Cub Fans, Go Have A Martini

Well after this last week of 2009 Cubs baseball, a week that included a double-header sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field the day after the Cubs were eliminated from even sniffing the playoffs, there's really only one thing to do.
Go have a giant martini.

Go out for it, to someplace worthy.
Don't have it on the rocks.
Don't have it silly.
"Apple", "Cran", "Dirty"...none of these modifiers should be used when ordering the martini I'm talking about.
Never order off a "martini" menu.
You can order "vodka shaken with ice and served up in a martini glass", but that's all it is and that's how you should order it.
A martini is made with gin.
My favorite is the original Bombay in the clear bottle with that weird woman on the label.
If you like, you can add dry vermouth, and maybe a twist (which would be lemon), or an olive.
But that's where it stops.
There should be no toying, at all, with this drink.
Only respect.
One time I was lucky enough to have one at the bar in the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.
The bar, the paneling, the tables, everything, I was told, was made from a single giant redwood tree (of course that would have been a looong time ago when such a thing wasn't so politically incorrect).
You don't want to be a dope in here.
The bartender was very distinguished and older - a man of the world.
I asked for a Bombay up with an olive.
He shook it with dignity and reserved panache, he poured it in the properly chilled glass, he set it down in front of me and turned his back.
When he turned around, he put another napkin on the bar.
Then he put the an olive on the napkin.
Now, I set myself up earlier in this post - you already know I'm the dope.
I said, "Hey, what's with the olive on the napkin?"
He crinkled his eyes.
"The oil from the olive. Kind of spoils the whole thing, doesn't it."
Now, you might take that as a put-down.
I took it seriously.
I have ever since.
And you should, too.
A toast to the 2009 Cubs season.
And then lets be done with it.

This illustration is a watercolor done from a "live" subject which was consumed after a re-shaking.



hmmm....what's Dusty's toothpick doing in my martini?

What's Lou's nuts doing in my martini?

I always have trouble finding the "Nina"s in these things.


F'ing girlie drinks. No thanks.

Give me a Whiskey Sour.

That was a joke btw, though the Whiskey Sour is my preferred cocktail.

I'm kind of stoked about the Tigers/Twins game. I have some extended family that are Tigers fans, so I'll be rooting for them. It will be a tough assignment in the Metrodome as that gives the Twins an automatic advantage against most teams.

If Scott Baker is "on" he's pretty damn tough and has a nice snappy fastball. He's young, though, so it will be interesting to see if the nerves rattle him. On the Tiger's side it will be all about their streaky offense and if they can put together some runs.

Hope MLB broadcasts the game on a "normal" channel and doesn't black it out for anyone in a 3000 mile radius of Minnesota.

The game will be on TBS.

Hoffman re-ups with the Beermakers, 1/$8.

Maybe he'll get old this winter.

I think one positive to come out of the final month of the season was the performances of Caridad and Berg out of the bullpen. Those guys will obviously compete for spots next year, but even if they have poor spring trainings and don't make the squad, their solid work in September may have convinced both Lou and Hendry to cut bait on Heilmann and Gregg before spring begins in Arizona anyways. That will save some cash and I can't imagine that either Berg or Caridad would have the gopher ball tendencies of that duo.

Although I'm not enamored of Grabow, I imagine he'll be signed to a two or three year deal. If that's the case, I could see an effective, cheap bullpen forming next year composed of:

LHP Grabow
LHP Gaub
LHP Marshall
RHP Marmol
RHP Guzman
RHP Caridad
RHP Berg

There are also some interesting relief prospects on the horizon like Huseby. Obviously a lot depends on the offseason and how spring training shapes up, but I don't see any reason for Hendry to blow cash like he's prone to do on mediocre bullpen arms this winter.

I think this is the first year that I have not felt even a little bit depressed that there won't be any more Cubs games this season. I didn't even feel this apathetic at any point in the Dusty Baker era.

No more facepalm for me until April and I couldn't be happier.

The more Jim Hendry talks the worse he looks. He's quoted today as saying the Cubs are "not an old team."

Right, and Geovany Soto is not overweight. He's just "big boned."

This is a total deja vu event. Hendry has done this before.

I'd say the Cubs are old and getting older. If he brings everyone back next year the average age will be 30.0 years.

The oldest team in MLB this year is the Phillies at 30.8. The second oldest is the Dodgers at 29.6.

THIRTY IS OLD, JIM!! If you want to see how to build a good team around old players, look at the Phillies, Dodgers and Cardinals. If you want to see how not to do it, look at the Mets and yourself. But don't pretend you're not old. The Cubs are old.

It's even worse when you consider that several key players are well past thirty. In 2010, Ramirez will be 32, Lee 35, Soriano 34, and Fukudome 33. It is virtually certain that they will decline as a group, even without injury, and they all have injury histories. It is very likely that one or more will decline significantly. They could hold the line and play up to their career norms, but the chances are not good; decline after 28 is a well-documented pattern.

ARam and DLee are FAs after 2010, but we're probably stuck with Soriano and Fukudome. In the meantime, I'm going to hope for the best, but I'd sure like to see the Cubs hang on to Fox and Hoffpauir in the almost certain event that one or more of those guys go down or are ineffective for an extended period of time.

I strongly agree that the Martini must be respected, though I prefer a Sazerac myself. Rye whiskey, Peychaud's bitters, bar syrup, mixed with ice in a shaker and strained into a chilled rocks glass that has been seasoned with Herbsaint anise liqueur. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

we live in the era of drugs and high-paid workout regimens.

all these 1900s players and their health/decline barriers don't matter. 32-34 is the new 28...

use to be a range of 26-30, 'roids might have bumped it to 28-32 at least by one study I remember sure isn't 34 though.

33 for the longest time was age of dramatic fall-off, conveniently Soriano's age (also D. Lee's though).

Cubs are ancient though by baseball standards. Even the young guys (Hoff, Theriot, Fontenot) are about to hit 30.

Old pitchers don't bother me as much as old hitters, but Hendry would be wise to do a few more DeRosa-like trades and start getting younger.

crunch, love your posts all summer, admire your brave efforts to be rational about Bradley. But I don't think workouts and drugs can repeal the laws of nature:;jsession.... It's been a long day, just cut and paste, dudes.

As I said in my original post, I would love to see the Cubs' aging players defy the odds, but one has to look at the general probabilities, and those don't look good.

That article reinforces crunch's point.

Succinctly, you can't take any trend, or in this case a grab bag of anecdotal evidence and apply it to two or three guys and come out with an accurate forecast.

In 2010, Ramirez will be 32, Lee 35, Soriano 34, and Fukudome 33. It is virtually certain that they will decline as a group, even without injury

I've noticed the Cubs crowd and TCR especially prefer young players over veterans. That's respectable and I don't want to start a big fight over it, but personally I don't mind a veteran team. A Ram, D Lee, they aren't done. That's a silly notion, imo.

some other studies, fwiw...

also, don't think that James/Posnanski article was a study, although I believe James did one before, those SI articles are just the two of them trading emails and Posnanski edits it into an article...

considering HR numbers seem to be getting back to "normal", I think we'll see more traditional aging patterns again...of course, players break those all the time, like Derrek Lee did this season.

But I'd start looking to try and get 28 and younger sooner than later if I were Hendry....injuries, Soriano like drop-offs, etc are going to become pretty common with this current bunch....

The Cubs are built to win in a narrow window. From my perspective we are heading into year #4 of rying to win a World Championship in a 5 year window.

If we don't get it accomplished in the next 2 years, then the roster is probably beyond the point it will bring you a championship.

That means fire sale, a real fire sale of talent that the Cubs havent done since i have been a fan. No band-aids, no half ass fixes.

what fire sale? most everyone's contracts are up after 2010 or 2011.

I kind of just assumed "fire sale" = "how do you get rid of Soriano when the time comes"?

you've confused fire sale with donation drive....

Can't we just set Soriano on fire? Actually, I'm holding out some hope (not a lot, but some) that he comes back healthy next year and rebounds.

Next year if Soriano, and Soto do not return to form, and the starting pitching is not as good as it was this year...the window is closed.

Any idea how much Heilman is going to make? Will he be with the Cubs in February?

every team but the cubs has 4+ high-end sluggers...the poor cubs only have 3 (soriano, dlee, aram)'s just not fair for a big market team to work without something everyone else has.

sure, riot and fuku get on base well up top and fuku even hits a slew of doubles with 10-15 homers, but so what...every other team has that, too.

and what is up with only having Z, dumpster, lilly, and wells? every other team has 5 kickass starters. laaaaaaame.

it's about time the cubs gave their manager something worth managing besides this trash.

this entire organization is worse than hitler, i mean milton bradley (who hit .010 with 0 homers, and 250Ks in 2/3rd of a season's worth of play when he wasn't making everyone else on the team suck via osmosis).

{Angry response.}

140 million don't buy what it used to.


[Out-of-context quote]


Just finished my 2009 Cub cocktail. A Partida reposado on the rocks with a touch of lime juice. Not that over-sweet Rose's stuff. But actual juice squeezed from the lime. In fact, with the bottle and lime still out, seems crazy not to have another.

Also, the Cubs are apparently offering Jason Schmidt 3/44.

...Love you.

I should have known it was already posted.

Have a safe and productive off season.

Recent comments

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  • I should be able to watch the game on the NFL replay app, whatever that thing is called. I've got it on my iPad. This is the first year I haven't forced myself to somehow watch every game - no I take that back, last year was - in quite some time. Last year was so unbearable, no pun intended.

    You make some good points about Cutler, and I was a holdout defender of Cutler for a long time. I gave up on him a bit after one too many dumb interceptions, but last year doesn't count. Trestman was the worst coach in Bears history.

  • Nice little reportage there!. I think you're older than me. Considerably older. Maybe several generations. Working out is so essential, especially as age kicks in, isn't it? I still lift weights, and so I'm confident that when I get to be at the hip breaking age, mine won't be a statistic. But I have a ways to go for that to be a concern.

  • What was impressive to me is that the Cubs won despite poor base running, several defensive miscues, Russell leaving due to injury, Arrieta having an off game and getting knocked out early, and Rondon giving up 2 runs in the 9th. If they can win a game like that... 

  • I was there too. The crowd was absolutely electric. People were standing for every big and semi-big moment, from the first inning on. It felt incredibly strange and exhilarating to see the Cubs (the Chicago bleepin' Cubs!) score playoff insurance runs on the Cardinals. What a game. One to remember.

  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.

  • Wrigley was electric tonite
    Not many card fans
    Video board was great, they played "there goes my hero" by foos over ryno highlights before he came out. Spectacular

    Good times hopefully they win tomorrow but think Lester will beat poopy pants on Wednesday.

    Happy 4th anniversary of Theo's signing

    Go Cubs !

  • Yeah. "Goodbye!" is a lame HR call.

    I miss Len and JD -- although, driving home from a friend's, WBBM played all 6 HR calls in a row -- and Len got to call the Bryant/Rizzo back-to-back. Very fun.

  • Lackey has been a beast against us. His stats on 3 days rest, however, not as nice. There is plenty of hope.

  • And, no dreadlocks grown yet.

  • Captain Obvious Strikes Again!!!

  • Amen, brother.

  • In the wild card game he mentioned that aram started with the Pirates, then played for the Brewers, and now he's back with the Pirates. Uhhhh, missed a step there, guy.

  • i like ron darling the person, the interview, and the studio desk guy...but him calling a game can lead to some really stupid stuff coming out of his mouth.

  • If you think these announcers are bad ,the ones doing the Mets vs Dodgers (Ron Darling ,Cal Ripken and someone else)
    are worse they did the wildcard game I never knew Joe Jackson and Derrick Fowler played for the Cubs this year you
    would think there would be research by them.

  • daaaaaayam.