Archive - Jan 2006

Date

January 4th

Well thanks to everyone who responded to my call for action last week. Not only did you make us the top Cubs blog, but you voted us the top MLB blog out there. I'm not going to put a lot of merit into the award, considering the list of entrants didn't include some of the better MLB blogs out there, the most glaring admission being Athletics Nation. But a win is a win and apparently this victory earned us a year subscription to baseball prospectus.com so we can fill your heads with an array of abbreviations that Einstein would have trouble comprehending. Thanks for the support and congratulations to you guys as well. The victory says as much about our readers as it does us writers. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the comments section and those who contribute, is as much a part of TCR's success (if not more) then the daily ravings of a few crazed Cubs fans scattered around the globe. Congrats once again and looking forward to another fun year in 2006!!! And feel free to use this as open thread to discuss whatever is on your mind regarding our boys in blue.

January 3rd

The Cubs made a few minor league signings official today. Marquis Grissom, Augie Ojeda and Mike Restovich will all get a chance to show off their veteran savvy and catch the eye of the Cubs coaching staff come March. Grissom's old, once upon a time could hit lefites and has a good chance to become next year's Neifi Perez, a vet that Baker has an unhealthy affection towards. Ojeda comes back to the Cubs organization after a brief stop in Minnesota where he actually managed a .339/.429/.458 line in 59 AB's. If you're looking for an example of the dangers of "small sample size", you needn't look any further. He did once make an amazing diving stop to help preserve a Mark Prior complete game that I had the pleasure of attending. A game in which Sammy Sosa launced 2 homers off of Kevin Brown that I still don't believe have landed. Restovich is a corner outfielder that hits a lot like a middle infielder. He was a second round pick of the Twins in 1997 and once upon a time was pretty well touted. At 6-4, 250 you'd expect some power, which he did show at times in the minors, but his offensive game has been seriously lacking at the major league level. He played with the Pirates and Rockies last year. [Ruz:] Rob is too modest to point out that he mentioned the possibility of signing Grissom back in August. I see a glimmer of hope in the Grissom signing. When the Cubs signed Jacque Jones, one of the things I heard (and said) most often was that Jones is a player who should platoon but, because of the size of his contract and Dusty's proclivities, probably won't. With the Grissom signing (and the fact that it's a minor-league deal is merely a formality -- I'd say Grissom is just about a lock to make the team), what the Cubs now have is a suitable platoon partner for Jones that Dusty might actually play. Jones' splits over the last three seasons: Vs. RHP: 280/333/474 Vs. LHP: 238/295/363 And Grissom's: Vs. RHP: 267/299/396 Vs. LHP: 322/359/567 That's some decent pop against lefties. Grip is old, spent much of '05 injured, and will swing at just about anything, but given what we know (or think we know) about Dusty's managerial and lineup construction styles, this is about the best little deal Jim Hendry could have come up with.

January 1st

I grew up as a Cubs fan in the 1960ís. My first memories of the Cubs were from 1960, but I didnít go to my first game at Wrigley Field until 1961. I learned to read in the Fall of 1960, so 1961 was my first year for sports sections (and there were FOUR newspapers in Chicago back then), box scores, baseball cards, and batting averages. The 1961 Cubs will always be near and dear to my heart. The College of Coaches! Brilliant! A ìrotatingî Head Coach! Ingenuius! An Athletic Director? OK. Whatever you say, P. K. Unfortunately, the College of Coaches didnít help make the Cubs a better team. If anything, it made them worse. There were too many cooks in the kitchen, no strong leader, and if there was ever a team that was defined by its wallow, it was the Cubs of 1961-65. But then in 1967, the Cubs suddenly got good. This Grand Improvement all seemed to coincide with the arrival of Leo ìThe Lipî Durocher as the Cubs manager in 1966. Leo was a complete jag-off, but was also a man who would not tolerate failure or accept excuses for losing. You got a losing team? Leoís answer was simple. ìBack Up the Truck.î Leo also grasped the basic premise that the most important element of a winning team is spelled ìP-I-T-C-H-I-N-G,î and for Leo, that meant four stud horses in the starting rotation. As important as Leo Durocherís presence and personality might have been in turning around ìthe program,î the foundation for the success of the Cubs after Leo arrived was actually laid over the previous ten years or so, going back to when John Holland was appointed General Manager of the Cubs, on October 11, 1956...

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