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.
Tonight.
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.

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Comments

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.

hahaha

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.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4533333

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 reading...it 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: http://m.si.com/news/to/to/detail/1705021;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...

http://sabermetricresearch.blogspot.com/2009/04/jc...

http://www.tangotiger.net/archives/artAging.shtml

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

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)...it'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.

[Strawman]

[Out-of-context quote]

[Nonsequitur]

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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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 1 hour 28 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 1 hour 29 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 11 hours 10 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 14 hours 8 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 14 hours 20 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 14 hours 29 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 14 hours 35 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 14 hours 53 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 15 hours 29 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 15 hours 47 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 15 hours 48 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 16 hours 6 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 16 hours 14 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 17 hours 9 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 17 hours 27 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 17 hours 32 min ago view