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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  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 33 min 5 sec ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 41 min 48 sec ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 31 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 37 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 2 hours 6 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 3 hours 53 sec ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 3 hours 3 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 3 hours 52 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 6 hours 40 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 7 hours 53 min ago view
  • Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?

    He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.

    My guess? Toronto.

    tim815 8 hours 17 min ago view
  • PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

    The E-Man 8 hours 22 min ago view
  • Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

    azbobbop 12 hours 22 min ago view
  • Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.

    Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.

    The E-Man 13 hours 9 min ago view
  • Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.

    While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.

    billybucks 13 hours 43 min ago view