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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  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.