TCR Reader Response Roundtable!

Without further ado........ 1. Dusty, Dusty, Dusty, is there any reasonable scenario that you can see him staying? And if he does go, sum up his tenure in 2 sentences or less. (Again, question asked and answers submitted in advance of the firing)
Vorare No, I can't imagine Dusty staying. Even if Hendry wanted to resign him--perhaps to make Ramirez, Pierre, and Zambrano happy--I still don't think Dusty wants to be in Chicago any more. His comments to the media regarding the racist email pretty well demonstrated that; you don't intimate that your team's fanbase is full of racist hatemongers if you plan on sticking with that team. I think pretty much everyone, including Dusty, knows that he's done in Chicago. As for his time here? I can sum it up in two words: Neifi Perez. Perez was emblematic of most of Dusty's problems. Bleeding Blue Can I see him staying, yes. I still can't figure out a logical reason why he wasn't removed long ago. The best guess I can come up with is that Hendry has too much respect for Dusty to fire him mid-season, and he wants to allow Dusty the chance to leave in what will appear to be a mutual decision on good terms. Sadly, that same respect could also get him an extension offer. If Dusty is removed, his term will be best described as Extreme Underperformance. The Cubs have never lived up to their potential under Dusty's Regime, and have always found an excuse for why it's not their fault. Mike C No. Complete and utter disaster. No manager in the history of this franchise was given more and produced less than Dusty Baker.
2. Assuming Dusty joins the unemployment line, what do you want out of the next Cubs manger in terms of personality and qualities. Is there an individual you have in mind?
Vorare I think the manager at the major league level is overrated, so my requirements are simple. I want a guy who will keep the players focused and relatively happy, and I want a guy who will, in terms of filling out the lineup card, put the team in the best possible position to win on a daily basis. Beyond that, I don't think in-game strategy decisions have a significant impact on the team's record at the end of the season unless those decisions are, as we've seen at times over the last four years, mind-bogglingly stupid. I don't have any specific individuals in mind for the job, but I'd definitely prefer that it be someone with a low profile--a current coach, minor league manager, or a major league manager with minimal experience. I hear good things about Ron Washington and I respect Joe Girardi's professionalism, so I'd be happy either either of them. Bleeding Blue More than anything else, I want a manager who will hold the players accountable. He doesn't have to be a hard-ass, and he should have the respect of his players, but he also needs to hold the player accountable, especially in regards to fundamentals. He doesn't have to be a master tactician, but someone with a better sense of strategy will be a welcome change. Freddi Gonzalez is the name I find most interesting, although I will admit that I don't know enough about him to say he's the guy. Girardi is interesting, although based on what I've read I'm not sure that he's the right guy for the job. Mike C I want a manager who has some discipline in his background. I think the last 2-3 Cubs managers have tried to be everyone's best friend, and let the players do what they want when they want. Girardi is a nice example of a manager who is willing to work with players and gain their respect without being their best friend.
3. At what point did you give up your playoff aspirations for the 2006 Cubs? (continued below the fold)
Vorare May 14th, after the Cubs had lost 12 of their first 14 games in May. I still had a glimmer of hope after Lee's injury that the Cubs would be able to tread water until he was healthy again; their performance in early May erased any hope I had. Bleeding Blue I never had that high of hopes, but I figured in a very weak division and league, they should have been in the picture. What hope I had was destroyed when the team simply quit in early May. Mike C After the May disaster.
4. There were far too many things that went wrong with the club to address in this space, was there anything that went right?
Vorare Definitely. I think Marshall and Mateo showed that they have the talent and the guts to be productive major league pitchers, although maybe not in '07 and maybe not with the Cubs. Guzman gave us a few flashes of potential, but would benefit from another season (or most of a season) at AAA. Hill seems to have figured out how to pitch at the major league level. The bullpen, aside from Dempster and Novoa, seemed solid. Murton's ability to adjust and his performance in the second half are very promising. And finally, I think Theriot showed us he's a solid bench option and may just be capable of taking the starting job at second next year, depending on how things shake out this offseason. Bleeding Blue Rich Hill finally got his act together and looks to be a strong 3-4 starter next year. Murton had his early season struggles, but adjusted and turned things around when Dusty actually put him in the lineup. Theroit and Pagan look like they will be good contributors too, as part of a hopefully improved bench in 2007. Mike C Murton's development. The emergence of Theriot and Hill.
5. Can the Cubs compete next year without signing Aramis Ramirez?
Vorare I doubt it. Although it would free up another chunk of payroll, there aren't any comparable third basemen available on the free agent market this offseason, and whatever tradebait we have probably needs to be used to upgrade the rotation, the outfield, or the middle infield. I just don't think that there's any way of replacing his production for 2007 while also fixing the team's other problems. Bleeding Blue Yes, but it would take a lot. Signing Soriano to play CF, Zito or Schmidt as a #2 starter, and a additional #3 veteran innings eater, and at least a league-average replacement for 3rd base (think Nomar would come back?) would be vital for this team to compete. Mike C I doubt they can compete with Ramirez.
6. The Cubs seem to have more questions marks than the Riddler's costume; prioritize the Cubs off-season moves in a handy clip and save card for Hendry.
Vorare 1. Replace Dusty quickly. 2. Renegotiate with Ramirez. 3. Add a solid bat via trade or free agency to fill CF, SS, or 2B. 4. Add a top of the rotation starter. 5. Fill in the remaining holes in the lineup and rotation with decent reliable players. 6. Sign Zambrano to a long term deal. Bleeding Blue 1 - Sign a new manager 2 - Sign another top of the line starter, either Zito or Schmidt 3 - Resign/Extend ARam 4 - Add another bat, either in CF (Soriano, AJones?) or at 2nd (Lugo, Giles?) 5 - Add a veteran starter to eat innings with an average ERA. (Maddux would be damn near perfect, but I think he stays in LA) 6 - Keep Wood, if you can get him to sign an extreme short term, incentive-based contract. Mike C 1. Starting pitcher 2. Offensive upgrade via trade or free agent 3. A new manager 4. A Closer. A real one not named Ryan Dempster.
7. You have $13-15 million burning a hole in your budget next year and one roster spot available. Give us the 3 free agents you target with that money.
Vorare Matsuzaka (setting aside the posting fee), Schmidt, Soriano. Bleeding Blue Zito, Schmidt, Soriano Mike C Daisuke Matsuzaka (It's going to require a posting fee of 15-20 million, but should be had for around 8-10 million a year) Alfonso Soriano - He can butcher 2nd base on my team if he can keep hitting 40 bombs from the leadoff spot.
8. What are 3 things the Cubs should avoid doing this off-season at all costs?
VorareYou mean aside from reacquiring Neifi Perez? The Cubs must avoid: 1. Letting Ramirez go. 2. Bumping Murton for anyone but a young "sure thing" talent. 3. Signing Zito. Bleeding Blue 1 - Extend Dusty Baker 2 - Count on Prior to be anything other than a #5 who splits time with Marshall/Guzman/Mateo/etc. 3 - Reaquire Neifi Perez Mike C Don't sign any lousy middle infielders. Don't sign anyone to play LF and kick Murton to the curb. And did I mention don't sign any lousy middle infielders?
9. Lightning Round: Give us your thoughts on these players and how important they should be in next year's team? a. Juan Pierre
Vorare Unless he's willing to take a two or three year deal for less than $8 million per year, he shouldn't be on the team. Bleeding Blue I don't mind him at the top of the lineup, but it's also the easiest place to upgrade the offense. Avoid a multi-year deal and offer arbitration. If he takes it, fine. If not, try to find a CF who can slug. Mike C I think Pierre can be fairly important to next year's team, but only if the price is right.
b. Aramis Ramirez
VorareIt's vital that he be brought back. It's a safe bet that we'll have at least two weak bats on the team, maybe three, depending on how the Pierre situation shakes out, so his production is absolutely necessary. Without him, I'd rather just see the team go into a rebuilding mode. Bleeding Blue He, along with Lee and Z, are the cornerstones to the team. I fully expect him to return to the Cubs next year. Mike C Critical. Without him the only proven hitter we have is Derrek Lee coming off of a wrist injury. That is a recipe for disaster.
c. Kerry Wood
Vorare He should be in the pen. Between our already strong bullpen and his (likely) minimal contract demands, he should be a low-risk high-reward signing. I say go for it, and if he's successful we can demote Dempster and use Eyre or Howry as trade bait. Bleeding Blue I really do apprieciate that he's said that he wants to "make up" for the past few years. If he'll put his money where his mouth is, and take a very low cost/low risk deal, I would have no problem seeing him in the Cubs bullpen. Mike C He shouldn't be important at all to next year's team. However, I do think that by the end of the year, provided his health holds up, we will be looking at a dominate closer in the mold of John Smoltz.
d. Matt Murton
Vorare He's our starting left fielder. He has demonstrated patience, power, and most importantly, the ability to adjust to major league pitching. While I don't expect him to put up a full season at his '06 post-All Star level quite yet, I think he won't be too far off that mark and he'll do it for less than $400,000. Bleeding Blue I'm very impressed with his rookie season. Not only has he shown patience and power, but also the ability to adjust. He should be given the starting LF job in 07. Mike C His continued development is a key to this franchise. He gives us good production now for the price tag and allows the organization to spend money in more important areas.
e. Rich Hill
Vorare He's earned a spot in the rotation. I still have some concerns about his lack of a decent third pitch, but he's making the most of what he does have, and he seems to have the potential to join Zambrano at the top of the rotation. Besides, he's cheap and durable. Bleeding Blue I had my doubts about his ability to be a MLB starter, but it certainly appears that his problems were in large part from lack of confidence. Since getting his first win, he's been everything you could want from a young pitcher and has earned his place in the back half of the Cubs' rotation. Mike C I still think he is Jekyl and Hyde, although I have been impressed with his second half. I say move him while he is hot, before the league figures out his stuff is just average.
f. Felix Pie
Vorare I don't want to see him on the MLB club until September, barring some catastrophic injuries or him absolutely dominating AAA. There's no need to rush him. Bleeding Blue The fact that he didn't get a call-up indicates to me that the Cubs will probably be making a strong offer to Pierre. I would hope Pie would be the first guy the Cubs would turn to in case of an OF injury in 07, possibly letting him split time with Jones by the end of the year. Mike C Not important at all to next year's team. He isn't ready.
g. Ryan Theriot
Vorare I'd pencil him in as a backup middle infielder. If we can't find anyone better over the offseason, and if he carries his success from the last month over to spring training, he would be a decent option for 2B. Bleeding Blue He certainly has impressed in his brief time with the Cubs in '06. Ideally, he'd fill the "Neifi" super-infielder role in '07, but if budget prevents the Cubs from getting a top 2nd baseman, I wouldn't mind him compeating with a veteran 2nd tier guy for the spot. Mike C Given the rather lack-luster options for 2nd base this off-season, he could contend for the 2nd base job. Whether he is a fluke or not can only be found out if he plays more. He could solve our #2 slot in the batting order.
h. Mark Prior
Vorare I hope he gets his health problems worked out this offseason and shows up to spring training ready to compete, but I'm not going to count on him. Bleeding Blue His potential is simply so much higher than his current value that it will be almost impossible to move him in a fair trade. We have to hold on to him, but don't rely on him being any more than we would a Sean Marshall or another young player who has shown promise. Mike C Despite his track record, he is critical to next year's team. If they want to even think about just being .500, the Cubs need a healthy Mark Prior to make at least 30 starts.
10. Can the Cubs be contenders next year without expanding the budget to $150 million and what will it take to do so?
Vorare Setting aside the doom and gloom from this season, I think there are a lot of reasons to believe the Cubs can be contenders next season. Barrett, Lee, and Ramirez are in the top five offensively for their respective positions. Zambrano is a Cy Young candidate and a horse. Murton and Hill look to be valuable members of the team. Jones is a decent producer, even though he'd be better with a platoon partner. We have a great bullpen that might get even better with Wood. We still have "future Hall of Famer" Prior around, who could be a major factor if he gets healthy for next season. Our minor leagues are stacked with pitching. If Hendry can add a good bat and a top of the rotation starter, and if the Cubs can shake their incredibly bad luck, I think the team can contend--especially given the weakness of the division and the league as a whole. Bleeding Blue With the current state of the NL, there's no reason they can't compete. And really, any team with a core of Lee, Ramirez, and Zambrano should be at the . 500 mark every year. However, adding a top tier starter is the bare minimum needed for this team to be a threat, and they are probably 2 starters and an offensive upgrade away from being a team that I'd consider a favorite to make the post-season and compete for a World Championship. Mike C No, they can't contend without spending massive amounts of money to eliminate all the question marks on the roster. Sure they can win next year, but everything needs to run perfectly, and we all know things very rarely ever go the way this franchise wants.
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Comments

Why no Zito? He's made all of his starts for several years now, and he keeps a good ERA in the AL. Wouldn't that translate into success in the Quadruple-A NL Central?? I know he's a flyball pitcher, but so is Hill...

It's not just that he's a flyball pitcher, it's that he's a high-hit/high-walk pitcher. Combine that tendancy to put people on base with his mediocre strikeout rate and you have a potentially volatile combination. I don't think it's a coincidence that his most similar comparison through Age 28 is Mike Hampton. Zito's long term contract may end up being as big of a disaster as Hamptons.

"The Cubs have never lived up to their potential under Dustyís Regime"

Leaving '04-'06 out of it, do you really think the Cubs didn't live up to their potential in '03? Did anyone here really think they were going to contend that year? If so, I wish I had the same crystal ball. I figured they'd be somewhat better than '02, not in the NLCS.

So lets ignore 75% of his tenure

ok.............

Why no Zito?

The only difference between Zito and Rich Hill is $12 million dollars. How many flyball pitching left handers do you want when we go into Cincy and Houston 18 games a year and face Pujols and Rolen another 18?

With all this talk about upgrading in LF but not wanting to give up on Murt why not just move him to RF and doing something else with Jones(trade?)I know his arm isn't the best but hell at least he can hit the cut off man.

do you really think the Cubs didn't live up to their potential in '03? Did anyone here really think they were going to contend that year?

First of all, there were several people, including several ESPN "experts" who did pick the Cubs to win the division in 2003.

But that's largly irrelevant to my point. In the preseason predictions, I don't think most people expected Prior to develop into an ace as fast as he did, I don't think anyone expected Zambrano to put up #1-type numbers for a large chunk of the season, I don't think people were expecting the Corey Patterson to have an all-star caliber 1st half, and I don't think people expected the Cubs to obtain ARam and Lofton mid-season.

Despite all of those great individual performances, the Cubs just barely squeaked into the playoffs with the worst record of any playoff team in baseball that year. Once in the playoffs, they were more talented than the Marlins, yet simply got out played and out managed in the NLCS.

So yes, I do believe that even in 2003 the Cubs failed to live up to their potential as a team.

If you don't want a Zito, fine. But I'm just not sure what makes us think we can be so picky. What pitchers are out there that are sub-3 era, ground ball pitchers, with a high k-BB ratio, and makes 30+ starts a year? I would say none. We don't need a Cy Young pitcher at every stop. We do need a staff that can make all it's starts. Look at the 06 White Sox. They're individual ERAs were brutal, yet they still won 90 games in the toughest division in baseball. Imagine if they were in the NL, let alone the NL central? They'd walk through to the World Series. My point is, if we don't want a Zito or a Schmidt, who the heck is gonna be put in there? Good luck.

Somewhat OT, but perhaps interesting: A dispute has broken out at work over what event is likelier to happen first: the Cubs win the World Series, or NASA sends another human to the moon. I voted for the moon, myself; but some starry-eyed optimists believe the Cubs will beat NASA. They'll learn.

Urbs:
"A dispute has broken out at work over what event is likelier to happen first: the Cubs win the World Series, or NASA sends another human to the moon. I voted for the moon, myself;"

Well, since NASA isn't planning to send a man to the moon until at least 2020, I think I would pick the Cubs to win the World Series.

But I would consider myself an optimist.

hey

just got back from the yankees-tigers "game".

f- steinbrenner....they kept everyone in the stadium until 10, after TV had already announced that the game wouldn't be played tonight.

not to mention that it wasn't raining at 8:00, when the game was supposed to start, or that it hadn't rained for a half hour when they finally did call it.

so george just got $9.00 X however many beers i had, and screws everyone so they can come back tomorrow and buy more food

also, i have no more vacation days left this year and have a ticket that is likely useless for tomorrow's game.

what a night.

GL-
Big Stein has no say on post season games. It is all up to MLB and Mr. Selig.

On TV they mentioned that they knew rain was coming even though it wasn't raining, so that is why they delayed the start.

Meanwhile, Baker is drawing very little public interest, partly because of his salary demands that start at more than $4 million. Baker still appears headed for an ESPN analyst's job.

He is asking for more than $4 million? Wow, he really does live in his own fantasy world.

http://tinyurl.com/ng8b5

more from that Trib article...

throws Girardi, Brenly, Piniella, Washinton and Acta in the Cubs mix

Texas: Don Wakamatsu, Rudy Jaramillo, Ron Washington Trey Hillman (who's having each candidate do an interview with the media during the hiring process...nice priorities)

Nationals: Girardi, Fregosi, Piniella

San Fran: Brenly, Washington, Ron Wotus, Bud Black

Girardi would likely like to bring back Rick Kranitz as pitching coach (Iowa pitcing coach for a long time) and possibly Perry Hill and ex-Cubbie Mike Harkey

Hey, let's bring back Ryno (1b coach, infield instructor), Jody Davis (bench or bullpen coach), and Mark Grace (hitting coach) while we're at it.

I was wondering what MikeC was going to do now that Baker is not managing the Cubs anymore. I guess he will just keep on following the life of Dusty Baker. You should write a book...

rick kranitz would be ideal if the cubs pull the heartstring move and bring girardi over. they've worked together. kran has worked in the cubs system and he's familiar with all the pitchers, even if only briefly with r.hill.

the trib webpoll for "who you want to lineup jockey the 07 team" was off the charts in favor of girardi.

im assuming quade will be 3rd base coach...things could get really "internal" within the old guard system real quick....spanning a large chunk of the later old guard from the past 5+ years.

at least everyone would be familiar with everyone and have at least a shred of what its like to work with each other. that's one less hurdle to get over.

meh...i'd still rather have a no-name/non-hero, but ultimately i just hope it doesnt cost a lot whoever's hired.

I'd worship girardi if he'd take a super-low salary (250K or so) over the next 2 years and make the Marlins pay the bulk of the rest of his contract just to spite them. (about $1.5 mil over the next 2 years).

I'm sure there are legal issues involved but that would so rule...

i wonder how much girardi's truely worth on the market.

guess we'll find out within the next 3 weeks or less.

http://tinyurl.com/f48x4

Giants not likely to revisit Baker

HIRE Girardi...Main reason...He's a Cub Fan and He knows what were going through and why we are angry....

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/cubs.asp?id...

pretty solid run-down of the big 3 candidates so far for manager, Girardi, Brenly and Piniella

"He is asking for more than $4 million?"

But Mike you get all that champsionship experience...uh

A calm and game ready club house...uh

No excuses....uh

Well Darren will come for free for all supermarket openings with Dusty.

When you're talking about a player that could potentially eat up 15% of the payroll for the next half-decade, you absolutely better be picky. There's a good chance Zito would be a disaster as a Cub. Lots of hits + lots of walks + flyball pitcher moving to a division full of hitter friendly parks = lots of two and three run homers.

#4

No, Vince, that's not what I said nor what I meant. I was merely asking if anyone really thought they'd go to the NLCS in '03. I don't recall too many predictions of that, but I don't have that great of a memory about that kind of stuff. I still think getting that team to the NLCS was not underachieving.

Sure, would've rather they won, and we can debate Dusty's role in that collapse ad nauseum and '04-'06 ad nauseum as well, but that's already been done here. I still maintain that team, if anything, overachieved to get to the NLCS.

I don't recall too many predictions of that, but I don't have that great of a memory about that kind of stuff. I still think getting that team to the NLCS was not underachieving.

Like I said, While the Cubs were picked to win their division by some in 2003, I don't think you can only look at preseason predictions when looking at whether the team over or under achieved.

When you looked at the talent aquired midseason and how the 2nd and 3rd year players came into their own that season (you can credit Dusty for that if you'd like, or you can say he took credit for 'letting' those young pitchers throw 120-140 pitches an outing), the 2003 Cubs should have done a lot better than they did.

only 88 wins for a team of that caliber is not overachiveing in my book.

The only time I think the Cubs ever played to their potential was during the 5 game division series with Atlanta in 2003. However, playing to the teams potential for 1 week during a season doesn't mean the team overachieved all year long.

But they got to the NLCS. Are you suggesting that the only way that it's not underachieving is that they should've won that and the World Series? I'm not talking purely about a win total.

And I'm not crediting Dusty for anything. I just can't see how anyone can say going to the NLCS means they "should've done better than they did." That's pretty good stuff right there, but whatever.

The fact is we as fans never know when the Cubs as a team will decide to compete for a division title and be a playoff team. We just don't know, its a crap shot.

Since atleast 1984 each year the Cubs made the playoffs it was completly out of no where. And after that was over they went back to no where fast.

We are not like the Yankee's or Braves since the mid 90's, or Oakland and Minn over the last 5 years who expect to compete for a division, make the playoffs and actually do it most of the time. When the Cubs made their runs in 84, 89, 98, and 03 we as fans were like, "hey I wasn't expecting this, but I will take it."

1984 - Cubs didn't finish above .500 in the previous 11 seasons (finished at .500 in 77) then won 96 games. Following year they were back under .500.

1989 - Last time the Cubs finished over .500 was 1984, then won 93 games. Following year they were back under .500 for the next 3 seasons.

1998 - In the 8 previous seasons 7, out of those 8 Cubs teams finished under .500 (93 team won 84 games). Made it in as a wild card winning 90 games then went back to losing for the next 2 seasons winning 67 and 65 games respectively.

2003 - 3 out of the last 4 seasons since 1998 the Cubs had seasons in which they won 65, 67, and 67 games. One brief blurb in 2001 when they won 88 games and then it was right back to losing.

Since 2003 - The 2004 team is the only team in that time span to actually finish above .500 after a playoff run the previous season. But the results still ended up being the same as the next 2 seasons the Cubs finished below .500 and are back to winning 66ish games a year.

There has not been a consistent stretch of good baseball teams in Chicago Cubs history since the period of 1926-1938. Not a single team in that span finished under .500. Since then it has really been alot of one year wonders.

Well actually there was a nice little run between 67 and 72 but it never resulted in any plaoffs and none of those teams were considered dominate.

For once as a Cub fan I don't want to be surprised if my team is competing for a division title/playoff spot. I want it to become expected.

"For once as a Cub fan I don't want to be surprised if my team is competing for a division title/playoff spot. I want it to become expected."

I think we all agree on this.

"For once as a Cub fan I don't want to be surprised if my team is competing for a division title/playoff spot. I want it to become expected."

Talk about diametric opposites. Being a Cub fan and expecting winning. To tell you the truth I'll take 1 world series and I don't care if we finish above .500 for 20 years.

Chad:
"To tell you the truth I'll take 1 world series and I don't care if we finish above .500 for 20 years."

That is an interesting point. I bet most Cubs fans would say that. I personally wouldn't, but I am only 30 years old, so my years of losing isn't as bad as many old time Cubs fans. I know you are about my age too, but overall I would think the older you are the more you would agree with your statement.

Tigers up 1-0...my father-in-law has NYY season tickets and had to sit there for 2 hours yesterday and was pissed it got called. But he is more pissed that he couldn't go today. He is a professor at a University in CT and had 3 classes to teach today and couldn't miss them. That made him even MORE pissed. Too bad I haven't moved to CT yet, or I could of gone today. But like I said yesterday, hard to feel too bad for NYY fans.

Manny, are you really moving to CT? What about your season tix? Can you 'will' them to someone?

Yes, being able to reasonably expect to contend annually is what we all desire. And those of us who were around when MacPhail was hired thought we finally had good reason for those expectations at the time. Too bad MacPhail couldn't please his bosses and the fans at the same time. As one who trusted in Andy, I have no idea what to expect now. It's certainly unreasonable to expect McDonough to turn this mess around.

Chad:
"Manny, are you really moving to CT? What about your season tix? Can you 'will' them to someone?"

Yeah, I am moving back to CT next week. I'm going to miss going to the Cubs games, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

The Cubs are VERY particular about tranferring tickets, and at this point, I have no reason to as I make such good money off them. Also, I want to keep them in my name just in case they ever make the playoffs/WS again, I want to be able to fly back and go to the games. But I do believe if I die, I could transfer them to my wife or my kids, immediate family, but that is about it. So you are out...:)

Ranch:

"Yes, being able to reasonably expect to contend annually is what we all desire"

Not all. As a matter of fact, more people than you think love the way the Cubs are. Now granted, the majority of people may agree with that statement. But not ALL. Not anywhere NEAR all.

Once again, if we go on to compete every year. Go to the playoffs many many times and collect a few World Series then we become the Blue Jays or Marlins. The Cubs will lose all that is special. Once that is gone, I see no reason to be a fan anymore. It won't be the Cubs. If I wanted to root for a team that competes and goes to the playoffs, I'd be a Dodger fan as I live in Los Angeles.

Manny:

I'm just glad you are keeping your tix.

While I won't go to Chad's extremes, a WS championship would pretty much give the organziation a 3-5 year pass in my book. They could gut it, have monkeys in pinstripes, let my dog pick the lineups, whatever, I wouldn't give a crap if it meant a WS championship. And as I get older, that free pass gets larger and larger.

But they got to the NLCS. Are you suggesting that the only way that it's not underachieving is that they should've won that and the World Series? I'm not talking purely about a win total.

What I'm saying is that making the playoffs should be the bare minimum that should have been expected of the 2003 Cubs - based on the talent level - and they just barely achieved that by making the playoffs with the worst regluar season of any playoff team in baseball that year.

I'm not going to then say they overachieved because they just barely met that minimum standard and then happened to win a 5 game series - especially when after winning that 5 game series then went on to lose a 7 game series to a team they should have easily beat.

"Go to the playoffs many many times and collect a few World Series then we become the Blue Jays or Marlins. The Cubs will lose all that is special. Once that is gone, I see no reason to be a fan anymore. It won't be the Cubs."

What nonsense. I love the Cubs because I love baseball. What other team do you know of whose fans will stand in the cold and rain for hours to watch 14 innings of a game between two teams that aren't in playoffs contention? Maybe I'm overly optimistic because I'm young and I've only experienced 22 years of crushing dissapointment. But it's just silly to say that they won't be the Cubs anymore of they win the WS. We're the greatest fans in the world. Nothing will change that.

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