Guest Column: That Game

Mother Nature has been rather cruel this post-season, delaying the playoffs which in turn has delayed the Hot Stove and turned us into a music blog last night. Last night's rainout was even more cruel as ESPN radio replayed Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS to fill the time and it got Rabble-rouser and and Sabre-guy at large "Chad" to do a little soul-searching. Which is better than veering off into oncoming traffic, which is what I would have likely done if I had tuned in. --- So last night I'm driving home from work when my cell phone rings. Itís my buddy, Pat, who left work a few minutes before me. He tells me that whatever I do, don't tune into 710 AM on my radio (the station here in Los Angeles that carries the World Series). Now thanks to an earlier post, I knew they were replaying old games. So I said with him, They're replaying game 6. Yup. And not just Game 6 but the top of the 8th. I became instantly sick. Thankfully, I was carpooling last night and were listening to the driver's choice (as is our carpool rule) and she had her iPod plugged in, and not much of a baseball fan to boot. I thanked my friend for the heads up and closed my cell phone. I was quiet for a few moments and my carpool partner became worried. She asked me if I was OK. No. She knows enough about sports to know about Game 6 and some of the details of it. So I told her about the warning I had just received and she thought it was funny. I asked if there was something wrong with me that I just couldn't get over that Game. She of course said yes. That got me thinking; is there something wrong with me that I can't get over that Game? That the very thought of it can totally ruin my day. Even this morning while I was getting ready for work, I was replaying the events of that day. And I know where I went wrong. I started to believe. Right around the 6th or 7th inning, I started to allow myself to actually think about my team being in the World Series. To actually believe that it was going to happen and I was going to witness it. For the first time in the entire post season I thought we were actually going to win. I felt a tiny little smile for in the corner of my mouth and I did nothing to stop it. That was a mistake. I am sure that everyone reading this can do a play by miserable play of what happened in that 8th inning so there is no reason to belabor that anymore. So, back to last night, I told her (my carpool partner) that I don't think that I'll get over that Game until my team goes to the World Series. But then I paused. Then again, probably not. Prosecutor: Over Macho Grande? Witness: No. I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande - Airplane II ---- Thanks Chad for the write-up.


1 win, wood and prior going for dice.

never really cared much for the whole bartman-thing...felt it was grossly overblown, especially compared to the agonz error.

the players got their shots, they blew it.

actually, i guess dusty made them do it since he's the one in charge of facilitating failure. har...

Excellent guest column, and I would agree with that interpretation entirely. I, too, truly began to expect that we would make it that night. And I did something for which I will never forgive the seventh inning I put a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator to chill. I took it out an hour later and it is still sitting in my wine cabinet to this day, mocking me.

Funny, Tom. I bought a bottle of Laphroaig 15 year the evening before the game, planning on opening it after they won. It's still unopened on my liquor shelf.

i got 1/2 a can of Busch Lite in the fridge i was saving...still there.

one day...sign.

sign/sigh...whatever...go bad jokes.

My man love for Chad continues to grow.

That's the best decription I've heard.......I started to believe. It's the single worst thing that ever happened to CUB nation.

Goddamn Dusty Baker!!!!
Double Damn Jim Hendry!!!!!!!!!!!!

I blame them both for every bad thing that ever happened to the Cubs...even the trade of Lou Brock. They HAD to be inolved....they were BREATHING at the time!!!


sad part is I couldn't have been any less excited about a Game 7 in my life (well other than this year's NLCS). I just knew there was no way we were going to win. You just don't recover from a game like that. Wood's homer gave me a moment of hope, but honestly I was just waiting for us to blow it.

I walked around work all day with my Kerry Wood jersey and every time some one asked me about that nights game, I was all "no problem, we got it. Wood's gonna pitch great and we're going to win." It was 100% total BS. I was lying to their faces and I knew it.

Great, great article Chad. I was thinking about that game, that inning, that pitcher last Sunday. Did you know that the whole eighth inning is on Youtube? Sigh.

There is a slight but important distinction between Believe and Expect. I "believe" just about every year that this could be the year. Shoot, I even felt that way this year until the Furcal-Lee collision (as the NL was so weak). An Expectation is different...when you Expect something, you stupidly put champagne in the refrigerator and think about how much of the retirement fund you can withdraw to buy scalped Series tickets...sigh...

Well, tonight I am rooting for the weather. If only in the vain hope that another rain-out would push out the schedule so there could be a Game 7 in Detroit on Devil's Night.

I committed a "Cardinal" (sorry) sin that night--I was at Game 6, and after Prior retired the leadoff hitter in the 8th, I turned to my friend, held up 5 fingers and said "Five outs to go!". Being there, more than Bartman I remember the AGonz error(that was when I knew it wasn't meant to be) and then the little Mikey Bleepin' Mordecai's 2-out, 3-run double off of Farns to ice it.

Time to curl up under my desk and start crying again.

I do love the nonchalant attitude by some of the bartman play because you know, outs are easy to get. If everything else had stayed the same and Alou did catch the ball like he would have, the score is 3-2 at the end of the inning...

Pierre still scores on I-rod's single
I-rod scores ont he Lee double but Castillo does not cause he should have been out earlier
and Conine's sac fly ends the inning.

They likely would have faced Lowell instead of the IBB though...


"...held up 5 fingers and said 'Five outs to go!'."

Oh... shit.

By the way, Mike Mordecai's career numbers: .244/.303/.363. That makes Neifi! look good. Shit, why him? Why then? Why against us?

I remember I had a bottle of champagne waiting also. I didn't think much of Bartman, AGon pissed me off though.
My wife really got into the Cubs for the first time in her life that season, and when the final out of the 8th happened and 8 runs had crossed she was still screaming at the tv. As I sat on the couch unflinching. She screamed "How can you be so calm?"

I said "Being a Cub fan for over 30 years you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop...and it just did."

Luckily I had a business trip to Boston the next day where I had to relive the same shit a day later for the Aaron Boone game against the Red Sox.

I imagine if I lived in 1912 and had enough money to take only one trip in my life I would have been on the Titanic.

Most of my anger was focused on Alou for throwing the temper tantrum. I remember thinking "well, there goes the team's concentration." Sure enough, defensive whiz Gonzo botches a routine play and our ace pitcher turns to mush. Bah.

Rob, as Vorare touched on, that inning would have been totally different. Maybe if Alou catches that ball the next guy strikes out to end the inning. And who the hell knows anyway. Maybe JoBo blows the save in the ninth. But i doubt it would have been play for play the same.


"I imagine if I lived in 1912 and had enough money to take only one trip in my life I would have been on the Titanic."

Would that be an example of irony?

I have all of the 2003 games on VHS but can't watch any of them because of the way it turned out.

I should just record over them.

I was at the game and with five outs to go I too held up five fingers. Everyone around us did. It was impossible not to get caught up in the thrill that I was about to awaken from my 40 year nightmare. Our seats are just far enough back to see the video monitors mounted on the catwalk of the luxury boxes. We could see the huge crowd gathered outside on Waveland and I imagined what a deleriously happy madhouse it would soon be.

We had been worried that two or all three outs Prior got in the seventh were hard hit but unless Baker was willing to bring in Clement, we didn't see anyone else we'd rather have out there if things got dicey.

I always go back to game one when the Cubs got that lead and Z then got lit up and the Cubs got behind. If Z had just pitched a little better the Cubs would have swept the Marlins with two of the wins being blowouts. The Marlins would have been instantly forgotten and the Cubs would have gone into the Series against the Yankees with their pitchers rested and their rotation lined up.

I did think the Cubs could win game seven. Baseball isn't basketball. Momentum can be stopped instantly by great pitching. Look at the Cards last year. You'd think after Pujols hit that game winning homer they were in. It didn't matter. If Wood pitched like he did against Atlanta the Cubs would have been in the Series. He didn't. They weren't.

Sorry, but I still can't really talk much about Game 6 and 7. Attending 6 of the 7 games in that series (sold Game 2 tickets), is still not a closed wound.

But now that I am in Connecticut, I can listen to Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN in NY. Even though both sides have come out and said ARod is staying put, half the callers and talk is about trading him (the other half is bashing Tiki Barber for his retirement talk). One caller called in and said maybe the Cubs would be a good trading partner for him, but for the caller to do the deal it would take Zambrano AND either ARam or Lee and he would still have to think about it. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA Hendry isn't even stupid enough to give them any one of the three, let alone two of the three.

Maybe NYY fans are the worst. At least I am away from the CHW fans, but at least now I have another team to root against in town.

I was at game 7 and didn't want to go. I went for my son. I knew they were going to lose and I didn't want to be there. Whenever I think or hear of game 6, I get a sick feeling in my stomach. After game 7, my son and I didn't speak for about a half hour. The first thing I said to him was "These are your Father's Cubs". If you remember, there was a saying going around that "These are not your Father's Cubs".

I was at Game 6 with a buddy. After we got the third run, he and I high-fived each other, and it wasn't a "yeah, we scored another run" high five but a "We're going to the World Series" high five. I can't believe we were that foolish.

When Pierre doubled and folks around us groaned, my buddy said "Not a problem. It's all right," trying to convince himself as much as anyone. The woman in front of us said "no, it won't be all right." We all knew she was right.

A colleague of ours claims he saw us on TV sitting in the stands after the game ended. I have a tape of the game, but still haven't been able to bring myself to watch it.

i was in my living room. my young son was asleep. (i kept waking him up). I told my wife I can't believe it but we are going to pull this off. the alou tantrum then agonz error then tears in priors eyes (the end of his carreer by the way) I started coughing and gagging. almost threw up..... years later I am still waiting.


Great piece, dude. That combined with the previous 20 or so comments have caused me to sink back into depression.

Hurry up 2007.

The following is a quote from Al over at Bleed Cubbie Blue:
"People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
-- Rogers Hornsby

Guys, reading this is killing me.

Long after that series ended, the initial pain faded away a bit. But the phrase "5 outs away" always brought the knots back to my stomach. It still does.

My name is Chad, and I am a Cub fan.

Why are you letting Chad submit stuff? I heard a while back that he was the worst poster on TCR.

The FCC is enforcing the equal-time rule on us....

But guys! that was NOT a routine grounder to AGonz! I swear, look at the replay if you don't believe me. That thing had seriously wicked spin on it. When it hit the ground right in front of Agonz it bounced all crazy-like...
like it had been kicked...
by a... goat... AIIAIGHGHGH (collapses under desk, sobbing)

We are all connected by pain.

It is an odd "bonding" but it is real.

Many people cannot relate.

Personally, I was so on-edge, I had to turn the game off and on in cycles, only to watch the 8th and I couldn't believe my eyes.

Then, fearing the worst, I turned the game off. Sensing that, "We have Woody tomorrow", I honestly was defeated as a fan and knew we were doomed.

In rehashing this as all of us do, I, like Chad, am still having a hard time getting over AGon's freakin' error on a "sure" out, AND Dusty for just not realizing that by making a correct pitching change, he very probably could have made history. He JUST DIDN'T GET IT!

Instead of any of our starters, he chose Mark Guthrie, never to be heard from again after 2003.

Thanks Chad for the bittersweet (mostly bitter) memories...

Cubs up 3-0, top 8th, 1 out (5 outs to go), Pudge up (#7), 0-2 count, Prior still on the mound...a nearly full moon and note the UFO hovering just above the scoreboard...

Hell was lurking around the corner and a shift in the timeline was about to occur.

My mistake - actually in GAME 6, Farnsie relieved Prior. 3 runs in a third of an inning.

Guthrie, gave up a GWHR to Lowell in the top of the 10th after Sosa tied it in the bottom of the 9th.;

I was at that depressing game.

I was there. I did the five finger thing too.

I took my two boys (then 7 and 9) and we sat in the first row of the bleachers in right center field. After the game, they were in tears and I had to pretend for their sake that everything would be all right. I remember the atmosphere at Wrigley turning just really ugly after the Bartman play. The walk out of the bleachers that night, through all the people that had been in the street outside, past the cops on horses, was surreal. A lot of ugly drunks out that night. It was almost like we had all watched someone die.

That is a very dark description. What a way to implant Cubdom into innocent children!

JosÈ MacÌas just won, with the Nippon Ham Fighters, the Japanese Series. Go Ex-Cubs!

Yes, I actually believed too after we got through the seventh and on into the eighth. Stupid me. I knew it was over with the Bartman play. It was surreal. I of course kept hoping the next night with Wood and Alou's homers but deep down knew that God wasn't going to let it happen for us yet. Is He a Cub fan or not?!

I heard on Boers and Bernstein that Cub Season tix holders got a mailer from the Cubs titled "remember the season, 2006"

You could buy(no joke)
"In Dusty We Trusty" tee shirts
Game worn Neifi Perez jersey
Game worn John Mabry jersey

Can anyone verify this sick promotion from the geniuses on Clark and Addison?

Ummm, I'm a season ticket holder. Have not received the above.

How 'bout you other folks? MANNY? ROB?

I'd be pretty incensed had I received this mailing.

Manny, I didn't know I wasn't the only Nutmegger on TCR.

Love the FAN. The fans from both NY teams think Zambrano is gettable.

"Can anyone verify this sick promotion from the geniuses on Clark and Addison?"

I haven't gotten anything in the mail for the Cubs since the season ended. And E-Man, I don't think Rob is a season ticket holder.

"Bonded by pain" -- last summer, my eight-year old son and I were hiking on a trail in Colorado. As he does every day in summer, he was wearing a Cubs T-Shirt and hat. About fifty people passed us (going the other way) during the hike -- and EVERY SINGLE ONE smiled, pointed at my son and said "Go Cubs!". I can't think of another team that has that effect on people. So, be of good cheer -- we may be depressed and deprived, but we are never, ever alone.

CT Steve:
"Manny, I didn't know I wasn't the only Nutmegger on TCR."

Yeah, I lived in CT (Norwalk) after I graduated from Penn State from 1999-2001, then I moved to Chicago where I lived until just last week. Now I am back in CT. My wife and I are now living in Shelton with family until we sell our home in Chicago and then buy one here (hopefully not more than a couple months). Where you at?

BILLYBUCKS: I have experienced similar "Cubby-Bonding" on the road. Actually, once with my daughters in Colorado too - I'd be surprised if most of us here haven't had somethin' like it.

It is so damn wierd, yet as you say - we are never, ever alone.

Thanks, FOX, for showing us video of Rolen homering at Wrigley Field of all places. Way to remind me. Is this the only footage you've got?

So much for my Tigers-Win-It-In-4 prediction. Stupid Cards.

damn. it is nigh on impossible to figure out what will happen in the playoffs.

Manny, I'm in New Haven.

I'm from Michigan, but was in Chicago for 4 years at Loyola for grad school. That was long enough for me to pick up a really nasty Cub habit.

Go Tigers!

"damn. it is nigh on impossible to figure out what will happen in the playoffs."

The Cardinals must be a Chadball team. The Cubs should go for 83 wins next year.

I had bought my ticket to see Mars Volta at the Riviera months in advance ... there's no North Side baseball in October, right?

So the night comes, and I'm torn. I decide to go to the show, which ends up completely sucking, and my eyes are glued to my cell phone the entire time. At the end of the 7th, two friends and I decide to hop on the train and head down to Addison ... to be part of the celebration.

You know what had happened by the time we got there.

We all had started to believe.

Also, I received the "Remember the 2006 season" e-mail. It was just sent to anyone who gets updates.

I shuddered and hit delete.

Lou's Posse or one more addition to the rat pack...

from Paul Sullivan this am:

Matt Sinatro, a former major league catcher who served under Lou Piniella in Seattle and Tampa Bay, will take over for Juan Lopez as the new bullpen coach

The Cubs should go for 83 wins next year.

should be no problem at all, provided they play a 204 game schedule.

"Love the FAN. The fans from both NY teams think Zambrano is gettable."

As I said last year during the Great Prior debate, if your team stinks, everyone should be tradeable.

I wouldn't want anyone from the Yankees other than A-Rod even up, and if I were Hendry the conversation with Minaya would start 'So you're offering Wright or Reyes or both of them?', but yeah see if someone throws a Sizemore and Sowers or Baldelli and Kazmir offer at you. There's not harm in seeing what's available, if you can keep it quiet.

Good column, Chad. To me, Game 6 is a blur of anger and resentment, emotions I relived while watching the HBO special this year. The audio they used was Hughes' call of the, uh, events, and I had never heard that before. Real anguish and shock in his words.

By the 3rd inning of Game 7, my wife had banished me to the basement. I was a little high-strung.

Great guest article. That really captured the feeling. I made that same dumb mistake and actually thought that we were in. Six or seven of us former Chicagoans were sitting at the bar and our jaws just dropped as the events unfolded. It was surreal. It was how they just lost it after the foul ball. I should have known better. I've been a fan since Don Kessinger's rookie year and had the weekend and night package for 10 years. I know better. Games 6 and 7? Just a blur. I don't remember much. I think I stayed home and watched it alone, falling asleep on the couch.

After the Cubs went up 3-1 I bought my plane ticket to Chicago--for what would have been Game 5 and the weekend that would follow. (I wanted to be Chicago when/if they won it.)

I knew after Game 6, that they were done. I remember saying, "Because this stupid Bartman ball sounds like one of those things that people will always talk about.."

I also remember saying after Game 5 of the NLCS, "If the Marlins can beat Prior and Wood in back-to-back games at Wrigley, then they deserve to go to the World Series." Oops.

All of my colleagues and students know I'm a Cubs fan, so the day after Game 7, I heard sympathy expressed by dozens of people as I walked around campus. It was brutal. I should have canceled classes.

I never used the plane ticket.

Bochy is the Giants manager. That was fast. Is Dusty going to San Diego??

According the SF Chronicle, Bud Black is the front runner for SD.

There's 4 openings (DC, TX,SD, Oakland)and Dusty is not rumored for any.

My sister, who is a casual Cub fan, called me during the sixth and said, "can you beilieve this is really going to happen?" I told her that I couldn't believe it and then said call me when the game is over. As the inning fell apart, I remember getting angry and then had a feeling as though someone had just kicked me in the gut. The phone never rang after the game. The next day at work my boss, a Cardinal fan but also a very good baseball fan, came into my classroom and asked if he should remove all sharp objects. I laughed a little, but said "No big deal. Wood will win tonight"

The Bartman play stands out because, I think, you could feel the "air" being taken out after that. Everything else seemed anti-climatic after that.

With five outs to go during Game 6 I had called my mom in Illinois and asked her to pick up a Chicago Tribune for me, because I knew the Cubs were going to win the pennant. Then it happened. And, yes, like most of you, I just felt we weren't gonna win Game 7. I made my peace with God before that final game.....

It is so interesting that several of the above comments involve a religious intervention or experience for the outcome of the NCLS in 2003.

IT just shows the depths that Cub nation personifies and which Chad brought out in the woeful rememberance.

That's why I think it is so unfair that teams such as the Marlins and Diamondbacks, with NO history, were able to achieve something that has eluded our beloved (and scorned)team for 100 years.

After moaning through the whole playoffs I finally bought into it in the 8th and then it all ended. I had been so cautiously optimistic that I wasn't shocked or anything, just mad.

1984 crushed me as a little kid so much. I had tears in my eyes watching that friggin HBO special. I hate HBO and the Padres. For me 84 was worse.

I remember being in a restaruant/sports bar in Omaha that night. It was packed.......PACKED!!!!! Even non-Cubs fans were there cheering, nay, screaming with the rest of us.

I recall the air of disappointment after Bartman's incident......but when Alour began stomping around, the air in the bar got sucked out of the bar in to everyone's lungs. It was hard to breathe. I think we were all thinking, "Dammit, Moises, don't tempt the goat. Back way slowly and shut the hell up."

It felt like death in the air.....

Nobody said, "Oh it will be okay", "Prior is on the mound,we'll be fine."

It was dead...not even the servers were moving, no noise coming out the kitchen.

Then, when A-Hole booted that ground ball at SS, and I swear this is true.....the Cubs fans I knew said not a word.....they simply put their heads down, paid their tabs, and walked in to the darkness of the night before the game was even completed.

Surreal, was like Kennedy had been shot and we all saw it on TV, live.

Chad...I changed my mind....I no longer feel man love for you. It's hate!!!


Remember when this was a place where people came to argue about the Talking Heads, and who has the coolest record collection? Good times...

careful IM Slacker, you're going to force Whipple to post clever LCD lyrics yet again

More Daisuke rumors...

Chicago Tribune, Oct. 26

Daisuke Matsuzaka, the 26-year-old right-hander represented by agent Scott Boras, may not be their first choice, sources said. The Cubs will make a blind bid just for the rights to sign Matsuzaka, but they apparently are more intrigued by free agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda of Hiroshima. The 31-year-old Kuroda could be targeted as a No. 3 or 4 pitcher in the Cubs rotation, after going 13-6 in 26 games last year. He's 91-81 lifetime in Japan with a 3.70 ERA.

Full Story

This Daisuke guy makes me nervous because he's going to make a ton of money, mostly based on mystique and gaudy numbers in the Jap leagues. Problem is, everyone pretends he's ace-material, but we have no idea if he's an ace in the MLB. He could very well be a #3 or #4 pitcher in the US.

Hobart Mike:
Bochy is the Giants manager. That was fast. Is Dusty going to San Diego??

Dusty's going home.

The Bartman play stands out because, I think, you could feel the "air" being taken out after that. Everything else seemed anti-climatic after that.

Well... I remember kissing the TV in game 7 when Wood hit the homer to tie the game. *sigh*

Yeah I jumped out of my sofa and yelled 'BOOM!' when Wood hit that home run, then did a couple of laps around the living room yelling 'That's what I am talking about, mutha f&^*#!'

I do clearly remember leaving my brother's house after game 4 thinking, 'well that's it, we're going to the world series'. I don't think I gave up hope until the last out.

I will not make fun of anything stupid anyone on this board says for a week.

"Hendry gives Kerry Wood a $32 million dollar contract to someone who had Tommy John surgery in 1999, an oblique strain in 2000, was on the DL for months in 2001, and had a triceps injury in 2004. "

What a mental midget!


'Twas the night before Game Seven, when all through Cubs Nation.
Not a creature was stirring, even at the bus station.

The Old Styles were stacked on the end table with care, in hopes that St. Dusty would lead us to Where?

Why the World Series he said with a twinkle,
If we had known on his toothpick we all would have tinkled.

The die-hards were snuggled in their easy chairs, while visions of dead goats floated in the air.

And momma in her Victoria's Secret black nighty with snaps and see through shit, was trying to divert my attention with her half bared T* didn't work by the way.

When out in left field there arose such a clatter, that Cubs Nation stood in stunned silence to see what was the matter.

I sprang from the recliner in utter despair, to punch out Bald Bartman with my fists, in the air.

When what to my tearing eyes should appear, but Moises Alou having a fit....and I spilled my 10th beer.

But a miniature old lawn gnome soon took the field, oh wait...Nefi was still on the bench (couldn't come up with a rhyme).

I knew in a moment that the elf was still sitting, and I cried whien A-Hole booted the ball...and I felt like quitting.

More rapid than Paris Hilton the Cubs did go down, while St. Dusty sat on the bench, with a frown ( and a f*&king toothpick).

He should have whistled and cajoled and encouraged, but no....Prior fell apart like grass in the snow.

To the top of the roof peak to jump I ventured, and then, I backed off cuz Woody was pitching again.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, I came off of the roof with a tear in my eye.

I knew that the goat was somehow alive, yet through his heart a stake Dusty couldn't drive.

My season was over, and so was yours,
I switched off of Old Style and now I drink Coors.

Dammit Chad.......I really hate you!!!! I SUCK at rhymes and such.


And E-Man, I don't think Rob is a season ticket holder.

I do not, I live in LA.

Re: #65 about Hiroki Kuroda:

that sounds just about right, just pass on the potential franchise player and go for the aging guy who had one exceptional season last year. Good to see nothing has changed in Cubville....

F**** bastards....

btw here's Matsukzaka's stats

ERA under 3 in 5 of his 7 seasons and he's 26

Kuroda ERA under 3 once in 10 seasons and he'll be 32 to start next year

F U CUBS!!!!

(yes I'm getting riled up about something that hasn't even happened, but it's so freakin' typical of Tribco.)


You know how I keep saying the Cubs play a shell game with their fans? That article is right along those lines.

The Cubs say they are going after Matsuzka but they aren't really serious. They never were, but it makes it look like they are if it gets floated in the papers.

But at the same time they are lowering expectations and trying to pass off Hiroki Kuroda as a viable option. Why is that? Because he is cheaper. He is also less talented. Why get the best when you can get the second and third tier guys? Does that sound familiar? It should, because that is just business as usual in Cub land.

Why go after Matsuzka to potentially be your staff ace when you can get a nice #3-4 (at best) guy in your rotation. We already got plenty of 3-4 candidates for much cheaper on this team already.

Just remember the Cubs will distract you with the ray of hope in one hand, just so they can disguise the lump of shit in the other hand. All they are doing is greasing the wheels for the tired old line of, "Hey Cubs fans, we tried to get the best, but gosh darn it he wanted too much money. Hey we tried, and thats all that counts."

Damn doesn't suck that the best always want to be paid like the best? Thank god the Cubs never get stuck in those silly traps of paying for the best.

The way I read that blurb, the Cubs plan on going after both Matsuzaka AND Kuroda, but they just view Kuroda as the more realistic option. I don't think that's unreasonable; the posting system makes Matsuzaka a crap shoot and I'd rather not see Hendry put all of his eggs in that basket.

"Hiroki Kuroda "

Japanese for Glendon Rusch.

You hit right on the head MikeC. They act like used car salesman.

"Sure everyone wants the BMW, but let me show you this Kia with just under 75,000 miles on it."

Kuroda is far from trash. The guy has a 3.18 ERA over the last six years and he's thrown 54 complete games during that time. Hell, his nickname is "Mr. Complete Game." Glendon Rusch he ain't.

I bet if the Cubs had a NASCAR car they would try and use a Geo Metro.

First PR article.... "We may not be as fast as the other cars, but we get better gas mileage!"

I hope you're right Vorare, but 25+ years of Tribco avoiding top free agents makes me think it's business as usual over there. God forbid we overpay for real talent.

Anyone care to guess what the hell is going on at Tribco right now?

There taking bids on the company, but there very, very unlikely to sell the whole thing to one company and there acting like the Cubs are there bread and butter all of a sudden, handing out a big deal to Piniella and the possibility of raising payroll by 20%.
It's a bit odd to me.

It's also worth noting that he made less than US$2 million last year, so he wouldn't break the bank.

As much as I'd love to see Matsuzaka as a Cub, he scares the crap out of me. Between his posting fee and the contract Boras is likely to demand, his end cost may end up being in the $20/million per year range. At that kind of price, he has to be absolutely DOMINANT to be even vaguely worth the money.

If he craps out like some of the other Japanese players have or if his shoulder goes bust, the team could be crippled for years.

If Hendry only goes after one guy and then gets outbid he is a bad GM because he didn't have a back up plan. If he says that he is looking at more than one guy then he is a bad GM because he isn't going after the "big name" FA. I am glad i don't have to live up to the expectations that people on this board have.

My blame lies on the Tribco, not Hendry. Getting Matsuzaka is completely up to the Trib okaying the posting fee.

Thanks for explaining perfectly why some of us call Hendry "Teflon Jim".


The words need no further clarifier for Cubs fans. In a single game I witness the apex and nadir of the Cubs in my lifetime (to date).

I live in Michigan and have been a Cubs fan since the 1960s. I grew up running home after school to turn on a black and white TV to watch the baseball game.

When I went to Wrigley Field for the first time with my dad I waled in behind home plate and could not comprehend the colors. Green so intense it hurt your eyes to look at it.


No need to go any further than to say the Cubs had an 8-1/2 game lead on August 13 and as a kid, I believed that they would win the division and then the National League Championship and then the World Series. That same day, August 13, my mother died.

Öand the Cubs began their descent into darkness taking me along with thousands of other fans The only thing at that point that could hold my world together was slowly dieing too.

I remember with tears in his eyes Ray Raynor erasing the Eastern Division standings on his chalkboard and congratulating the Mets during his TV program the morning after they clinched the division.

Öand yet I remained a Cubs fan.

I spent a frigid Opening Day in 1971 watching the Cubs and the Cardinals. And I kept coming back for more.

I drifted away from the Cubs a bit during my college years, but kept an eye on the standings. Nothing much to write home about and all of my favorite players are getting traded or released. "Back up the truck" indeed Mr. Wrigley.

Baby blue road uniforms? Say it ain't so!

After meeting and then marrying my wife in the early 1980s, she began her conversion as a Cubs fan. She understood it was better to surrender to the force than to fight it.


She fell in love with Ryno and I was going crazy. Could the Tigers and Cubs actually meet in the World Series?

I was going to wear a double-brimmed Cubs/Tigers hat and switch it front to back every half inning. The Tigers kept up their end of the bargain.

After game 2 of the NLCS, my wife said ìItís really going to happen. The Cubs are going to the World Series.î I nearly divorced her on the spot. She learned, as all Cubs fans do: the hard way.

Yet, as the years went on, she subscribed to Vine Line and began to be more rabid about the Cubs than even I was. We drove in from Michigan and I took her to Wrigley Field for her first Cubs game in 1985. The Cubs lost.

But we kept coming back. Not every year, but as often as we could. And the Cubs lost every single game I took her to.

There were good years- 1989. 1998. Different years. Same end results.

Five, then ten games at Wrigley , Sheís sitting at 0-10. ìIím not going to get a ìWî flag until I see them win at Wrigleyî she says. So we wait...and wait some more.

2003. We come to two games, including Mark Priorís 16 strikeout performance. The Cubs lose both. Sheís now at 0-12.

Tickets go on sale for the playoffs and on a lark, I call. After 30 minutes, I get through to an operator and she says there are still tickets available for the second game of the NLCS. ìIíll take the whole familyî, I think. Just as she tries to secure 4 tickets together, the last are sold.

ìWe have plenty of tickets for the third home game (of the NLCS)î, she says. Game 6.

I purchase 4 tickets in the second row of the upper deck between home plate and third base. ìIf the playoffs go six games, this will fall on a Tuesdayî, I think to myself. No problem. Weíll take two days off from work and Iíll take the kids out of school. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I briefly think about my wife's record watching games at Wrigley. The heck with it.

The Cubs beat Atlanta. Champaign!

The Fish? Are you kidding me? Bring them on!

The Cubs go up three games to one on the Marlins. Game 5. I want the Cubs to clinch it Sunday- even if it means we donít get to see them clinch at Wrigley. The Cubs lose.

Secretly, I feel great because itís destiny. All my years of suffering as a Cubs fan are about to be rewarded. I really believe that we will see them win it Tuesday. I cannot give any rational reason why I felt this, but I wanted to see the middle set of Eamus Catuli numbers get changed to ì00î while I was sitting in Wrigley.

Convinced that we will indeed ìsee historyî, our family drives in from Michigan Tuesday morning. I say to my wife that after all the losses sheís seen over the years, her first win in person will be historic. It will get the Cubs into the WS.

We check into the hotel. We eat at Harry Careyís. We sign a huge ìget wellî card for Ron Santo. All the stars are in alignment.

We take the Red Line to the ballpark and pick up our tickets from Will Call. My hands are shaking. Four tickets to paradise. GoldÖand at face value. Hold on tight. We wait for the gates to open behind home plate directly standing next to a goat. Uh, oh.

Inside the ballpark, itís like a dream for a Cubs fan. The ivy is turning rust and orange. How many people have seen this scene in October?

We head up to the upper deck. The sun is setting over western Chicago and itís a beautiful evening. Red sky at night- if itís good for a sailor, itís a good omen for the Cubs too.

I find that my seat one row behind my seat from Opening Day in 1971. Fergie Jenkins vs. Bob Gibson then. The Cubs win in 10 innings in less than two hours. Another good sign.

My seat is also next to a former Wrigley Field groundskeeper. Yet another good sign! We swap stories and take it all in.

People are upbeat. There is optimism like I have not witnessed in the ballpark before. I refuse to drink anything- beer or otherwise. I am not missing a single pitch waiting in a bathroom lineÖthereís a scorecard to keep and history to see!

As the game progresses, I notice that the air begins to get sucked out of everyone there. Itís like people are slowly drawing in their breath deeper and deeper after each half inning. My new seatmate and I talk about ìcounting down outsî. Both of us are superstitious and refuse to openly ìsayî how many outs are left until we get into single digits- and even then, we only hold up our fingers and nod to each other.

1-0 Cubs. The innings click by. After 4-1/2 innings with the Cubs leading we say to each other ìGood, itís an official game now!î

Then itís 2-0 after six.

7th inning. Prior gets three outs, but all are fly ball putouts- one to each of the outfielders- 7, 8 and 9. I comment to the groundskeeper and my wife that this isnít a good thing for a ground ball/strikeout pitcher. Somethingís up.

I donít catch the furor over Bernie Macís ìChampsî comment during the 7th inning stretch. Good thing I didnít.

The Cubs score another run in the bottom of the 7th and itís 3-0 Cubs.

I think there is nothing so fragile as a three run lead, but yet I really begin to BELIEVE that the Cubs will finally win- not just say it, not just hope it, but BELIEVE it. Itís amazing to me to read here that others began to feel this at the same time. Cubs karma.

After the first out of the 8th inning, both the groundskeeper and I turn to each other and for the first time all night, we SAY ìfive to goî.

Then everything starts moving in slow motion.

A single. A flyball towards the wall. Alou slapping his glove. Wild pitch on ball 4. A ground ball to A-Gon, thereís one and maybe two- OH NO!

If you have never heard a stadium full of people collectively gasp, itís a sound I never want to hear again.

Then the hits start falling and people sink lower and lower in their seats and psyche.

3-2. Tied. More runsÖmore runs. Oh god.

8. A damn 8! It might as well have been 80 or 800.

The yellow ì8î finally turns white.

Maybe we can come back. We still have the bottom of the 8th and the 9th if we need it. IF WE NEED IT? Are you kidding me? It was like sitting in a tomb.

The slow motion was over. Now everything was moving at light speed. Not enough time. Not enough outs left. What, the gameís over? The gameís over?

The gameís over.

My wife and daughter were sobbing. I was stunned. Like the other 40,000 people there- outside of those in the Marlinsí dugout.

Itís over. Wormer dropped the Big One.

Looking into the eyes of everyone around us, we all knew it was over- not just the game, but the series. Game 7 was a formality. No way the Cubs win it.

How can you be so pessimistic? Iím a Cubs fan. A pessimist is an optimist with experience. A Cubs fan is a pessimist with even more experience.

My wifeís record stood at 0-13. A ìluckyî 0-13. She had not seen the Cubs win a game in person in nearly 20 years of being a Cubs fan.

We filed out of the park silently, stood in line waiting for the EL and went back to the hotel.

Three years later none of us have gotten over it. We never will.

But, there is a silver lining. My wife FINALLY got her ìWî flag last April. We were at Opening Day this year when Maddux threw his gem in the meat locker that day called Wrigley Field.

She cried. I cried. My kids cried.

Öand we came back for moreÖ

Her record at Wrigley now stands at 2-16.

Weíre coming to our first Cubs Convention next January. She wants Opening Day tickets again in 2007.

Damn! Sheís a keeper. ;)

Matsuzka is no bigger risk than signing Schmidt, Soriano, Lee, or Zito.

Either one could get injured/regress and be worthless. If your gonna take that attitude then you will never sign anyone, because something bad "could" happen.

As for Kuroda 91-81 record, 3.70 ERA, 67 CG's, 31 years old

Matsuzka 108-60 record, 2.95 ERA, 72 CG's, 26 years old.

Just a little scouting report on Matsuzaka...

"When we scout, we rank them from two to eight. Five means average, six is above average, seven is good, eight is excellent. "Matsuzaka is a 'six' on everything. He is above average. He doesn't have the fastball of Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens -- which were 'eights.' "There are some 'eight fastballs' in Japan, but Matsuzaka doesn't have one. "He has an above-average fastball with some movement on it. I think he is good enough that he doesn't have to put the wear and tear on his arm that he does by throwing so many different pitches." "The pitches that he has command of are the slider, forkball, changeup, the four-seam fastball -- which is a riding-type fastball with increasing velocity, the two-seam fastball -- which has some sink. All of those pitches are above average.

That is what makes Matsuzaka better than everyone else. Command of 5 different pitches.

Does the fact that these guys have so many CG's scare anyone else?

We are not getting Matsuzaka, so talking about him seriously becoming a Cubs is rather pointless, but the poor mans older version Kuroda is a perfect signing for Hendry. Barely above .500, heading into the late part of his prime and will still get paid #2 money. Go Hendry!!!

fwiw, Gammo claims there are a few teams who are bailing out on posting an offer on Matsuzaka due to concern over new info being posted on his high pitch counts amassed in Japan...and that this season he wasn't as sharp as the previous few.

He also has Bud Black getting the Padres gig.

Chad your article is good work, stands quite well on its own. Consider that it probably inspired Zeke's post above, and now it works on more than one level. Nice work Chad and Zeke.


He's a bigger risk than a guy like Schmidt because the immense posting fee has to be applied to the budget one way or another. It would either come out of the '07 payroll (in which case you can kiss '07 goodbye), be budgeted out over the length of his contract (hello $20m/year effective salary), or taken out of the development budget (bye-bye scouting for the next few years). Any way you look at it, it's a huge investment and therefore a huge risk.

And frankly, that scouting report doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. The Japanese leagues tend to be softer than the MLB, so if his stuff is "above average" across the board in the Japanese leagues there's a chance it becomes "average" across the board in the MLB. If you're paying Roger Clemens money for a guy, he better pitch like Roger Clemens.

"and will still get paid #2 money. " - Manny

Uh, no. The guy made a smidge under $1 million in '05 and around $1.7 million in '06. If he signs in the US, it isn't going to be for a huge amount than that.

From MikeC #84

That is what makes Matsuzaka better than everyone else. Command of 5 different pitches.


Smartass reply #1: Which is command of at least 4 more pitches than anybody on the current Cubs staff.

Smartass reply #2: Rothschild will cure him of that.

Uh, no. The guy made a smidge under $1 million in '05 and around $1.7 million in '06. If he signs in the US, it isn't going to be for a huge amount than that.

I agree. A couple weeks ago I guessed at around $8 mil, which I thought was on the high side, but pitchers now days are going for a lot of money.

well you have to give him a good reason to come to the US and isn't going to be for the pizza. He gets at least $5 mil a year, I'd guess more like $6-7 range.

+ whatever the posting fee is.

no posting fee on Kurado I believe, he's a FA this year.


Fyi you guys - Kuroda was named to the Japanese WBC 29-man squad. So I would think it is an honor of sorts (the Japanese are all about honor...)The team that won the whole thing, and was impeccably coached in fundamentals.
Yeah we can say, "Our guys weren't ready", but the fact is, like Hoops, the Asian and LAtin countries have caught up.

Zeke: Beautiful, sad memories.

I just read Chad's article, which typifies how I feel when I think about that Game. My eyes welled up just now thinking about it, and it makes me angry to know that every year, 25 complete strangers can have that sort of an impact on my life. The other night, I caught the HBO special for the first time (after promising to myself that I would never watch it, for fear of some sort of emotional explosion, ultimately ending with me shaking in a corner). It started at 11, and ended at midnight. I didn't sleep a wink. I couldn't. I was in my sophomore year at college during the '03 NLCS. I remember everything leading into game 6. The hope, the of my dreams of the Cubs doing SOMETHING while it still mattered too much to me was going to happen. Of course, it didn't. I cried. I called my dad, he consoled me. Hell, even my asshole-White Sox friends tried to cheer me up. It didn't work. My GPA that semester was the lowest it would be in my four years at U of I. I couldn't go on. I've always thought that after a certain point, professional sports would stop meaning so much to me. Things will soon take presedence (job, family, wife, kids), and the Chicago Cubs will just be a baseball team instead of a livelihood. And it's already happening. Reality is setting in, and it feels like a window is closing. I'm becoming too busy to check the Cub Reporter 4 times a day and look up minor-league stats. 2003 was a dream that turned into a nightmare. Winning the World Series would still get me going...I know I'd cry. But there's no way it will be the same as it would have been then. I don't even think anyone on here will read this and even get anything out of it. But I just had to say it somehow. I'll keep hoping for a World Series, but for right now, I'm trying to channel some passion into the Bears and Bulls. I hope everyone has a great offseason, and I'll be back in the spring.

He's a bigger risk than a guy like Schmidt because the immense posting fee has to be applied to the budget one way or another. It would either come out of the '07 payroll (in which case you can kiss '07 goodbye), be budgeted out over the length of his contract (hello $20m/year effective salary), or taken out of the development budget (bye-bye scouting for the next few years). Any way you look at it, it's a huge investment and therefore a huge risk.

And frankly, that scouting report doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. The Japanese leagues tend to be softer than the MLB, so if his stuff is "above average" across the board in the Japanese leagues there's a chance it becomes "average" across the board in the MLB. If you're paying Roger Clemens money for a guy, he better pitch like Roger Clemens.

It is a scouting report from a major league scout. Not a Japanese scout. I know your trying to find any excuse to knock the guy but come on now.

It's rare to find a major league pitcher who has command of 1-2 pitches muchless 5.

The posting fee is meaningless in getting Matsuzaka. Whoever signs him will instantly be getting a marketing icon in Japan that will be worth 10's of millions of dollars.

If you don't understand that part, then you don't understand which player is a bigger risk financially. And it isn't Matsuzaka, not by a long shot.

"Yeah we can say, "Our guys weren't ready", but the fact is, like Hoops, the Asian and LAtin countries have caught up."

I'd say our guys didn't take the World Baseball Classic seriously enough, scouting and preperation wise. Also, which Asian countries are good at basketball, which Latin countries, other than Spain?

"It's rare to find a major league pitcher who has command of 1-2 pitches muchless 5."

That is incorrect. Almost all major league pitchers have command of two pitches and most starters three.

"The posting fee is meaningless in getting Matsuzaka. Whoever signs him will instantly be getting a marketing icon in Japan that will be worth 10's of millions of dollars. "

If that is the case, why not post $30 million for him, why not $40 million? If he can't cut it in MLB then he's not going to be worth much marketing wise. If he wins Cy Young awards, yeah you're going to sell a lot of jerseys, but that's a 'big if'.

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