bah:

"The clock on the MacPhail-ometer has run down to zero.''

(Andy the clown's honk noise in the background)

Rob G,

It was nice to hear the new guy talk about winning, but this move was probably more a case of MacPhail being the sacraficial lamb. The Cubs are going to have to make some big moves & changes up and down the organization otherwise the fan base will begin dwindling... and so instead of giving Hendry the axe, with all apologies to mannytrillo, MacPhail took it. I mean realistically, how much of this year was MacPhail's fault anyways?

I did find this interesting, though, from MacPhail last night:

"We tried to do this last year, but you're gonna have to do what you can to make durability a key component of making evaluations as to what players you bring on. Nobody can do anybody any good if they're not on the field."

Yes, please do that from now on, Cubbies.

And also this from John McDonough:

"Winning is the greatest marketing idea of all time."

Apparently, someone *is* paying attention to what is happening on the south side.

Be sure to catch Murph's Radio show today on WSCR in Chicago @ 12:00. I'm sure it will be very interesting listening as he had his own intense dislike for McFail ("Andy the Clown Mac Fail") going on for years. If I'm not mistaken, he and John McD were Bleacher Bums together.

I'll be missing the first half but will be asking for some quotes from my bretheren here.

CRUNCH: Your "buddy" Stone might get hired by the Cubs? HA HA!
I know you'd love THAT!

I expect that the give backs that the WGN and the Cubs had to give back to advertisers as ratings fell on the cable and broadcast outlets and hits declined on web sites have already hurt the Tribune Company.

I guess forty years of following the Cubs has made me inclined to pessimism. We have seen this act before, those of us who old enough to remember the 1980s, after Dallas Green was fired the Tribune brought its own people to directly run the team with Jim Frey and Larry Himes as the GMs, and it was ultimately a complete disaster, both for the major league team and for the minor league system.

Despite all the talk about winning, I expect the Cubs, like every other part of the Tribune, newspapers, cable, and broadcast divisions is going to be expected to shave costs to try bring the bottom-line into shape and to reduce the corporate debt load. Until the Cubs are sold, I expect that the cost cutting will be brutal.

I like what McDonough is saying too, but let's remember that he is a salesman by trade.

Like any high profile move, the Cubs telegraphed the MacPhail thing through their journalists.

The way the sportswriters were going after Hendry and MacPhail you kind of smelled something was up. This organization always likes to ease the public into big news, I guess they think our poor little primitive primate brains can't handle it all at once.

And what would the year be without a stupid Baker quote...

"They never quit, and I'm proud of that," he said. "You're not going to play for me if you quit, ever, because I never will."

Yeah they quit in May Dusty, you are just the only person in the solar system who hasn't figure it out yet.

OH BTW, your teams quit on you in 2004 and 2005 also.

1 out of 4 years is a pretty good run right?

This quote from McDonough is particularly interesting:

"And probably there have been some instances when we may not have been as prudent and judicious as we could have been on some acquisitions."

It's kind of like a watered down way of saying that he didn't agree with recent pick-ups by Hendry. It will be interesting to see how 'hands-on' he will be with the baseball operations people.

It's not surprising that McDonough would say that seeing how Hendry passes out 2 year/$5 - 10 mill contracts like they were candy.

Wow.

I go to the pumpkin patch and all hell breaks loose.

I'm glad McFail is gone, he was dead to me a long time ago. (Godfather refer.)

I don't know, this Trib mess seems like a giant boulder waiting to fall on the Cubs and any moves they plan on making this off season. I hope I'm wrong.

I did not know McDonough was a bleacher bum, that's intriguing.

Hopefully he won't get distracted when FA market starts because he's in deep negotiations with Ty about the Lou Pinella St Benard Beanie Baby.

Did you see all the racists after the Cub game pelting poor Dusty with pens and programs(media said they were autographs), flashing lights in his eyes(media said fans were taking pictures), and in some cases getting physical with Dusty(media said fans were hugging him)?

Bye Dusty. Everyone put their protective eyewear on, helmets on and keep you hands inside the bus this will be one wild off season.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

I pray this won't be true.

Funny interview of Rich Hill in the Northwest Herald.

http://www.nwherald.com/SportsSection/brown/2...

The Trib should consider trading Paul Sullivan for David Brown.

How much did MacPhail make per year? If McD was the marketing/tv guy and Hendry the baseball guy, it is not too surprising that the folks in the Trib board room would look around and think, What exactly is MacPhail doing to earn his keep?

When MacPhail arrived, he restored some baseball creditability to the franchise. But he could not get us to the next level.

BTW, speculation here in DC is that the Nats intent to find a *name* manager and they are waiting for Dusty to be fired. I thought Kasten had more sense than that. Not much interest in Girardi, and while there should be interest in Fredi Gonzalez here it does not look likely. I think Kasten is worried about sagging attendance for the last year in RFK and the all-important pre-sales of luxury boxes for the new stadium. So this manager is essentially a ticket agent, a name that can go to receptions at K Street lobbying firms with people who do not know baseball but who will be impressed that its Dusty Baker or Lou Pinella talking to them and they will plop down a $50k seat license deposit.

Talkin baseball at K Street receptions with Jack Abramhoff protoges...sounds like a wonderful purgatory for Dusty!

DC Tom: So this manager is essentially a ticket agent, a name that can go to receptions at K Street lobbying firms with people who do not know baseball but who will be impressed that its Dusty Baker or Lou Pinella talking to them and they will plop down a $50k seat license deposit.

lol, that painted a funny picture, Dusty chumming with lobbists... "Yeah, dude, I like the environment, it has a lot of nature in it and you know, what would baseball be without an environment."

You do realize that Andy MacPhail will be the next MLB commissioner replacing Bud "used car salesman" Selig.

For all the wonderful things John McD. said in his press conference, they're just words. They basically don't mean anything until he starts taking action and backs them up.

We've known for a long time that the Cubs have been all about creating the best fan experience in baseball so that it doesn't matter if the team wins or loses, because Wrigley Field will sell 3 million tickets a year. Somehow, replacing a baseball lifer with 2 World Series wins under his belt with a marketing guy doesn't really sell the message that they're trying to change that culture and win ballgames.

Color me skeptical until I see some results.

Rob,

Is the Jacque Jones labrum tear new information or did I miss something along the way? I remember a lot of people talking about how he appeared to be injured. A torn labrum would definitely explain why he throws so poorly...with that injury it is hard to get anything on a throw. Surgery could mean 6-9 months (or more if he was a Cub's pitcher).

It would be nice to know whether Jacque Jones had the torn labrum and the bone chips in his elbow when the Cubs signed him to a three-year contract, and if so, did the Cubs know about the shoulder & elbow injuries before he signed, and if they did know, why did they sign him?

Re: the Jones thing - I pray for the day when baseball, just like the NFL, doesn't allow guaranteed contracts. Every year, you compete for your livelihood. Not just when you're about to become a highly paid FA, but every single year.

Although I know you can't cut someone for getting hurt.

you have to take a physical before you sign, I'm sure the Cubs either didn't feel it was too bad or it popped up after. Sounds like a bit of self-diagnosis to be honest...

You guys bitch about Wood and Prior not pitching through pain but when a guy tries to fight through something all year without making excuses, he gets persecuted as well.

Tough crowd...

Baker news conference set for noon CT....

Do we have odds on if he'll actually be there?
How about for crying?
Over/under on hendry using the word "obviously"?

AZ Phil,

I heard Tori Hunter interviewed before a Sox game this year and he said both Radke and Jones were hurting at least in '05 as far as he knew. He said neither wanted to have surgery.

Others -

McD was not a Bleacher Bum. But he did grow up a Cub fan.

I don't know what giving Hendry all the resources he needs even means. If MacFail could have had another $20-30 million a year, why wouldn't he have taken it? It's not his money. Just have to wait and see.

I happen to know McD a little and he's a nice enough guy. But, as someone pointed out, he's a salesman. He talked this way when he worked for the Sting soccer team, he'll talk this way now and he'd talk this way if he was taking over the regional sales office of an insurance company.

#22 of 30: By Horatio (October 2, 2006 08:43 AM)
It's not surprising that McDonough would say that seeing how Hendry passes out 2 year/$5 - 10 mill contracts like they were candy.

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HORATIO: The main change I expect is that Hendry will no longer have the freedom to offer Rusch & Neifi-type FA deals, and where the Cubs do have a young MLB-ready player (like Murton in LF, Theriot at 2B, Pie in CF, Hill in the starting rotation, Aardsma, Wuertz, and Novoa in the pen, and youngsters like Pagan, Bynum, Cedeno, and Soto as the bench guys, with E. Patterson taking over 2B in 2008 with Theriot moving to SS, Gallagher and Veal getting shots at the starting rotation, and maybe Scott Moore at 3B if Ramirez doesn't sign an extension), I would not expect a FA "upgrade." Other than MAYBE re-signing Ramirez (and I think that is a lot less likely to happen now, too), I would be very surprised if Hendry acquires any position players of note this off-season (other than a short-term FA fix at 3B if Ramirez walks).

I don't think the Marlins "success" this season (such as it was) and the Reds and Abreu-less Phillies contending for the post-season right up until the last weekend of the season was lost on the Trib folk. Even though the N. L. Central and the N. L. as a whole were unusually weak this season, that doesn't mean that Fitzsimons and Kenney don't envision the Cubs doing the same type of thing in 2007 & 2008 as the Marlins, Reds, and post-July Phillies.

I still do expect Hendry to sign one healthy & reliable second-tier FA starting pitcher (like Miguel Batista, who could be moved to the bullpen if and when Donald Veal and Sean Gallagher are ready, or if Marshall, Guzman, Mateo, or Ryu show enough improvement next season to claim a starting job) and try and package two or three of the young pitchers for a reasonably-priced reliable & healthy starting pitcher who is nearing FA, like Jason Jennings (COL) or Jake Westbrook (CLE).

But Hendry will probably not be signing any more post-surgery guys like Dempster, Miller, and Wood, and I doubt that he will be permitted to sign anybody with a history of "nagging" injuries, either, or spend $2-3m on back-up middle-infielders or the 12th man on the pitching staff.

In summary, I expect the Cubs of 2007-08 to rely a lot more on players developed in-house, signing mostly only short-term second-tier FAs and making trades mostly only for relatively young players from other organizations who are entering salary-arbitration years or nearing free-agency, but who are not signed long-term.

Dusty will be there.
And will only cry after Hendry accidently steps on his foot.
Hendry will say " I have obviously hurt Dusty."

I had never given it much thought before, but MacPhail's resignation/firing and Rob G's earlier comments brought this to mind. Considering MacPhail's history, he would be predisposed to running the Cubs like a small market team. If the Twins can win in a small market, why not run the Cubs like a small market team. And even though the Trib Co gave MacPhail/Hendry all of the money they needed, they still approached high dollar FAs like they had extremely limited resources.

Maybe MacPhail held more sway over Hendry that we thought. As I said previously, the off-season moves will be the measure of how much McDonough was telling the truth and how much was salesmanship. For now, I choose to be optimistic.

Arizona Phil, after all of the things McDonough said about winning the Series and giving Hendry all the resources he needs, why do you think they will cut payroll and not sign any expensive free agents?

I really think this move is a result of Cubs fans attitude the past few years. Like many have said, we have gone from Lovable Losers to just losers. Our resentment over not winning a WS has replaced the jokes. While we drew 3M people again, it was obvious down the stretch (with the exception of some loud fans on Saturday) that people had grown tired of this team.

I was surprised when I heard about McP, but now I realize may be the first move made to heal the damage done over the last few years. Much of what McDonough said was PR talk to ease the minds of fans.

This move also indicates that Girardi is not coming here. They are going after someone proven (although I still wonder about that meeting with Stone). Hendry will now be under immense pressure rivaling that of Isiah Thomas with the Knicks. He won't risk hiring someone who can't take the fall if things continue to go bad.

The best thing from McD was he said our goal is to win the WS; not to contend, not to hang in there until September, not to just make the playoffs, etc.. That was always one thing that bothered me. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come.

I don't know who would even want to manage here. The atmosphere is so toxic. The talk show idiots and columnists are just waiting to rip anyone who takes over. Look at how Smith and Turner got attacked for sticking with Grossman after the preseason. And now that Grossman is doing well, I don't hear any of them saying they were right. It's just, Grossman's for real. As if Smith and Turner knowing they should stick with him was just blind luck.

#35 arizona phil-
this reluctance to spend sounds like the scenario for a team that is for sale; they would not wish to burden new owners/scare away new owners with lots of long term paper commitments that the new owners would rather write themselves. and it certainly does not sound like the scenario where a recently-extended-general manager, who has to be in a now-or-never mindest, operates on a shoestring.

there are more changes to be made, obviously, but what manager will want to come here to work with "scraps" and dusty's leftovers and maybe not even a ramirez? and be told ahead of time that "the tribune wants us to keep our cash in our pockets this off-season"?

the marlins and phillies success this season (relative success) is completely based upon lots of talented players. the cubs do not have them; they must come from outside sources. and hendry's future employment will depend upon immediate success; how could he possibly not add (via trade or f a signings) a couple of top-shelf players?

thanks for reading my screed
dc

PHIL, et. al.:

the next 60 days will tell alot.

Salesman? Or, put the money where his mouth is?

I am cautiously optimistic, but then again, I am a Cubs fan.

A great first marketing move for the new president of the team would be to bring Stone back to the booth. That would distract fans for at least a couple weeks while they make a further mess of the product on the field.

Regardless of certain individuals' feelings towards Stone on this board, for the most part he was/is immensely popular, and the last connection to the Harry Caray era.

AZ Phil wrote:

In summary, I expect the Cubs of 2007-08 to rely a lot more on players developed in-house, signing mostly only short-term second-tier FAs and making trades mostly only for relatively young players from other organizations who are entering salary-arbitration years or nearing free-agency, but who are not signed long-term.
__________________________________________________

AZ Phil, do you think the instigation for the Neifi/Rusch type deals came from MacPhail or Baker? Or the combination of the two?

What I'd really like Hendry to get over is his addiction to expensive relief pitcher deals. Dempster, Howry and Eyre will be paid $12.5M next year. I don't put Rusch's contract into that mix, but if you do ($3.25M in '07), you have over $15M for basically 300 innings of work. $15M should buy you 400-500 innings of decent starting pitching, of the Jason Jennings/Kenny Rogers/Ted Lilly/Jake Westbrook variety.

I do like the idea of Westbrook, an extreme groundball pitcher should do well in Wrigley. He has a club option, though, that I would be surprised to see the Indians decline. I suspect we are more likely to see Batista, Marquis or even Suppan, though (of those three, I'd take Marquis).

#37 of 37: By Sweet Lou (October 2, 2006 10:53 AM)
I had never given it much thought before, but MacPhail's resignation/firing and Rob G's earlier comments brought this to mind. Considering MacPhail's history, he would be predisposed to running the Cubs like a small market team. If the Twins can win in a small market, why not run the Cubs like a small market team. And even though the Trib Co gave MacPhail/Hendry all of the money they needed, they still approached high dollar FAs like they had extremely limited resources.

Maybe MacPhail held more sway over Hendry that we thought. As I said previously, the off-season moves will be the measure of how much McDonough was telling the truth and how much was salesmanship. For now, I choose to be optimistic.

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SWEET LOU: I understand your point, and you certainly could be right, but I don't think MacPhail ran the Cubs like a small market team.

No question he had success as the GM of a small-market franchise (MIN), and that success was what got him the opportunity to be President of a large market franchise (Cubs). With the Cubs, MacPhail re-emphasized the importance of scouting & player development (which was allowed to rust away under the Grenesko/Frey & the Himes regimes) which is important in running a small market franchise, but he combined that with allowing Hendry to spend a whole lot of money on back-up guys and role players, not to mention MacPhail's own ultimately costly Sammy Sosa deal that resulted in the Cubs paying Sammy millions of dollars to go away (and I don't think the Trib suits have forgotten that or ever really forgave him for that).

Besides the 2004-05 off-season Sosa fiasco, I think MacPhail's main downfall was the fact that on his watch, the Cubs made the post-season only twice in 12 years. Just thst simple. And therefore, it was time to try a different approach.

Which means something other than the way things have been run lately. Like no more overpaying for middle relievers and back-up position players, no more long-term big-bucks contracts for players with potential "character" issues, and a greater reliance on players developed in-house in the Cubs farm system. One thing about a background in marketing is understanding what type of players appeal to the Cubs fan base.

POPULAR PLAYERS.

Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano, Michael Barrett, Matt Murton, Ryan Theriot, and Rich Hill? Absolutely!

Aramis Ramirez and Mark Prior? Maybe (maybe not)!

Ryan Dempster? Probably not!

Jacque Jones? Definitely not! (Much too sullen for "The Friendly Confines")

So when I see McDonough talk about giving Hendry the "resources" needed to accomplish his job, I take that to mean more money for scouting & player development, including maybe a return to the Pacific Rim, and an even greater presence in Latin America. But I don't think Hendry is going to be given more money so that he can sign more Neifis, or even an Alfonso Soriano or a Jason Schmidt, although I believe Hendry will be able (and encouraged) to re-sign any and all "good citizen" popular Cubs players (like Zambrano and Barrett, for instance) who are nearing free-agency.

Yesterday, the D'backs sold out Chase Field in on Luis Gonzalez Day. And remember, the D'backs basically were telling Gonzo to get lost, that there was no place for him on the 2007 Diamondbacks. And yet they still managed to make Gonzo feel like a King. And it made the fans feel good, too.

How did the Cubs handle a similar situation with Mark Grace a few years ago? He was essentially run out of Wrigleyville like a common pygmy. So I would expect McDonough to pay more attention to PR issues when it comes to players and fans, and make more of an emphasis on "good feelings" between the Cubs and their players and ex-players. Part of that would mean developing Cubs stars "in-house" as much as possible.

TBone: "I don't know who would even want to manage here. The atmosphere is so toxic. The talk show idiots and columnists are just waiting to rip anyone who takes over."

Seriously, how is this different from anywhere else? The main job of sports-talk radio hosts and sports columnists is to generate listeners/readers and buzz. The easiest way to do that when the local teams are playing poorly is to say something controversial or promote change from the status quo. Can you honestly tell me that's different in other markets?

I'm guessing there aren't many radio naysayers regarding the Bears at this point. In fact, sports radio pretty much fellated Lovie Smith and the rest of the Bears all morning today. The fastest way to quiet the critics is winning, something the Cubs haven't done much of lately.

In the end, it really doesn't matter if MacFail, McD or any other Scot or Irishman is the President. Mike Downey asked MacFail if he had the power to allow Hendry to make big signings and MacFail told him that he had to run it by Crane Kenney first. Crane Kenney? Any Cub fans have Crane Kenney on the tips of their tongues? That's what a faceless beheamoth the Trib is. Downey, who works there, had never even heard of him. So we can all write all we want about a new President. But until the Cubs aren't owned by a massive corporation, we won't even know the philosphy of the people holding the purse strings.

Unless, of course, someone has a copy of "Baseball The Crane Kenney Way" by Crane Kenney.

with E. Patterson taking over 2B in 2008 with Theriot moving to SS

Music to my ears...

Jones wasn't a surly guy in Minn, he was treated like shit by some assholes in the RF stands and got surly. I think there's still time for a peace treaty, especially if he gets his damn shoulder fixed.

DougD,

I think the Cub situation is a little worse than most. It doesn't help that one paper owns the team so the other paper goes out of its way to pile on. And most of the talk show morons are Sox fans so they too get a special thrill out of ripping the Cubs.

Doug Dascenzo wrote:

A great first marketing move for the new president of the team would be to bring Stone back to the booth. That would distract fans for at least a couple weeks while they make a further mess of the product on the field.

Regardless of certain individuals' feelings towards Stone on this board, for the most part he was/is immensely popular, and the last connection to the Harry Caray era.
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I would agree that doing so would be a good marketing move and would certainly draw in TV viewers. I am all for the team marketing itself in this way. The best part about the McD press conference transcript is his strong statement that the best marketing is "winning" baseball. Winning will drive merchandise sales, winning will drive ratings.

Now, if they could only figure out how to turn the pay TV channel into the midwest equivalent of the YES or NESN cashcows, they'd have something.

one last Neifi dig...HEY, Koalas are gonna take offense to this.

Kristina Karl from BA, in transaction analysis:

Activated 2B-R Placido Polanco from the 15-day DL. [9/22]

Polanco's comment--"I feel good enough to help the team"--betrays a becoming modesty, but let's face it, a gouty koala would probably be an improvement over Neifi Perez.

TBone: "I don't know who would even want to manage here. The atmosphere is so toxic. The talk show idiots and columnists are just waiting to rip anyone who takes over."
--

In baseballdom, if you win, only the Yankees and Red Sox jobs are more rewarding than the Cubs managing job. And that might be an understatement. Win one championship in Chicago and you are set for life...for an analogy, look at what Super Bowl XX did for Mike Ditka.

Contrast that to other cities. Bob Brenly won in Arizona--and he broadcasts Cub games! Is Mike Scioscia the toast of SoCal despite three playoff appearances and one championship in five years? Would they even recognize him at Spago, let alone give him the best table?

The "Bye Dusty" press conference @ 12:00/1:00pm Eastern.

I am not sure if the press conference will be shown live anywhere, but the local Chicago ABC affiliate is carrying it via their website:

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=loca...

Rumor is they have their manager already but won't announce it until later in the week/month...possibly after the WS. This coming from a very credible source.....

Giardi is a possibility but not likely. Seems Bob Brenly is the man being targeted by the new Cubs President....also seems Stoney most likely to replace Brenly if this happens.....

10 min. and counting....

Oh yeah, Baker got to the park at 10AM and Hendry got there shortly thereafter I think. If you get to see the footage of Hendry getting out of his car, it is kinda funny, his shirt is open, unbuttoned way down like Hundley use to have it. He looked like he was just waking up from a drunkin stuppor.

How ironic....at the same time the Cubs will be annoucing the fate of Baker, HBO will be showing Wait Till Next Year: The Saga of the Chicago Cubs.

AZ Phil -- Good points. I can't argue that the Cubs didn't spend money on MacPhail's watch. From an outsider looking in, MacPhail made sure Hendry had all of the money he needed. But the way the money was spent was so ineffective. That's probably not the best word to use. It's just that enough money was spent to build a good team, but it was spent in a way that nearly guaranteed that the team wouldn't win. I don't think that was the goal, but I think there was a mindset behind the spending that didn't allow the team to bring in top flight guys who could produce wins. I can't explain why Hendry would do that, but one possibility is that MacPhail, with his small market mentality, was looking over Hendry's shoulder and micromanaging the decisions that were being made. As a former GM, MacPhail may have felt he needed to be more involved in the player personnel decisions. I obviously have no way of knowing if this is true. I'm just trying to figure out why things were done the way they were done during the MacPhail's era.

I think that McDonaugh will allow Hendry to make a big splash or two. Everything he said was music to our ears, but if they don't follow up big time this off season it will be all BS. Signing Ramirez is first priority and that should happen or not happen in next few weeks. Same for manager. I am expecting big things this off season and hopefully I won't be sold down the road once again.

cubfan: Giardi is a possibility but not likely. Seems Bob Brenly is the man being targeted by the new Cubs President....also seems Stoney most likely to replace Brenly if this happens.....

Hooray for anonymous rumors. I wouldn't mind that scenario, but it seems like once guys get into the broadcasting side of the game, they don't like getting back into it.

Comcast is showing it in Chicago.

It's not on Comcast Sports Net yet, but ESPN News says they will carry it too.

Dusty not taking questions....

Things running late--Hendry apparently having one more donut before things get started....

Baker will give statement, no questions. Then Hendry will give statement and Hendry will take questions

Could someone listening live give those of us without a radio or tv a play by play?

what coaches are leaving? lot of rumblings yesterday about guys aside from dust going away.

baker is out

Roethschild, I hope..

ESPN News just went to Baker...

It's official....

Dusty has been let go. Dusty going to go home for a few days but he wants to stay in baseball.

"All things come to an end."

No "This too shall pass" though.

Thanking everyone, happy to be going home though...

plans to stay in baseball....blah, blah, blah

thanks the players

What a shitty organization, they make Dusty come out and announce his time is over.

Baker done, Hendry next.

baker's done

Hendry should fall on his sword during his press conference.

maybe dusty wanted to make his own statement first

moment of silence....

4 years of waiting for this man to be gone and the day is finally here.

Hmmmm...I am gonna head to parachat see if anyone is hanging out.

Trib's Sullivan already has a story posted:

http://tinyurl.com/g6j9t

What a s*&^% organization, they make Dusty come out and announce his time is over.
-

Yeah, I don't get it either. What purpose did that serve interrupting his packing? Hendry couldn't make the announcement?

here goes hendry...

Hendry looks like Sam Kinison after a hard night...

"here goes hendry..."

Is he announcing how much ticket prices are going up next year?

Hendry:

"I came to the decision not to renew Dusty's contract."

LIAR!

The Suntimes reported this past week that Hendry offered Dusty a 1 year extension early in the season and Dusty turned it down. He should have been fired then.

#44 of 52: By DC Tom (October 2, 2006 11:26 AM)

AZ Phil, do you think the instigation for the Neifi/Rusch type deals came from MacPhail or Baker? Or the combination of the two?

----

DC TOM: I think the instigation for the Rusch & Neifi deals came fom Hendry after he asked Dusty who he would like to have on his team in 2006, and MacPhail didn't care, one way or the other. Rusch and Neifi would not have been re-signed if Dusty didn't want them back.

Other than maybe running the Greg Maddux signing up through the Tower and putting a kabash on the possibility of the Cubs matching the Dodgers ref the Furcal deal, I doubt that MacPhail interfered with Hendry. MacPhail might have given advice if asked, but I suspect Hendry was allowed to spend the payroll as he saw fit, and MacPhail let Hendry do his job.

What got MacPhail fired was the bottom line of the Cubs making the post-season only twice in 12 years, paying Sammy Sosa millions of dollars to go away, and creating conditions that allowed too many bad vibrations at the Friendly Confines (like the broadcasters-players feud in '04).

I don't think it's any coincidence that the Cubs Ministry of Propaganda (headed by McDonough) has essentially erased Sammy Sosa from Cubs history, like he was never there, like nothing he did ever happened. That's the type of thing I expect out of McDonough. Happy. Positive. Smilin'. Friendly. If somebody becomes a problem, he just disappears. And we don't want no negative stories in the newspapers that might hurt our product.

What I think might happen now is that Hendry will still get a fairly big budget (although probably NOT $100m), but there will be more strings attached (like Hendry will inform McDonough of which players or free-agents he intends to pursue, and then McDonough will have a veto that is "character" or PR-related, although I doubt that he will exercise the veto very often... exceptions might be something like no Rafael Furcal--because of his DUIs, and no Brett Myers--because of his DV, etc).

I believe McDonough will be far more concerned with keeping the Cubs image and trademark "clean" and free from embarrassment than was the case under MacPhail.

So on this thread, we have people making assumptions that MacPhail held Hendry back from signing big time FA's and Baker got Hendry to sign the shitty players. So Hendry had no responsibility, cool!!

Hendry-
-not talking about other coaches until he talks to them first

-extensive search to be made for next manager

lame, they need to fire all coaches.

"Other than maybe running the Greg Maddux signing up through the Tower and putting a kabash on the possibility of the Cubs matching the Dodgers ref the Furcal deal, I doubt that MacPhail interfered with Hendry. MacPhail might have given advice if asked, but I suspect Hendry was allowed to spend the payroll as he saw fit, and MacPhail let Hendry do his job."

AZ Phil, there was a story by a columnist in the Trib today, and I'll just quote it instead of paraphrasing:

"A couple of months ago, MacPhail and I went to lunch. It was strictly social, off the record, although he never insisted it be so.

I remember asking how it worked when the Cubs wanted to make a costly acquisition or a major trade. Was the team president empowered to OK it? Or did he need a stamp of approval from someone at Tribune Tower?

MacPhail said it varied. But generally, out of courtesy or necessity, he'd run it by Crane Kenney.

"Who's Crane Kenney?" I wondered to myself.

Turns out Kenney is a formidable figure in my workplace, a Tribune Co. senior vice president and general counsel. Yet from a baseball standpoint, he might as well be the invisible man."

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

For those who doubt Baker's involvement in roster construction:

"He was the main reason why I came over here," Cubs outfielder Jacque Jones said of Baker. "He called me and he really wanted me to come over here, and I asked him if was he going to be here my whole three years and he said, 'Yeah,' so it'll be disappointing if he's not back here."

link

Is it me, or does it sound like Hendry is saying basically he is making a change to make a change.

Hendry said Trib told him to go out and hire best manager, basically saying cost is not a factor

Yeah, it's odd that not a whiff has been mentioned about firing Rothschild. But Rothschild is a "Hendry guy", he was there before Dusty and quite possibly will be there after Dusty.

But in general the manager should have input into the assistant coaches.

Interesting statement from Hendry just now, "cost is not an issue at all" in finding a manager.

Unless they hire someone like Brenly, who has openly pushed for playing younger guys and building a farm system, the next manager will inherit a roster of retread veterans with low obp that Hendry loves.

hendry:
"Dusty and I worked together 90% of the time on the roster"

From Carrie Muscat story:

"Without a doubt, there's no justice," [Juan] Pierre said. "He got blamed for guys' injuries, the way we played on the field and doing the little things wrong. To hear fans booing him, it's sad. He shouldn't get blamed. If you had Joe Torre or one of the best managers in here, and all the stuff we've been through, they probably would've lost with the way we've played this year."

So, "justice" would dictate that you'll take a pay cut, Juan?

Hendry proved how dumb of a GM he is by saying that the Milwaukee series in June or July made him believe the Cubs could get back in the race.

One series in the middle of a train wreck. Talk about having blinders on to what was going on with this team.

Hendry: "Entrust me to hire the right manager."

You hired Baker Hendry. Nuff said.

MikeC wrote:

Hendry proved how dumb of a GM he is by saying that the Milwaukee series in June or July made him believe the Cubs could get back in the race.

One series in the middle of a train wreck. Talk about having blinders on to what was going on with this team.

He must have been referring to the series right before the All Star Break when the Cubs won the last three games before the Break in Milwaukee. I remember from that time that Baker would be "evaluated" by Hendry over the Break.

Damn you, Doug Davis for walking six in five innings on July 9th! Damn you!

Or wait....Hendry come on in middle of 2002? or was it 2003? I can't remember. I know it was middle of the season somewhere.

hendry said he will run by scouting, potential FA and trade options by John MacDonough. GREAT!!!

And McD has to run his decisions by the faceless suit Crane in the Tribune tower.

And the winner is: Jim Hendry

Make no mistake about it, this is the real beginning of the Hendry Era. What we had before was a Hendry who had to run every personnel decision past MacFail. He did not have autonomy.

But now Hendry reports to the Marketing boss, not a baseball man with an intimidating pedigree like MacFail's. This winter should be interesting.

On Rothschild:

I don't think he deserves the hate that gets piled on. A few years ago he was regarded as one of the best pitching coaches in the game. Most of the problems with Cubs pitching revolve around injuries, and it's a stretch to say those injuries are his fault.

And, of course, Rothschild somehow gets the blame for Wood/Prior but none of the credit for Zambrano, Hill, Marshall, Aardsma, Wuertz, Ohman, etc.

"Make no mistake about it, this is the real beginning of the Hendry Era. What we had before was a Hendry who had to run every personnel decision past MacFail. He did not have autonomy."

that's a bit harsh. mcphail's input in the team wasnt that great.

hendry's the ex-scout...hendry's the guy making roster moves...hendry's the guy signing guys...mcphail/dusty/etc. are in the loop, but hendry-the-puppet is an overstatement.

Of course Hendry is the winner. Everyone around him is gone and he is left standing somehow. You can count this the start of his era, but hendry better not get more than those 2 years unless he DRASTICALLY turns things arounf FAST.

presser is over.

Why do I think seeing Hendry "drastrically turn things around Fast" is the last thing you want to see happen?

Crunch:
"hendry's the ex-scout...hendry's the guy making roster moves...hendry's the guy signing guys...mcphail/dusty/etc. are in the loop, but hendry-the-puppet is an overstatement."

I agree with that statement. I am sure when hendry went after FA's or make trades, he informed MacPhail and got his opinion, but I don't think MacPhail made teh decision. Same with Baker. I am sure Hendry and Baker talked constantly about the roster, with Hendry getting Bakers opinions, but ultimately Hendry is the GM and has to be liable for the players acquired.

LNL:
"Why do I think seeing Hendry "drastrically turn things around Fast" is the last thing you want to see happen?"

Do you post anything on here besides coming after me? You know, you can just sign up for my newsletter...:)

Yeah the last thing I want to see happen is teh Cubs to drastically improve and ultimately win the WS. Whatever. I would love for the Cubs to turn things around, but I have no confidence that Hendry can do it.

Just b/c he is ultimately liable for the decisions doesn't mean he did what he wanted.

baker's a tool...he's the guy with the lingo and pulse who can "charm" a guy with a phone call.

nolan ryan and clemens do it for houston...gwynn does it for SD...torre/jeter/etc. burn up the phone to FA's in the offseason for their club. its one of the few extra things some can do. its like having your choice of 3 jobs and having the bosses or legends of industry call you to ease your questions.

i wouldnt get it mixed up with college recruiting type stuff involving paying parent's rent and other "perks"...but it personalizes the player to the team's atmosphere.

new post up btw....

let the catharsis begin

"but hendry-the-puppet is an overstatement."

But if he knew not even to bother to ask for something, because he was shot down in the past (i.e. thinking about Beltran or Tejada), he's not a puppet, he's an eunuch.

I have no confidence that Hendry can do it.

Probably so, but I have more confidence in him now that Dusty's not around.

What is messed up is a team with this kind of payroll and this lousy record, NO ONE has been fired yet. NO ONE has been held accountable.

Oh sure MacPhail steps down, everyone knows he is probably the next commish, but it wouldn't look good if he was fired for the lousy job he did.

Baker isn't fired for this train wreck, he gets to slink away and continue to spout he has never been fired from a job.

Hendry gets to stay on, despite a 4 year track record of incompetence.

Maybe some small fish coaches will be fired. But the real culprits responsible, get to escape the ultimate humilation of the jobs they have done.

Jacos-
Hendry has said OVER and OVER that whenever he asked for more from the Trib he got it. I don't recall once that the Trib shot him down, except for saying here is your very fair, almost $100 million budget, now go spend it wisely.

Holiday Celebrate
Holiday Celebrate

Chorus:

If we took a holiday
Took some time to celebrate
Just one day out of life
It would be, it would be so nice

Everybody spread the word
We're gonna have a celebration
All across the world
In every nation
It's time for the good times
Forget about the bad times, oh yeah
One day to come together
To release the pressure
We need a holiday

(chorus)

You can turn this world around
And bring back all of those happy days
Put your troubles down
It's time to celebrate
Let love shine
And we will find
A way to come together
And make things better
We need a holiday

(chorus)

Holiday Celebrate
Holiday Celebrate

(chorus)

Holiday Celebrate
Holiday Celebrate

Holiday, Celebration
Come together in every nation

Sorry, guys can't help myself.

c'mon no-name, no-brand-name manager...

could care less who they can to play lineup jockey, but im ready to put the "superstar suit" guy in the cubs past.

no more "saviors" unless they're getting 10m+ a year to actually come in contact with a bat/glove.

Regarding Crane Kenney, since he's the Trib's head lawyer and the liason to the board it should not be surprising that he would be informed about anything to do with million dollar CONTRACTS.

Manny-
He got shot down on Furcal. A guy that he openly pined for.

And I doubt he would expect a paycheck from the Trib if he went to the press and said-
"Yeah we could of had Tejada instead of AGon but you know the Trib told me no more money."

IMO.

well since the Trib is pretty conscious about their image as a penny-pincher and Hendry probably values his job, he'd be pretty stupid to say otherwise.

man are you guys ever happy?

yeah it's just words at the moment and the skepticism is well-founded and deserved, but at least they're saying the right things now. If they were just going to keep doing things the same way why the hell would MacPhail have gone? there's going to be some kind of changes in the way things are done, for better or worse.

"Hendry has said OVER and OVER that whenever he asked for more from the Trib he got it."

I don't think he asked. e.g. If he had, Rafael Furcal would be our shortstop.

What the hell was Wilkens name doing in this press conference? Just because the Cubs have the 3rd pick, doesnt mean we have to hear this schmucks name.

furcal's issue is deeper than money available.

that was just a crazy contract. even if the cubs had the money to spend its still a crazy/stupid contract.

he's just not in that league. he's barely close to it. people were going "wtf" when his price was escalating to the 11m range. people were freaked about a possible 5yr 55m deal...when it settled to 3yr 40m people really got weirded out.

where would dlee's contract negociations start when furcal is the team's #1 earner on a fresh contract. hell, dlee is making furcal money...or the other way around. furcal's good, but not in that range for that many years.

Jacos:
"Manny- He got shot down on Furcal. A guy that he openly pined for...IMO"

I respect your opinion, but I have to disagree. Hendry has said many times that Furcal was just paid too much and that he wasn't going to pay that much for him.

I suspect we are more likely to see Batista, Marquis or even Suppan, though (of those three, I'd take Marquis).

For the love of god, NO.

I'm not excited by any of those three, but Marquis is hands down the least exciting of them.

yeah it's just words at the moment and the skepticism is well-founded and deserved, but at least they're saying the right things now. If they were just going to keep doing things the same way why the hell would MacPhail have gone?

I am much happier with new guys taking over because the old way clearly wasn't working anymore.

However, the Cubs are great at smoke screens. They distract the fanbase with one thing while ignoring another.

2003 - Hendry is promoted because the MacPhail 5 year plan was on over-time and not working. Fans openly said "give him time" he is new to his job. Which is exactly what the Tribune wanted. Behind the scenes nothing changes, same old game plan still in place.

Cubs needed offense in 2004, couldn't/didn't sign any of the numerous offense bats and settled on an aging Maddux for 30ish million. Distract you on one hand with the feel good story of Maddux, while on the other hand try and make the fans forget what they didn't fix.

2005 - The great "addition by subtraction." Make it all about how Sosa was dragging this team down. Distract the fans at what was really wrong with this team and their non-moves.

2006 - Sign some expensive bullpen arms and tout how much it will improve the team, while at the same time again distracting the fan base that they haven't really fixed much.

2006 off-season - Hendry's GM tenure is a disaster. MacPhail is looking to bail and become commish. Promote marketing guy, don't resign Baker, talk alot about how they are gonna get back on track.

The only question now is, do the Cubs continue to keep playing the shell game? Do they keep talking about how much they are/will improve, but never really act on it? Or are they going to stop playing games with the fans and actually back up what they say?

This off-season we will know the answer.

A JJ quote from the cubs.com article on Baker exit:

"In this game and in sports, period, when a team plays bad, they start at the top," Jones said. "Maybe some of us should be fired or released, but it's sad that the manager, the coaches, the [general managers], the presidents -- it's sad that those guys have to go."

This is probably the reaction remaining cubs mgmt hoped to elicit from the players... If you fail to get results, someone you like will lose their job...

Argg I am getting my little facts messed up now I think. Addition by Subtraction was 2004.....i think.

I just confused my self now. Ahh screw it.

I respectfully disagree with your thoughts on 2003 and 2004...

2004 was a WS caliber team with a stacked lineup (once Nomar joined the fray). The pitching staff was the best in baseball when healthy.

Wood, Prior, Z, Clement, Maddux

your 5th starter was an $8 million dollar guy (who the hell has that?) and you could not have predicted all those injuries at that time.

Walker was signed as a bench guy going into that year. had we not blown the final week of the season, we would have been a favorite for the World Series.

On "wanting to play here":

If you don't remember, Ned Colletti did not even HAVE a manager when Furcal was signed.

Its about the MONEY first, and then maybe #3, 4, 5, its the people.

I feel bad that Dusty couldn't get it done here. We'll now be on our 500th manager.

There is not much continuity on the North Side since the 40's

my recollection of the furcal breakdown was that furcal refused to sign the contract the cubs offered because the cubs insisted on the "zero alcohol tolerance" clause. is my memory kaput?
thanks
dc

I heard the dodgers offered $3-4 million more a year. I think that pretty much was the deal-breaker.

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