One and Done

So how do you revenge fuck a baseball team?

You follow a baseball team for six months, 161 games, and just about every play of every inning and then they go and just tear your heart out. The one time you really needed them, the one thing you ever wanted out of this relationship and they can't even be bothered to show up. For six months they were the best girlfriend a guy could imagine - not only did you have that special spark with them, but they had all the fundamentals as well. They were the kind of girl that you needed more than she needed you, but still would bring you lasagna at work...just because it was a Wednesday.

And then it's the big weekend corporate retreat with your promotion on the line and she ends up forgetting to take her anti-depressants, sleeps with your boss, then the guy you were vying for the promotion with and you find this all out when you walk in on her taking on 3 guys from the sales team. On top of that, the only reason she brought you lasagna on Wednesdays was she was meeting up with your boss at a hotel room around the corner once a week.

Fuck the Cubs!

I feel like I should go root for the White Sox or Brewers now, just to show them. Or try and bang some of the player's wives, but I don't think the Angel Fan wife will approve of that one.

Observations from the ballpark after the jump...

- The Angel Fan Wife and I headed to the game and she broke out the T-shirt she made in June for the last Cubs/Dodgers game we went to,  since it ended in victory. The shirt has a Cubbie Bear logo on it and the words, "Let's face it, he's married to the Cubs and I'm just his mistress". They'll soon be widely available at TCR store. She also brought out the Angels cap to make sure we caught hell from everyone we passed.

- I mapped out a pretty solid route to the park to avoid the major conjested areas since not only was there the Dodger game, but also a USC home game and a concert downtown. I made it from Long Beach to parked in 40 minutes, 15 of them waiting in line for parking. I was surprised to see the lot full with about 25 minutes still to game time. I guess Dodger fans were taking this one seriously.

- We actually did end up around about half a dozen Cubs fans surrounded by a sea of Dodger fans of course. To say the least, they took every opportunity to heckle the Cubs fans, although they really hated the one guy wearing Yankees gear whenever he stood up to take a whiz. But the Dodgers fans right in front of us, who were the most vocal, were a pretty good-natured group and the heckling is a lot easier to handle when the jokes are pretty good. There was one unfortunate asshole who literally talked through the entire game while looking back at the group of Cubs fans looking for someone to engage him. I'm not sure he saw more than 10 pitches. He was equaled out by the obnoxious Cub fan filled up with liquid courage that decided to stand up and scream at the slightest Cub positive moment. I think he got hit by about 100 ice cubes and two cups of beer plus other assorted ballpark snacks throughout the night. And no, I was not that fan. This was me throughout the night.

- First pitch - Soriano swings. I'm ready to jump off the upper deck.

- Kuroda was popping 95-96 mph to start on the Dodgers stadium gun and I wondered where the hell that came from. Harden was hitting 88-91 and whenever he tried to put a little extra on it was nowhere near the strike zone. That's when I wrote "Game Over" in my notebook. Just kidding, I didn't have a notebook, nor do I hate Jews.

- I couldn't tell from my vantage point if Martin was safe on that play from third, but the Cub fan next to me got a text message on his cell that said the replays showed he was out. When things go bad, they go real bad for the Cubs, as we all have painfully learned.

- The Dodgers crowds usually get a bad rap and for the most part it is deserved. But last night's crowd was quite electric, and they even managed to get through a game without doing the wave. Heck, they even stayed for the 9th inning.

Not much else to say, I think I'm  probably gonna take a few days, maybe weeks off from this baseball thing. This one's a little too painful...

 

 

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Comments

Thanks for the recap -- you'll have something in your e-mail by Monday.

There's always a bright side: we're not Dawson Leery.

Fuck the Cubs!

Fucking A.

That quote fucking made my morning. Forever fucking grateful the fucking MVN move was made.

Sigh. Just when I had gotten over the last time and was ready to open up my heart and love again. What's the baseball equivalent of a hooker?

Fucking Cubs. Verily, fuck them.

Seriously debating giving up on the Cubs.

I mean best record in the league and lie there like lambs waiting for the kill.

They gave away two games and didn't perform in the other.

Nah, Jacos, we need you. See you around March?

First, where was Reed Johnson? Veteran presence, competitor, hits for average, does very well with RISP. If there was anyone I would not see choking it would have been him. And there is no loss in defense with him instead of Fukudome.

Second, the ONE game it made sense to start Fukudome was game 3 against Kuroda. He knows him better than anyone, and clearly looked more comfortable facing him. Why start games 1 and 2 and not 3? I don't get that one.

I think the Cubs are where the Red Sox were at a few years ago. They have a solid nucleus, were always in contention, but couldn't break though. Then, down 3-0 to the Yankees, the come back, win the World Series, have won another since, and are always in contention. The Cubs need their breakthrough to prove to themselves that they can win in the playoffs. I was holding out hope that last night would be the start of it, but it didn't happen.

And of course we all say that we are going to back off and take a season off, etc. but after 4 months of no baseball and - for those of us in the midwest - a balls-cold winter, I imagine we'll be back at it come late February like every other year.

At least when I turned on a game this year I had almost a 2 in 3 chance of seeing them win. That is something that has happened in very few seasons in my lifetime.

At this point though, I am fucking pissed, but not really surprised. This is afterall what they do best. I'll check out from baseball until free agency heats up, I can't even really get into the rest of the playoffs at this point.

Also, in a sign of Cubs-fan solidarity, I'm not going to report the results of my and Real Neal's bet re: Fukudome/Theriot in September. Both sucked so miserably in the playoffs that I think at this point their September performance is a moot point.

Great post, Rob G. Painful and hilarious. Sorry you had to be there in person.

I don't feel devastated, just tired and frustrated. '03 was a sucker punch in the chest. Compared to that year, this is just a boulder on the heart.

I don't want to give a shit about baseball for a while either, and I want to say "Fuck you, Cubs," but the bitch of it is I know that when the spring is on the horizon, I'll get worked up again.

I think it must be what a menstrual cycle is like, but 12 times longer.

Go Rays, I guess.

lol Brick!

At least I can still laugh, it turns out.

And thanks for the post, Rob. It probably wasn't easy to force yourself to write something (and something worth reading, at that).

You follow a baseball team for six months, 161 games, and just about every play of every inning and then they go and just tear your heart out.

All the effort and time one expends in following the club sure seems futile and foolish when this kind of thing happens, although at least I can say that I enjoyed myself thoroughly at the time.

But what really hurts now is thinking about all the great and small things that have to go right in order to have a great regular season, and wondering if all of those planets could ever align like that again. We all know what those things were this season; do you see them all happening again, or anything like them? It's hard to imagine right now.

As painful as watching the game at Lodger Stadium (where did they find all those fans?) must have been, it couldn't have been worse then listening to the re-animated corpse of Dick Stockton trying to call the game. TBS - Where formerly decent tennis announcers go to die.

...

So, the FA pickings are pretty slim. I would say our areas of need are:

RF
CF
Setup Men
Backup Catcher
Starter - if Dempster doesn't come back

Now that we stunk up the playoffs, it sort of sucks that Pie didn't get more chances in September. I think Hendry and Pinhead know not to try Edmonds again, but they're probably going to hope that Fukudome gets sorted (he looked pretty good last night, at least). The free agent market is pretty barren for anything other than left fielders, and with Fukudome's and Soriano's contracts on the books it's doubtful we'll throw money at one of the big bats (Ramirez, Dunn, Ibanez, Burrel, Abreu). There's no free agent CF's that give me confidence we'd have an improvement over Pie/Johnson.

Offering around a Cedeno/Marshall package for a center fielder seems like a good idea. KC seems to have their middle infield sorted out now, so OfJesus is probably out. There's some other scrap-heap guys that should be avaiable and cost less than those two, Tavares, And Jones, Jeremy Reed etc.

Wheeler is a free agent, and Hendry has a penchant for offering solid setup guys 3 year deals, so I could see him being a target, especially if Wood goes somewhere else. Mota and Juan Cruz could be other targets. From the left side there's not much either, assuming Marte's option gets picked up. Affeldt could be a guy the Cubs figure they could straighten out to replace Eyre's role in the grand bullpen scheme.

All-in-all it looks like Hendry's going to have a tough off-season if he wants to improve the club. Getting Hill going again will be huge.

I think you're right that Hendry will be looking to throw cash at free-agent relievers, but I wish he wouldn't go that route, or that he won't have to. AZ Phil will tell us if any farmhands can become reliable middle relief/setup men; I sure hope so, because it's not like the Remlinger/Veres/Howry/Eyre method has reaped much reward.

I have deep and genuine respect for Marshall, who only did everything the Cubs asked of him with noticeable success and without complaint. I hope he won't be traded, partly because I like what he brings to the Cubs, and partly because I wonder what kind of return he would bring on the trade market. I guess he is one of their more movable players, though.

On that play at third in the first inning, Ramirez doesn't know how to tag a guy sliding head first. The play ends up with Ramirez' glove on the guy's shoulder. What is the ump supposed to make of that snapshot? He knows the runner's hand must have touched the base a while before.

You're supposed to make a swipe tag and pick up your glove, so that the only question in the ump's mind is whether the throw beat him.

If you think you've seen that botched tag before, it was on September 11 in St. Louis, when Brandon Ryan, the tying run, led off the bottom of the 9th with a double. The next guy bunted and Lee threw late to third. Ryan overslid third and the replay showed that in trying to get back, he reached safely past Ramirez' shoulder tag.

The Cubs got the call in St. Louis, but last night they didn't and it cost them two runs.

Epic Fail

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
Oh, I of course replied
Something here inside cannot be denied

They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind
Oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed
To think they could doubt my love
Yet today my love has flown away
I am without my love

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I can not hide
Oh, so I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes
Smoke gets in your eyes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOBdQykKQY

It's not that I don't suffer, it's that I know the unimportance of suffering. I know that pain is to be fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of ones soul and as a permanent scar across ones view of existence.
-John Galt "Atlas Shrugged"

I'm as pissed as anyone about this latest playoff disaster, but at least I had something to cheer for this season. I went to my first Cubs playoff game ever (Game 1 - CF bleachers under an unwelcome rain of Dodger homers). This season felt a lot better than giving up on baseball by June. You can't win if if you're not even in it. Hendry needs to pull his shit together and start brainstorming for the offseason. Here's looking forward to a 2009 division title and many more to come. Someday we'll go all the way!

cubbie occurrence
another bad century
when's it gonna spill?

for some reason I forgot about it, but a hardy F U to Soto and/or Mike Quade not scoring from third on that chopper.

I thought Theriot's not going to third on the fly ball to right, then almost getting thrown out at third on a ball that bounced 6 feet from the catcher was the highlight stupid running sequence of the evening.

This is all a bad dream, right? I mean it's really only September 30th, I'm sure. The playoffs don't start until tomorrow, right?

Anyhow, since there are probably a few other women that read this blog, I'd like to provide the following comparison for us:
This regular season was like dating Mr. Darcy, only to find out yesterday that it was actually Mr. Collins (the bumbling idiot) or John Willoughby (the philandering liar) all along.

Last night I was at peace with everything ("There's always next year"), but this morning I am pissed again. How the fuck can this team only score 6 fucking runs!?!?!? THey had as many fucking ERRORS as Runs!!! (I am also glad that this blog is no longer at MVN... nothing is as cathartic as saying Fuck repeatedly.)

-Thanks for allowing me to vent.... (off to watch Pride and Prejudice with a bottle of red wine and pint of my other lovers: Ben and Jerry)

thanks for the providing perspective for the other half of the world :)

 

I always wondered what a woman felt. Chad is going to love this post.

Well the other perspective to all this pain is probably a little more realistic and mature:

Sometimes success is a lot more of a long term process than we might otherwise have it.

In the music business I have learned that talent is actually fairly easy to come by and that what is much more important is resilience and dedication.

In the case of the Cubs it is only recently that they have really entered the field of play as a perennial playoff presence. Hell this is the first back to back appearance since, what, 1945?

Hendry and company have done a good job in my opinion of building a winner, and in a pretty darn tough division (that also has more teams than any other division!!).

Passion and memory and irrational dreaming and history have trained us Cubs' fans to almost hope that we GET LUCKY and sneak a World Series victory on some sort of magical roller coaster ride.

But perhaps the Cubs' process will be more that of the Atlanta Braves . . . slowly learning how to run an organization so that it is in the playoffs on a yearly basis and then slowly learning how to win in the playoffs. It's not how I would have it, but it makes sense if you put aside all the history.

The bottom line as so many have said is that the Cubs were very poorly run for many many years.

Now they are dedicated to winning, akin to an Alcoholic who quits drinking and then expects everyone to react with approval and for things to suddenly go well . . . in that same way because the Cubs have gotten serious we expect immediate rewards. Well maybe it's a little harder than that.

So as completely mystified and heartbroken as I am -- I think if the Cubs keep hammering the strike zone with good teams we will get our WS victory in coming years. Boston went through exactly that process and it took the Braves many appearances but that run only yielded ONE WS victory.

Good thoughts here, jimmer. I would rather compare what the Cubs are doing to the Boston organization though: using huge amounts of money and the farm system to build a winning ball club. Not to mention the fact that the RedSox have won a whole lot more playoff games recently than the Braves have. Here's to a perennial playoff team that will eventually get over "The Hump".

I agree. All you can ask for is consistent regular season excellence and pray that postseason excellence will somehow follow. I'd rather be strung along like this and lose in the playoffs than go 66-96 like we did two years ago.

How can the Braves be smart enough to win 14 straight division titles and dumb enough to win the World Series only once? (And the 1995 edition of the Braves probably wasn't the best Braves team during their run.)

2014.

Soriano is signed THROUGH 2014 and has a full non-trade clause (not that anyone would take him).

Un-fucking-believable.

guys normally don't play out their contract like that. I doubt we see a limping 38 year old Soriano in 2014. 3 or 4 more years for sure but after that they will probably pay his salary to play somewhere else.

Good point, but I just have a hard time imagining anyone wanting him. Maybe he'll go in a future expansion draft. . . .

Hey, it's alright guys. We'll regroup and go get 'em tonight.

Right, guys? Right? [insert Van Der Beek here]

OK, I've now got scars for basically every area of my body from all of this failure - never thought it would last this long from the specter of '69, but there you go. I don't agree completely with the commenters mentioning the long - term building blocks for success, and then eventually you win a championship. Too many other teams of recent vintage (Marlins, Twins, etc.) just got lightning in a bottle and won the whole thing, and damn any blueprint for success. But that never happens for this franchise, just the reverse. We always fall flat on our faces, no matter the opponent or specific circumstances. Yesterday I heard a doofus host on the SCORE here ripping the fans for booing the team during game 2 - fuck you, Arkush, the fans can do and say any fucking thing they please, take your moral outrage and spend it where it might do some actual fucking good for once - ON THE TEAM.

Thank you for allowing me to vent - and you have my deepest sympathies for having to watch that atrocity last night, Rob. Lying down like dogs is the kindest thing one could say for this team.

The thing is I don't want lighting in a bottle. I'd rather have what the Red Sox have built: a perennial playoff team that has the capability to win it every year.

fuck

Balls!

BOBOS!!

Is it time to remove "All The Way"?

I'll be moving a bunch of stuff around prepping for the winter cold when I'm up to it.

I gave up and didn't even watch the game. Spent the night watching my Buckeyes ACTUALLY RESPOND TO ADVERSITY WITH A GORGEOUS DRIVE. There's room on the bandwagon if you're not already tied to Illinois/Wisconsin. I actually went as far to turn around whenever I saw the "NL" line come up on the ticker at the bottom.

Seriously. I can't believe how bad this team played. I'm 25...what I want to know from all you older guys, is this what it's like to be a Cubs fan? If so I might have to rethink this crap.

You're going to lose in Champaign. We usually play you very tough and it's the week before scUM.

As much as I don't like to admit it, I qualify as one of the "older guys." And, yes, this is exactly what it's like to be a Cubs fan. To make things worse, for a real Cubs fan there's no "rethinking" it. It's like a genetic imprint. You're stuck with it.

Yeah that's what I was worried about. Damn family had to be from Chicago.

Also, completely offtopic, @ Chad - OSU really isn't that good this year. Our defense has been terrible for a few years, and any team with half a brain abuses it. Luckily LLLLLLoyd Carr didn't have one, and Dick-Rod has no players. I'm gonna say we'll lose @ Illinois and win home vs. PSU, split the Big Ten title and maybe get to a BCS game. Which I'll be happy with.

Our only hope is we have two of the absolute best players in the nation in Beanie and Pryor. Anything that happens this year is a direct result of how good they are, and despite the shortcomings throughout the rest of the team.

if you lose to Illinois but beat PSU, we could be looking at a three way tie for the big ten championship.

Illinois is not the best in the big ten, but i think they are a firm 3rd (i think we're a better team than Wisconsin). So we could win the rest of our games. Illinois could get ultra lucky and PSU could stumble and get upset by another team while OSU could lose to UM too. Illinois with back to back rose bowls!

And before you tell me i'm crazy, getting the rose bowl last year was a situation that was probably 1 in a 1,000,000.

(i know it's not going to happen)

My fun moment from last night. While in the men's room getting heckled as you would expect, one dude yells at me, "Go back to Chicago Cub fan" and I look up (i was just keeping my head down each trip there as i didn't want to get stabbed) and say real loud "Dude, I live in the (san fernando) Valley!"

The whole bathroom broke up laughing.

The he kinda stumbled and muttered something about going back to the valley.

Line to the bathroom was the worst...thank goodness my rebelious 13 year old roots for the Dodgers...my dutiful 10 year old is a Cubs fan. Yeah, we'll all be on the couch for awhile, but older son saved us with a lot of jokes from the Dodgers fans. As Rob mentioned, most were good-natured, all were drunk, and the only decent line (the first time at least) was reference to "101 years", not that clever, but at least they paid attention more than I thought. The guy next to me, actually was nervous through the final six outs and I kind of admired his passion, although clearly he had no reason to be nervous. Playoff atmosphere was fun, I've never seen the on-field celerbration in person before, kind of surreal, especially since it was the wrong team, and I dreamt when I scored G3 tix, that I might get to see the Cubs do it, that was a very long time ago...10 year old was very solemn at the end, and I almost feel bad for raising him that way, but he's playing his playstation now, so it can't be too long-lasting yet, and besides it'll make him tougher.

on my venting side (as many of you know I am biased towards management and leadership failures). Here's how my interview with Lou would likely go:

Jimmer: So Lou can you pinpoint what went wrong.

Lou: (arrogant sigh) I don't know . . . you saw the games. What am I, a magician? I'm mystified. Could have been the scouting, Dodger's pitching, a cold stretch, who knows? But I only got 12 runs in 6 playoff games. hard to win with that.

Jimmer: Looking back could you have put the team in a better position to win?

Lou: (brow furling sigh) Look I'm not on the field. Do I have dirt on my pants? I don't feel pressure. There is no pressure . . . Americans have a lot on their plate. This is entertainment . . . it's unimportant. And besides the crowd at Wrigley was a bunch of executives . . .

Jimmer: Well wouldn't the people paying your salary disagree with that? It must be an important and difficult job or you wouldn't be paid millions of dollars.

Lou: One more question like that and I'll absorb you like a failing bank you pipsqueak? What do you make for asking stupid questions?

Jimmer: Ok. Some would argue that you don't respect the importance of winning game one of a short series. I mean last year you pulled your ace who was dominant in a tied game, in order to save him for another game that never happened. And this year you kept a pitcher in who had walked 7 batters in 4 2/3 innings. Would you have done that in a game 7 of the world series?

Lou: (Harrumph) Look, we can't play scared and I can't manage scared. It's too much pressure. And hey life is full of pressure . . . no need for it.

Jimmer: um ok. But two year's in a row you seemed to mis-gauge momentum and mismanage the pitching staff in what is essentially an elimination game: roughly 90% of NL teams who win game one of short series win the series.

Lou: (sigh) Where's the pizza?

Jimmer: What about batting Fukudome in the number two spot. Then playing him again in game two. Then benching him in game three against the one pitcher he knows inside out from years in Japan?

Lou: Look buddy, I'm chewing! (press room erupts in laughter - OH THAT LOU!)

Jimmer: ok last question. After two seasons of humiliating post season sleepfests. What will you do differently if you get in next year? manage game one like it's the last game of your life? line up your rotation better so that big game pitchers pitch in big games? Form a strategy and adjust if players are all swinging at pitches 4 inches outside for three straight games? Make sure the pitchers know that if they don't trust their stuff and pound the strike zone they are gonna CREATE losing situations? Put pressure on other pitchers by preaching patience at the plate? Using scrappy players in tough situations? I mean anything you can think of?

Lou: Glad you got all the answers shitbox. It doesn't work that way. I need three things: good pitching, good defense, and timely hitting. You know how to reach inside of a player and make that happen. Send me a memo. Next question . . .

Jimmer: but Lou that's your job . . .

Jimmer, you are putting the blame where much of it belongs. How could Piniella fail to have the team ready after last year's playoff experience? What kind of manager in any enterprise allow employees to go into an important situation with the kind of mindset Dempster had in game 1 or the right side of the infield had in game 2?

on a parallel track with you, i believe this series was lost in arizona game 1 a year ago. zambrano gets lifted early in anticipation of needing him for a game (4 or 5, your choice) which never takes place. lou is given unrlenting shit for this. and he files it away.

fast forward to game 1 2008 in wrigley. bottom of the 4th. (not the top of the 5th). cubs already lead 2-0. 2 men on, 2 men out. dempster's turn to bat. and dempster bats, and makes out. and the next inning the whole series goes down the drain.

dempster had already thrown 80'ish pitches in 4 innings. he didn't have "it" that evening. send up a pinch hitter- maybe ward, maybe fontenot, maybe cedeno. take a risk on knocking in another run or 2, and bringing soriano to the plate with more ducks on the pond. why are marshall and marquis on the playoff roster unless it is to pitch under this exact scenario? as well as potentially knocking lowe out, and running through some of the dodger bullpen.

instead lou replays mentally the tape from october 2007 and says "leave him in". and nothing good happened afterwards. for three games. and as every inning went by the collars just kept getting tighter and tighter.

all sorts of players had a hand in this turd-fest: soriano, dempster, ramirez, soto, infield defense. but it started with piniella.

rats. guess i'll get to catch up on my reading earlier than anticipated.

I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that Soriano needs to somehow go. I just can't see how he's anything but a net negative for this team - the leadoff thing, the defense thing, the post-season disappearing thing - I know he's got a no-trade contract, but I just thing he needs to go.

yeah, we need more scrappy white guys. That's what this team needs.

Will you shut up with stupid fucking comments like this.

Let's be fair.

He doesn't need to go, in large part because he's untradeable and irreplaceable in terms of the value he brings.

But he's also a guy with a 195/233/256 postseason line in 86 plate appearances. The only great postseason series he's ever had was way back in 2001 against Lou Pinella's Mariners.

By last night I had no desire to see him at the plate in any situation.

Edit: How does race have anything to do with this?

How is this about race?

Do you have a counter argument?

I can see the guy's point: Soriano can be a real drain at times. The failure here is to suggest the preferable alternative to Soriano. Maybe the suggestion is to go back in time and not offer him all the years and all the cash.

I definitely understand the frustration with Soriano, but my biggest problem with the Soriano situation now is that he is still in the leadoff spot. That and after 3 years he is still not even an average left fielder with his speed.

Also, a sidenote: white guys aren't the only players I've heard described as scrappy. Remember Juan Pierre?

it's not about color (as stated below). it's about style of play. and juan pierre have never been described as scrappy.

Juan Pierre has often been described as both scrappy and a pest.

And when he was struggling in 2006 Len Kasper couldn't shut up about how early he shows up to start stretching.

Only reason anyone here is talking about color is because you made a sarcastic comment about the team needing more scrappy WHITE guys.

It's got nothing to do with color. It's got to do with .280, 29HR, 75 RBI, 19 stolen bases. .344 OBP. Yeah, he was hurt some, but the Cubs are paying him team leader-type money, and they're getting a mediocre leadoff hitter with a low OBP, and whose defense makes routine fly balls an adventure.

low obp. yup that's it. nevermind game over. you win.

did you know that he's second on the team in ops and ops+?

Did you know taht he lead the team in home runs in far less games?

He doesn't need to go anywhere, he's our best player. I tired of reading bullshit posts like this.

The scrappy white guy thing isn't so much a color thing but a style of play. People like you think that ryan theriots are what wins games. I'll take Sorianos.

I don't see anything about Ryan Theriot here except in your comments.

I don't completely disagree with your arguments about Soriano, Chad. His stats this year are actually pretty good given his number of ABs. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say he's our best player, or even our best position player, but he was a plus on offense on the whole, even if he was frustrating to watch during some games. I'm not sure he's worth the contract he was given, but few Free Agents are really worth the money that they get, and once the contract is signed you can't take back the cash and spend it elsewhere.

I think Soriano needs to go somewhere. I think it's somewhere between 4 and 6 in the lineup. His lack of playoff hitting would still hurt there, but hopefully not cripple the entire offense like it did over the last six playoff games.

When he's stealing 40 bases... well then you've got some sort of reason to hit him #1. But he doesn't do that anymore. Maybe Lou has to sell it to him, like it's to keep his legs fresher or something, but he's not a leadoff hitter. Put him behind some high OPS guys where the pitcher has to throw him some strikes.

I think Soriano needs to go somewhere. I think it's somewhere between 4 and 6 in the lineup.

This is right on the money. And Lou just needs to tell him that it's in the best interest of the team, end of story.

Yep, #6 sounds about right. He put up some of his best numbers batting deeper in the order for Texas and Washington.

Chad just used ops+ in a discussion. I think the apocalypse is upon us.

apparently if a Cub fan says anything negative about Soriano he's automatically racist now. What incredibly well balanced lucid logic. It probably has nothimg to do with his 3-28, 0 HR, 0 RBIs line he's put up in 07 & 08 NLDS as the guy who is supposed to facilitate the offense.

I give the best player nod to A-Ram because he's better in the clutch.

Runners in scoring position and 2 out:

Soriano .206
Ramirez .283

Runners on and 2 out

Soriano .208
Ramirez .309

Close and late:

Soriano .260
Ramirez .423

Soriano was better with the bases loaded -- .600 (3-5) to .375 (3-8) -- and with a runner on third and less than 2 out -- .500 (6-12) to .294 (10-34).

I'd also give A-Ram the patience and fielding nod. Soriano is the better base stealer, but neither of them seem to be very good base runners in that they both make mistakes.

Well said, Rob. I feel like I've wasted the last six months of my life. I didn't have to have the Series, I could've lived with a pennant, I could've even justified 2003 redux. This was more painful than unexpected.

Hockey season mercifully awaits.

I found this site about mid-season and have been religiously reading ever since. I just want to say thank you to all for the ensight and entertaining comments. I hope the posts continue through the off-season.

we're always here...might be a bit slow until the playoffs are over though.

I would argue that we're a bit slow all year long.

I think that has something to do with the 97 wins the team has this year. I've noticed that Winning is inversely proportional to bitching Cubs fans, hence fewer comments.*

*of course that doesn't hold true for BCB where bitching is always a prerequisite :)

kiss ass. we all know that RobG sucks. He sucks so bad we should call him McG.

I found a new website for you to follow Chad

www.mentallyretardedcubsfans.com

that is my site.

Might need to check your code, Rob. The link didn't work. Or maybe Chad's server is just down.

Chad's server is perpetually down. We befriend him nonetheless.

The thing that scares me is that we weren't significantly out hit by the Dodgers this series, specifically, the hits per game looked like this:

Game 1
LAD - 8
Cubs - 9

Game 2
LAD - 12
Cubs - 8

Game 3
LAD - 6
Cubs - 8

Its just that they had an uncanny ability to come through with clutch hits in key situations (Loney's GS in game 1 and double in game 3 in a series where he hit .214 is the most glaring evidence) while we had the uncanny ability to provide them gift wrapped opportunities (Dempster's walks in game 1, the 2nd inning errors and general fielding incompetence in game 2).

I mean, D Lee and Manny both had spectacular series and were the only two players to punch above their weight offensively in the middle of either lineup. The complementary players for both teams were bad; the only difference is our players got their hits with the bases empty and produced outs in run scoring situations while the Dodgers' players got their hits in high leverage situations and did very little the rest of the game.

I feel like I just watched a replay of last year, and it makes me sick.

0 home runs 0 rbis and a HUGE error.

Lee did not have a spectacular series.

Lee's stats from the series:

AVG - .545
OBP - .583
SLG - .818

But if you'd like to pick some arbitrary statistics like "RBI" to base his performance off of, be my guest, although I'm not going to hold Lee accountable for the inability for Soriano and Theriot/Fukudome to get on base ahead of him.

I think that Lee did at some times participate in the team suck, such as during the error and the few times he had someone on base in front of him and failed to drive him in, but unlike most of the rest of the team he at some times abstained from the mighty suckitude of this sweep. For that I give him credit. I hope he hits more like a premiere first baseman and 3-hitter during 2009 than he did in the 2008 regular season, but Lee wasn't the problem this post season.

i didn't say he played bad. he stats are inflated by 3 doubles. woo!

home runs are not arbitrary. And i'm not about to get into an sabremetric argument right now.

He played well, but Manny WAY outplayed Lee. That is why you can't say that Lee had a spectacular series. He didn't.

If he wouldn't have led off or come to the plate every inning with the bases empty, there would have been a few RBI added to that stat line. He did ground into a big DP in game 1 though.

I had intimated in September that I thought the Cubs would be "One and Done", so I was prepared.

My Cubs experience since 2003 is like Missouri - the "show me" State.

At game 1, my kids asked me to by them Division Champ caps and T-Shirts.

I said - "Guys, if they make it to the Championship Series, I'll buy 'em for you when we come to Game 1." I got off cheap, unfortunately.

I just want to ask if any of you would be for just doing a minor "blow up" and try to deal as many of these experienced chokers as possible? Go younger, faster, keep the core pitching intact and look for young arms. Go Beane for a while. The Rays had no problem not "choking" and look like world beaters compared to our "Playoff Tested" veterans.

How about it?

Also - I REALLY feel like the players should make a public apology, to all of us sick, obsessed, sucker fans that we are for fooling us once more with an absolutely pathetic display of baseball.

I pretty much agree with you, BUT I did not see a complete COMPLETE inability to compete coming. That is what surprised me most. Just unbelievable.

That said I was not confidant at all about the playoffs. I felt that if the Cubs got to face the Mets they would advance. Dodgers scared me a lot. Mets are bigger chokers than the Cubs and would have faced the same Big Market Media pressure -- new york style.

But this performance was worse than I thought.

I DID however feel the Cubs would not succeed based on these points:

1.) They peaked too early. Clearly Cubby swagger was gone by mid August.

2.) I had no confidence in Kerry Wood. I felt he would be the weak link, as well as:

3.) The fact that Zambrano and Harden were not themselves at the very least and injured at most.

4.) Finally the Fukudome effect (club wide patience at the plate) had worn off and of course he himself was no longer performing at all.

That said I do not think that the club needs to be blown up. I like Ramirez and Soriano and somehow think they are both capable of producing in future years and they are GREAT for getting us to the playoffs.

I think DLee did great but he is aging and Hoffpauir will be a nice option if Lee has to go.

I would lose DLee and try and upgrade starting pitching and closer and RF and have Fuku/Pie/Johnson battle it out there.

anyway . . . .

"The fact that Zambrano and Harden were not themselves at the very least and injured at most."

Zambrano pitched very well.

I agree Chad . . . these were my worries going into the playoffs. Before Game 1

I think we're stuck with Lee for two more years.

Best case is that he lifts weights like just about every other first basemen in the majors, and get's his bat speed up to snuff so he can hit 30+ HR's again. If you're a first basemen at Wrigley, in today's game you need to hit 30 HR's, period.

Second best scenario is that he continues his decline and Hoffpaiur works himself into a straight platoon by the end of 2009, then Lee plays his overpriced caddy in 2010.

Hard to see us being able to get out of that contract before it expires, unless it's a salary dump-swap.

Totally disagree on Wood. Most of his problems this year came from bad luck with BABIP.

People thought I was crazy last year when I said trade Derrek Lee.

People still think I'm crazy, but not about this.

I love Derrek Lee. This is not punitive, which is not a good reason to make a trade anyway. Trade Derrek Lee because he has a high trade value and he puts up Andre Ethier numbers. So do a lot of other people who are not considered superstars. What are we talking, .280 with 20 HRs and a bunch of doubles? Soto did it his rookie year, so can Hoffpauir. Trade Lee for bright high-level pitching prospects. The Cubs' good young arms were mostly at Daytona this year.

Until somebody shows me stats to the contrary, I maintain that Lee hits with more power than Soriano but 380 doesn't leave the yard when you always hit to center and to deepest right- and left-center. Everybody observes that Lee doesn't handle pitches well when they're inside or middle-in. That's because you have to swing earlier on those, and Lee is in no hurry to swing. He's pretty old and pretty set in his ways.

Overall, look at the bright side. We don't have to hate Dan Uggla any more.

I like Hoffpauir, but those older guys who have demonstrated no willingness to take a walk in the minors often don't translate their offensive abilities to the majors very well. I think expecting him to duplicate Derek Lee numbers is pretty optimistic. I think if you trade Lee it's at least in part to make room for a bigger bat at first base, someone like Teixera (who isn't even a lock to put up better numbers than Lee, but certainly could). I really do like Hoff, but his future on this team in PH/backup 1B or (if he can really improve his defense) RF.

Hoffpauir can lose 80 points of BA transitioning to the majors--which is roughly what Soto did--and still hit .280. We're not talking about Dubois hitting .314 in 2004, where if he loses 65 points he's below .250. Hoffpauir hit .362.

The only PCL hitter (and that's 16 teams) who might have been slightly better than Hoffpauir was Nelson Cruz, who looks like he's taken over right field for Texas. Like Hoffpauir, he was called up in early September. Unlike Hoffpauir, he played, and batted .330 in 115 ABs with 7 HRs and 26 RBI. Cruz was 28 in July.

The Cubs have lost six in a row in spite of Derrek Lee's "leadership," whatever that is, and of course they say that Edmonds gives a pretty good locker-room speech too.

Again, we're not talking about trading Lee for Hoffpauir. We're talking about trading Lee for something significant and still having Hoffpauir to put at first.

Hoffpauir also had a .393 OBP, so if he loses .080 off of that he's down to .313. As a first baseman, if you've got a .313 OBP you'd better slug WELL over .550, which I don't think many people expect Hoffpauir to do while batting .280. He's got good power, but he has never hit more than 25 HRs in a season (prior to this year, his high was 22 in 2006).

Note also that Felix Pie hit .362 in AAA in 2007, but hit only .215 in the majors that year and followed that up by hitting .241 this year in the majors.

I for one feel that a huge part of Soto's success in the majors is his plate discipline and patience, neither of which have I heard anyone suggest Hoff has. I'd love for him to prove me wrong, but I don't think Hoff is a good enough prospect to justify trading Derek Lee at a point when his trade value has sunk.

Who do you think the Cubs get for Lee? I would say we need RF, CF, and, as always, you take whatever good pitching you can get. I'm interested to hear what reasonable package + Hoffpauir is more valuable than having Lee and Hoffpauir.

Ok reality check fellas:

Derrek Lee has a full NO TRADE CLAUSE and he loves it in Chicago. As far as I have heard, the entire team likes the guy and he is not a problem in the clubhouse. Even if Hendry wanted to, he cannot trade him w/o his consent, and why would DLee want to leave when he is on a strong team in a great city?

I'm not a big OBP fan and I hadn't noticed Hoffpauir's 31-point OBP-BA margin, which I guess is interestingly small. I would note that his OBP in 73 at bats with Chicago was .400, and that his career minor-league OBP-BA differential is a more respectable 55.

I never took Felix Pie's .362 number seriously for two reasons. First, it was less than half a season's at bats. Second, he was up and down several times, and I thought he got in a hot-cold cycle where he would slump in Chicago and get hot in Iowa. The real Iowa number would have been below .362 and the real Chicago number would have been above .215.

Pie's .287 at Iowa this season may be a little low, considering that he arrived there, according to Von Joshua, a wreck after working with three hitting coaches in Chi., and it took him a few weeks to get going.

The question is, what BA would Pie need to get his name on the lineup card several times a week in Chicago. If you say it's .250, then I would want to see him hitting .310 or better at Iowa. I'm not sure he's there yet, but he may be getting close.

Pie plays for Licey in the Dominican League and has always had trouble hitting there. It seems to be much tougher than AAA. We'll see if he can hold his own there this winter. .250-.260 would be a big improvement.

I have emotions toward Pie that are similar to other people's toward Derrek Lee. Pie has been a Cub longer. One of TBS's cameras caught him by himself in the dugout Saturday after the game, looking all miserable and teary-eyed. Interesting that Pie hung around the duguout and became the face of Cub disappointment.

I hope he sticks next year.

If you don't care about OBP, then there is a fundamental difference in the ways we think about baseball that we will likely never resolve.

Pie will either stick this year or be out of town--he's out of options, I believe.

Hoffpauir didn't have a full year of ABs this year either.

And isn't it possible that Pie's hot and cold streaks in 2007 correlated to being in the majors and AAA in part because of major league pitching and AAA pitching? I'm not rooting for him to fail, or for Hoffpauir to fail, but there seems to be more to transitioning to the majors than simply losing a constant amount of points from your batting average.

Also, if we're going to look at Hoffpauir's career minor league numbers instead of last year's numbers, this conversation is fairly irrelevant (actually, I'm pretty certain it's fairly irrelevant anyway): he's a career .290 hitter in the minors with an OBP of .346 and a slugging percentage of .487, not overwhelming numbers. If we're not looking at last year as a turning point, which could mean that fewer walks had to do with the approach that allowed him to succeed, then Hoffpauir is hardly worth discussing.

I've got to say amen to you Superjimmer. Especially on points #1 and #4. It was mentioned a few times this year by commentators that the big difference between this Cubs team and its usual sucky teams is/was the number of walks they were taking.This was definitely Fuku's early influence. Everyone was watching everything he was doing early on and his approach was effective briefly.
Even if it means games last longer, Cubs need to go back to working pitch counts.

As for now, Fuku better hope there's good sushi in Iowa.Can we get a group rate for the head cases this team has (Hill, Z, Dumpster, etc.,), no tot mention us fans.

"Its just that they had an uncanny ability..."

Yeah, every farkin' time the Cubs lose, it's always the other team that has that magical ability to get hits in key situations. This is not a repeat...this is not a repeat...

This is the way it's always been for this franchise. And BTW, pointing at individual failures is a hopeless exercise - this was a team - wide, total SUCK of monster proportions. Blame Lou, Fonzie, whatever gets your goat - but they're all culpable. (bad pun intended)

"I REALLY feel like the players should make a public apology, to all of us sick, obsessed, sucker fans that we are for fooling us once more with an absolutely pathetic display of baseball."

Hey, didn't you get the memo? Don't be a big meanie about this, why can't you just cheer them on, despite yet another monstrous show of suckitude? Don't you know that true fans are only allowed to chant the idiot screams from my youth, when the Cubs were usually losing yet another game on the road to oblivion:

"We wanna HIT! We wanna HIT!"

Man, I always hated that crap, even though it often came from the schoolchildren attending the games.

WOOHOO!!! We're in first place! Chicago is going all the way this year baby!!

The Bears won. There's no reason to temper my optimism, is there?

more importantly the Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet era begins Friday night.

Rough morning in the billybucks household -- 11-year old son tried to hold it together, but couldn't hold back the tears. Even declined the usual Sunday morning trip to the Pancake House becasuse he didn't think he could control his emotions. (By 12:30, of course, he was cheering with joy for the Bears.

Having been a sports fan for all of my 49 years, I can usually, in my heart of hearts, tell when my teams have what it takes (1985 Bears, MJ Bulls) and when they really don't (2006 Bears, 1989 Cubs).

That's the hardest thing about his team -- I really thought this was the one. Starters, bullpen, hitters, good health, big mid-season pick-up, etc. Losing is one thing, getting swept is another.

I think this season will leave some heavy scars, akin to 1969, for the younger generation. They put their belief in this group of players, rode the fun ride for 6 months, then had it taken away in 4 lousy days.

The Real Neal:
If you're a first basemen at Wrigley, in today's game you need to hit 30 HR's, period.

I know it's not cool to dog on D Lee, but The Real Neal is right on this one, imo.

And I know it really blew having a solid season like this evaporate in three games. It's disappointing, but I'd still take '08 over '06 anyday.

And the good thing is the Cubs are built in a way that they could threaten for the division the next few years.

i come from the opposite end of the spectrum...its more about what the team does.

we come from an era where CF, 2nd, SS, and C can hit for power where they weren't expected to in the past.

we don't have a SS who can hit for power, that's for sure. 2nd and C seem to be well above average. CF is a mystery, but was represented well in 08 with power.

if the cubs need more power how about moving one of the team's best power hitters out of the #1 slot where his RBIs won't rely on the #7/8/9 hitters pulling their weight?

NL League averages by position (OPS):

C - 715

SS - 738

2B -746

CF - 760

3B - 776

RF - 788

LF - 803

1B - 838

(C) soto - .868
(2nd) derosa (272ab) - .825
(2nd) fontenot (210ab) - .945
(CF) edmonds (250ab) - .937
(CF) johnson (246ab) - .832

hope this holds up in 09...hope pie is ready to contribute...hope theriot can keep up the OB% at the very least...

hell, im holding off most 09 talk til someone leaks what kind of payroll this team could be working with. there's so much up in the air.

I'm with you.

So far today I've failed in my attempts to resist being roped into offseason moves talk until at least December, but I'll be back at it tomorrow. To early to start wishing spring training was here. I'll go nuts.

there's just so many unknowns with a big-ass anchor represented by an "as-is" 100m 09 team.

granted, every position has a player and the team could roll right into 09 as-is by only adding 5-10m or so in payroll to fill out the remaining roster. it would mean gambling on a pie/johnson CF amongst other things...

but how much will they spend? who knows...they could be a 140+m team next year...or 110m...or 120m...etc.

Oh, and: "Or try and bang some of the player's wives"

I think the Cubs wives will be dealing with more than enough angry sex between now and February without our help. Or maybe it will be more like weepy sex?

Actually, nix that. I'm fairly sure those last 3 games caused erectile dysfunction in the active roster, maybe the entire franchise and the all the fans as well.

From Charlie:

"Actually, nix that. I'm fairly sure those last 3 games caused erectile dysfunction in the active roster, maybe the entire franchise and the all the fans as well."

My playoff experience was unsatisfying and over way too soon, also.

I'm fairly sure those last 3 games caused erectile dysfunction in the active roster, maybe the entire franchise and the all the fans as well
----------------
TBS has enough Viva Viagra adds to give rigor mortis to the entire Cub nation. There's one old blue tuxedo I won't miss.

True, but all the Frank TV ads cancel out the ED ads, and all we're left with is a bunch of limp dicks and John Madden in a bad wig.

but anyone who thinks the Cubs need to get rid of Soriano based on the last 2 playoffs is mildly retarded.

A lot of good and great players have had bad playoff series. Some even have bad playoff careers.

Howard/Utley haven't done much yet

Fielder just went 1/14 or something like that
early

90's Barry Bonds?
etc, etc

Adam Kennedy hit 3 HR's in a game once...we need more Adam Kennedy's. That dude is clutch.

This shit was ugly and I was as frustrated with Soriano as the next guy, but no one would ever base a player's performance on 6 games.

To me it's not this series specifically but the fact he's enormously streaky and we will never be able to rely on him to get the big hit because you never know when he will get hot. He only had two good months this season. That's just ridiculous.

For a team trying to win a World Series, having the worst post-season hitter in the history of game is not a good thing. It is just not the last 6 games its been his whole career. They shouldnt just give him away, but if you can find a player in the stratosphere talent wise who is a good post-season player (Carlos Beltran?) then you pull the trigger. I would put Aramis "on the block" to see what I could get and if I could get 3 good players for him I do it. Jimbo needs to realize his shit just doesnt work in October and that he needs a new deal.

A-Ram's shit was moderately effective in October 2003. Or are you referring to Hendry's shit?

A-Ram needs runners on and needs to be the guy you're not worrying about--he needs a Sosa, Alou, Lee, or Soriano to be the big distraction while he comes up and drives the guy in from 2nd with a single or double, or in from 3rd with a sac fly. He isn't Albert Pujols; he's a great #5 hitter or a decent #4.

And he's got a full no-trade clause. Why he should want to leave the Cubs (good hitter's park, contender, team that should be really thankful to have a good third baseman), I don't know.

vlad .235 .307 .279
andre dawson .186 .238 .237
Banks/santo/williams .000 .000 .000

You don't judge players on their post seasons

that is mildly feasible...

I think Furcal could solve a lot if the Cubs have the cash. You get a more prototypical leadoff guy which would at least shut up some people and since he's better than Theriot, would help our offense a bit. An extra lefty bat on top of that.

Trade Cedeno, keep DeRosa, move Theriot to the utility role and possible starting second basemen if DeRosa leaves after 2009.

I don't really see them doing much else offensively unless they get some balls to trade Derrek Lee and sign Teixeira. The middle of the lineup couldn't definitely use a lefty-power threat, but I don't see many options out there.

other than Adam Dunn :)

damnit, you guys pulled me back in...

Go Bears!!

I like that, but I think you have to at least have some contingency plans in RF as well.

What if Fukudome doesn't figure it out? What if he really is afraid of the ball, as some have said scouts have said? Either shift DeRosa to RF and get another 2B (Roberts? [Roberts + Furcal = drooling]) or start having Hoffpower do some major league RF drills where he can be ready to take over for Fukudome in case he continues to struggle. That situation has to be fixed.

Then you have the rotation obviously. Is Dempster's season repeatable? Is Marquis tradeable?

Lotta questions, not many answers yet.

Wow. Where to start.

I'm pretty sure Chad's drunk.

Nobody's mentioned it since WISCGRAD in #6, but yes, where exactly was Reed for 3 whole games?

Trying really hard not to say F___ 87 times in this comment is becoming increasingly hard.

Lots of good ideas here. The blow up thing is a possibility. Getting rid of Sori is a possibility. Trading anybody for something is a possibility.

I'm really, really personally mad at Soriano right now, for not showing up and being a general head case. When's Kerry gonna smash his boom box??

Not that much of the team showed up, we just pay Fonz more not to show up.

DLee and DeRo looked like our two best guys, and they're the two "aging" guys we're probably most likely to get rid of in a "rebuilding" effort. Personally, I like em both, but I think you keep DLee for leadership and you get what you can for DeRo's career year.

But there's plenty of time after the healing to worry about next year.

I just don't see a large market team like the Cubs blowing up and rebuilding a 97 win team, even with ownership up in the air.

I also don't see Lee, Rammy, or Soriano going anywhere (though I HOPE for a lineup change that relocates Soriano). You can't say because of one series, no matter how pathetic it is, that a 97 win team isn't good, and they (along with Soto) were the position player core of that team. I could see Marquis ending up elsewhere, but only to make room for Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija (no, not kidding--also not saying I think he's completely ready to be a major league starter), or a free agent signing.

I see the Cubs looking into Furcal, Lowe, Aubrey Huff, Brian Roberts, and (mistakenly) Griffey. I have no idea what they will do as far as backup catcher goes, but that's not a particularly big issue. And some relief pitchers, not that I know what non-closers are free agents this year.

They're not going to blow the team up, but they may try to re-tool, like they did in 2005/2006. We should be able to get Pierre on the cheap! I just hope that Lou and Hendry have a better grasp about what wins baseball games than Baker/Hendry did back then.

the 2006 team wasn't (on paper) that bad. After the Derrek Lee wrist injury they kinda quit.

They got big years from Jacque Jones (yes a slow start), Barrett and Todd Walker. juan Pierre was Juan Pierre.

The other thing was playing the "if wood and prior can stay healthy game"

That's what sunk them.

I see your point about the re-tooling bit, but don't even joke about a Juan Pierre acquisition. That hurts my soul.

And glad to see you back Rob =)

Cubs won 97 games. 97 and 64 and we want to "blow the team up? ha.

The playoffs is a crap shoot...and the Cubs, as a team, sucked. They were out played from top to bottom...but you know what...I'd take my chances with that team any day (or year).

Sure, we have some holes that would be nice to fill..nut the nucleas got the job done all year, I have full faith they can do it next year, and then maybe we'll catach a break in October next year.

The only significant change I make is Soriano MUST be moved out of the lead off spot. Sure, he is a nice spark plug when he's on. But when he's off, Cubs are dead meat. They've got to get someone who will take some pitches and work some counts.

I was at the game yesterday too...and I really don't like Dodger fans. I know it's a gross generalization, but they are really a nasty bunch, and even when parents would tell them to shut up and watch their language around kids...they just kept on going.

about 5 guys kept yelling "Fuck-you-do-me" all game...even when Fukudome was no where to be found.

But you know what, more than idiotic drunk Dodger fans...I hate idiotic drunk Cubs fans even more. The two dipshits in front of me kept picking idiotic fights with Dodgers fans (when we were losing the whole game) and for the entire 7th and 8th innings kept chanting "NFL! NFL! At least we have a football team! Go Raiders"

Couple things:
1. LA doesn't have a football team...because they don't care about football. Dodgers fans don't give a shit about the Bears or the Raiders"
2. Bears aren't the Patriots or Giants. There isn't much to brag about there.

Finally someone turned around and said "I think you missed it, but the Bears haven't won in 20+ years. Shut the fuck up and get over it"

There is a fine line between razzing and hostility. i experienced both.

My only thought is that I know that Cub fans probably get hostile with fans of the opposite team and for that I'm embarrassed.

Cubs fanbase, or at least the regulars attending games, has gone down the shitter of late. Hostility, drunkenness, and incessant booing. Not to start up an old argument, but rightfully or not, how the fuck do you expect your team to recover in the playoffs when they're being booed non-stop from the 4th inning on?

Using the fucking f-word this much is helping me vent some frustration from the week. Thanks, Evan.

hey gang, long time no post. i stop by everyday to read, just not much to say lately. until today.

you may know i live in japan, so for me game 1 started at 7:30AM last thursday. i already made arrangements to be a tad late for work. was wrestling in the living room with my 3 year old son (older 2 sons at school) in joy over the dero homer and was really enjoying my breakfast. was looking forward to leaving the house on a high note. couple innings go by...
dempster walks the 3rd hitter of the inning, gets ahead of loney 0-2. i got my fucking car keys in my hand, standing there literally on my way out the fucking door, just want to see us get out of the inning before i kiss my wife goodbye and leave for work. flat slider? gets stung to dead-center, jimmy is desperately sprinting for the wall, and in that moment my heart sank and i somehow knew we were doomed once again. the last several days have been a bitch. all i can see is poor jimmy just dashing back for that ball that he cant possibly catch. im in no mood for fucking numbers or stats of any kind. i dont care to see fingers pointing this way or that. theres only 1 reason that i am willing to accept for this tragedy, and just 1. the 1 reason that helps me just shut out the pain as much as im able (i havent cried once yet) and move on, look forward to next year, and continue to love this team. and that reason is this:

the baseball gods have a stick. they have a stick that they use to beat the shit out of the cubs faithful, because the baseball gods are a bunch of SICK FUCKS. this stick that they beat you and me with? its got all these notches along it you see. the one from last year was such a hit, that they decided to add another just like it, only WORSE. but they waited. oooh, were they patient. they held back all year long. no freak broken wrists, no torn labrums, just a few feignts you know. a little DL for soriano here, little "mystery arm" for marmol there. on the contrary, edmonds/rj in center, fuku-mania, harden/gaudin, hell they even dropped a no-hitter for Z on us. then came october...and they got out their stick at last and reared back and SWUNG FOR THE FENCE on that ass! howz a little loney slam for ya? "WHACK!". then howz about a little '03 deja-vu for 5 runs in game 2? "WHACK!". they out-did themselves for sure. this newest notch in the stick? they set it up so nice, oooh, the pain this year is off the fucking charts boy! but you know what y'all? FUCK the baseball gods and their fucking stick. fuck the dodgers and fuck all that shea goodbye crap and fuck the rays too. IM STILL GONNA ALWAYS LOVE THIS TEAM. and one of these days itll all pay off. one of these days that stick is gonna run outta room for any more notches, and then that stick is goin up RIGHT UP YOUR FUCKING ASS baseball gods! so FUCK YOU!!!

......ahem.

so there you have it. i suppose its not much more than vengeful rage at a figment of my imagination, but its my salvation dammit.

peace to ROB and AZ PHIL and the whole TCR crew and faithful.

what a year it was. for many reasons, what a fucking year it was.

Cubby-

Well said.

As I told my weeping son this morning -- you are part of a big group that shares the history and the joy and the pain. It's not always fun, but it is special. And when we finally win, people all over the world will go nuts together.

It's just going to take a while....

If you don't mind, I'm going to save that post and send it to some friends. I nominate this for best post ever.

I don't remember reading something that made me want to cry and laugh hysterically at the same time.

Don't need to blow up the team, but need to be able to adjust when a playoff team has 3 RH pitchers who can locate their pitches and live on the outside corner. That is death to Soriano, and occasionally Soto and Rammy.

Send Hoffpauer to RF school -- the guy can hit. If Fukudome is really toast, then put Hoff in RF and put Pie in CF and tell him to catch any ball he can reach.

Still can't believe this season is really over.

amen brother

fuck manny ramirez.

All positive statements about Cub players must have the following added - in the regular season - as in, "Man, I can't believe how clutch ARam is... in the regular season." Or, "Wow, can you believe how hot Soriano is? When he gets hot he can carry a team for weeks... in the regular season."

After all that, this is what i see:

1) this team will continue to make the playoffs in the near future
2) Soriano must NOT bat in the leadoff position any longer
3) we need a big game go to hitter. Big Z is one of those on the pitching side (doesn't matter what messes he gets into all year, he brings it when it's needed the most)

I see the Cubs being heavy favorites in the NL Central again next year.

The Brewers will lose Sabathia and Sheets. Ryan Braun is good but the 2008 Braun is closer to reality than the 2007 Braun. The Astros sold out their farm system for Tejada, Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins; they're headed for the cellar. The Reds are managed by Dusty. The Pirates are the Pirates. And the Cardinals just signed Kyle Lohse (4.67 career ERA) to a four-year, $41 million contract, and does anybody trust Troy Glaus to stay healthy for an entire season?

Batting order doesn't matter. It has little or no impact in how many runs you score. I didn't come up with this; Bill James did. So it doesn't matter much where Soriano bats.

It matters in the playoffs where there will only be a small number of at bats to go around. Having people on base ahead of DLee would have made a whole lot of difference. Let's face it, Soriano is NOT a table setter. He is a streaky run producer who can ignite a team when he is ON. Too bad he is OFF in the playoffs more often than not.

"Bill James did. So it doesn't matter much where Soriano bats."

Actually he didn't say that. What he said as long as you don't do something exceedingly stupid, there's not much difference. Batting your top slugger leadoff (in the National League!) is exceedingly stupid.

I must add that ANYBODY who thinks we should dump A-Ram is out of their fucking gourd (and probably is too young to remember how hard it was to find a 3rd baseman for oh about THIRTY YEARS!).

the guy isn't perfect but he is SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD. Please don't take that guy for granted.

I do like Soriano too, but I am finally in agreement with those who say he needs to bat 5th or 6th. Heck you can even bat him cleanup. I'm ready for a scrappy leadoff hitter. Either that or we face the prospect of batting our pitcher 8th ala LaRussa . . . so we can get a few baserunners in front of our best HR hitter. (joke)

Anyway my main point is ARam is the best 3rd baseman of my lifetime other than Santo and when the team gets a little momentum some year in the playoffs he'll light it up. Like many great athletes he needs to feel electric to get his focus on and there was NOTHING ELECTRIC about the Cubs team the last two years in the playoffs.

I hope Hendry doesn't sign a setup man to a three-year deal. There was just no way Howry and Eyre were going to give you three good years.

Look at the good setup men pitching in the playoffs. They're all either castoffs or rookies making the minimum salary: Arredondo (LAA), Balfour (TB), Howell (TB), Wade (LAD), Masterson (BOS), Durbin (PHI) and Romero (PHI).

The Brewers tried to buy a bullpen with Gagne, Riske and Torres, and it worked out horribly for them.

That was probably the absolute most painful baseball game I've ever been to. The heckling by the Dodger fans where I was sitting was fine... until about the 5th inning when I was coming back from getting something to drink and a drunk asshole slapped me in the back of the head when I walked away from him screaming in my face that the Cubs suck. To add insult to injury, there was a security guard there, who watched it happen, and when I asked him if he was going to do anything, he just laughed at me. Go Dodger fans. I felt like I was at a Raiders game at that point. I thought for sure that the Cubbies would pull it out and make my head trauma (not to mention verbal abuse) worth it... but alas.

The Cubs are like the abusive boyfriend that beats the shit out of you, but you just keep coming back for more. I know I'll be following the off-season once more, and getting tickets for when they play the Dodgers and the Giants.

Maybe next year...

*sigh*

Oh, and I hope the Dodgers enjoy Manny for the rest of the season, cause he's gonna be gone when it ends. I enjoyed pointing that one out to the Dodger fans giving me shit all night long.

Oh, and I nearly forgot about the White Sox fan that was there... at the end of the game walking up and down the line for the bathroom, talking shit to all of the Cubs fans. That is until someone pointed out that while we haven't won a World Series in 100 years, at least we've never thrown one... he wasn't very happy to hear that, cussed us all out, and left the stadium as he was reminded that his beloved Sox are going to be knocked out by the Rays.

Go White Sox fans... lawl.

"...cause he's gonna be gone when it ends".

Yeah, so what? Welcome to corporate baseball in the modern era.

They made it to the NLCS, and have a shot at the WS. And, how about the Cubs?

The night of July 12th, I found out my wife was having an affair with my sister's husband. The next day the Cubs are playing the Giants. "Please, Cubs, I need you now more than ever," I said while watching the game. They lost, of course.

Maybe it doesn't hurt so bad this year because I've already experienced a betrayal far worse. Maybe it's because I've come to expect the worse from the ones I love.

I'll come back to the Cubs, eventually. But I don't know how I'm supposed to give a damn about some game next June knowing what lies ahead in October, assuming we'll even get there.

One thing my wife's infidelity did was put into doubt every happy memory we shared. Same with these Cubs. 2008, as good as it was, is now just a painful reminder of another year wasted.

Anyways, I've been reading this site for some time, and appreciate all those who contribute to it. I've just never felt like I had anything worth posting until now. Heck, I still don't have anything worth posting. I just wanted to vent.

Wow, that's rough. You're in the right place.

NB: I'm assuming this isn't some joke based around your username. If so, well done. But I don't think so.

Try reading the book, "The Man Inside Me".

It worked for me :)

And if there's one person who knows about having men inside him, it's Chad.

I mean, come on, it was right there.

Nice, Johann! No sooner was it going through my mind than I read it from you...
Well played, sir!

What the F is wrong with this board!! That took like 6 hours! I thought it would take 30 seconds.

Low hanging fruit

Let me get this straight. Chad tea-bagged jacos? Is this where we're at?

Do not despair, Chad. I am sure that the timing of your post, and most of us not wanting much to do with the Cubs right now, were the prime factors at play here. Like I said, the moment I read it, I was going to write the same thing. Since I only have been on this site like once a day, just not the response you could have expected had you written a week ago...

I guess you just Blue yourself, eh?

"Did you forget I was a professional twice over? An analyst and a therapist - the world's first analrapist."

Actually, that kind of sounds more like what Manny Ramirez did to us than anything from "Arrested Development."

They don't call him Man-Ram for nothing.

Are you speaking from personal experience, Chad?

"Hostility, drunkenness, and incessant booing."

While I understand your sentiment, I have no problem with most Cubs fans these days. NY Yankees and Mets fans boo at anything that moves, and yet their teams still somehow manage to get to a WS once in awhile. And as for Phil? Don't even ask about those fans, they're from Hades - yet who's in the NLCS?

I also won't mention the wonderful Pittsburgh fans who threw batteries out of the stands at Dave Parker on a regular basis, and this was during their WS run - players either learn to deal with that stuff and produce, or get out of town and play in SD, where no one gives a shit whether their team wins or loses.

The silver lining for me is that 2003 took such a big chunk out of me that series like this, while utterly disappointing, are easier to get over despite the expectations I did have.

I still follow them every day, I still go to games, I still read this site every day...I still obsess, but it's to a smaller degree, and I just don't live and die over this team anymore. That helps me turn the page.

The worst part is seeing all of the projected lineups here from now until spring training. :)

Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com tears the Cubs up today. He makes valid points on a couple things, but his overall point is off base IMO.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?colum...

One of his harsher comments was:
"The Cubs were outscored 20-6. They might as well have been waving rhythmic gymnastics ribbons at the plate. By the way, Soriano and the holes in his swing are signed through 2014. Enjoy."

Ouch...

Hopefully I will be able to post my thoughts in the next day or two about this season. I try and wait 3-5 days after the season ends to let it all soak in. I am sure you all will be waiting at the edge of your seats...:)

Exactly what we need. It's OK to insult and rip on your own family, but when an outsider does it, it's war.

This team, with a few tweaks, should be able to win the NL Central again next year. Sign Dempster, Wood and Reed Johnson, pick up Harden's option, replace Ward with Hoff, put Pie/Reed in CF, replace HR Howry with one of the kids, and get back to the playoffs.

After next year, it may be time to re-tool. I think Lilly, DeRo and Harden would be FA's, and Lee will be 34.

But, I think this group deserves another shot. 97 wins means something.

This morning on Mike and Mike in the Morning, while I was still half asleep, I heard them say that the Cubs' top hitters have proven they cannot come through in the BIG games. While talking about whether the series should have been best of seven, one of the guys opined that the Cubs would not have won this series if it had been the "best of 91 games."

It is hard to argue with them on either point. Surely, our team would not have won a seven game series. It would have made no difference at all.

ARAM seems like our most consistent run producing guy. He seems to be solid on a pretty consistent basis, at least during the season. Reed Johnson seemed to be pretty consistent throughout the year. It seemed like a number of the guys tailed off to one degree or another the second half of the season, ie, Fukudome, DeRosa, Soto, and Theriot. Edmonds played very well in stretches. Soriano was great in stretches and pretty awful in other stretches.

But our "big guys" have pretty much been the same the last two season, ie, Soriano, ARAM and Lee. And none of those guys showed up in the playoffs the last two seasons. Six straight losses and it actually is nine if we go back to 2003.

One commentator said that he is beginning to think that even if the Cubs had a veritable all star at each and every position, the weight of the team's history would be too much come playoff time. I, too, am beginning to wonder. The guys looked awful last year in the playoffs. Awful again this year.

My uncle told me back in the early 1970s not too get too attached to the Cubs, not to count on them for anything. He said they will always break your heart (if you let them, if you count on them.) I am way past beginning to think he was right.

But our "big guys" have pretty much been the same the last two season, ie, Soriano, ARAM and Lee.

Lee didn't show up in the playoffs? Huh? What games did you watch?

okay...i just gotta rant.

DLee makes aram's D better, derosa/fontenot's D better, and theriot's D a lot better.

DLee is also 10 homers or so away from people getting off his case.

the dude is still good for power...just not as much.

the guy can take a base and his "power" isn't just gappers for doubles.

he may not be worth his paycheck by a few million anymore, but this guy is a pretty key part of the team.

addition by subtraction can probably best be done elsewhere in the lineup, imo.

he's more like mark grace than mark mccgwire, but he's still got more pop than grace.

You call it a rant because you're emotional about Lee. I can take a bad playoff run or three, no problem, but I have a problem with soft-headedness in Cub fans.

Lee is fine. He can still play, and nobody gets the scoops like he does. But here's the reality: the doorbell just rang, and the guy at the door says he's Lee's replacement. Who called him? Did you call him? I didn't call him. But there he is. What do you want to do, send him away?

The hard headed (but un-Cubfanlike) thing to do is trade the older guy. You'll get three times as much in a trade. You'll get more for Lee because he's proven, but you'll also be cashing in on somebody else's softheadedness.

There won't be much difference in Lee's and Hoffpauir's numbers next year. Lee won't hit ten more home runs, because he doesn't have home-run power in the direction that he hits the ball. Few hitters do. I already won that bet with my son, anyway. After Lee hit eight home runs in April, I bet he wouldn't hit thirty.

I guess when Hoffpauir demolishes major league pitching next year we'll all come running to tell you that you were right about him, VAPhil, but for now most of us seem to be skeptical. Not many other people think Hoff is Lee's replacement, except in case of injury. If you're the Hoff's agent, work on a more persuasive sales pitch.

They heard of him in NY already.

I don't know what you want a guy to do in less that 300 at bats. 100 RBI isn't enough? Rich Ankiel played in that league and he hit .267.

I always think that the vocal skeptics on this board don't represent Cub fans or even TCR readers as a group.

Growing your own players is how you get good. They don't cost anything, and you can trade the overpaid veterans they replace!

James Loney, by the way, hurt us more then M. Ramirez did, who got his RBI when his team was already winning. We have guys who can do that. Trouble is, we couldn't get the lead. What we need are the Loneys.

If Cub fans don't like their own home-grown players, what do you need Card and Astro fans for?

how about get more 11ab vs. lefties?

better yet...how about checking into why he only has 11ab vs. lefties. that'll solve a lot of questions.

growing your own players is one thing, but this is hoffpower we're talking about here.

The Cubs aren't going to get shit for Lee (even if he waived his NTC). He makes what $14 million next year? If he were a free agent, he wouldn't make that much, so guess what? Teams aren't going to be trading 3 X as much as anything for him. It can't be reasonably argued that he doesn't make the pitching better because he makes the infielders worry so little about throwing to first, but the same reasons Cubs fans think he's not that great are going to be readily apparent to all the playoff contending teams. We may be able to sell his 'settling influence' to some young team that has cash and thinks they're a step away... (maybe the Giants, welcome Barry Zito our new #5 starter?), but we're going to take back a bloated contract in the deal. Matt LaPorta is not coming to the Cubs as part of a Derrek Lee package.

im not emotional about lee. i dunno where you got that for a starting point to tear down what i said. you're way off base for a starting point.

i like what lee brings and how it compliments the TEAM...especially the team's arms in the field.

having a no-D slugger can do a lot more damage than adding 10-15 homers, imo. theriot, aram, derosa/fontenot aren't that soild/dependable in the field with how they throw...from theriot's low throws to aram's lasers.

and there's a world of difference between what i see out of hoffpower and dlee...for one, i don't see a guy who can hit 30+ homers in hoffpower...for second (and this one will go contrary to other's views) i don't see hoffpower's D as above average (i know some believe he is).

hoffpower would be a step backwards, imo...not even a starting point for a solution. the guy's swing isn't that sweet and his power isn't that powerful...add to that a less reliable overall bat and i don't like it at all.

btw, what makes my point illogical, predictable, and outdated while your point somehow is logical and clear? you're coming at it from the view that hoffpower is a starter for some reason. the guy's swing isn't that good, isn't good at all vs. lefties, and he's gonna K a lot. i don't think he has starter stuff, though i wouldn't claim the ship is sinking if he had to sub a huge chunk of games.

D-Lee set up some unrealistic expectations based on 2005. If he'd put up numbers that year along the lines of what he'd done in 2004, we might not be having this discussion. He's a solid-plus hitter, great fielder (Game 2 error aside), great guy in the clubhouse, solid citizen, etc.

I think there are more pressing needs at RF or CF or if Dero goes to RF at 2b.

And they need a lh power hitter to put between lee and Aram.

If I were going to follow the Cubs next year I would like to see-

Roberts-2b
Theriot-ss
Aram-
Soriano
Lee
Fuku/LH power hitter
Soto
Dero

Cubs were way too RH in playoffs. And if you are showed counting on scrap Lh and glue and tape LH as your only power from that side. And Fuku falling off the face of the Earth didn't help either.

This lineup was damn good enough for scoring runs. Fuck, their run differential was +184! 30 points better than the next best in all of baseball (Boston). There is absolutely no reason to make large-scale changes for the sake of improving the lineup. They just choked. That's it. We need these guys to keep up what they're doing (hitting their way INTO the playoffs)...and hopefully things click one of these years. They had a great season...then lost 3 in a row. It sucks, but I'd take my chances with this team over any other again and again.

Billy Beane thinks that the GM's job is to build a team to get to the playoffs. Once the playoffs start, it's a crapshoot.

I think he's right. I think wholesale changes, just for the sake of new faces, is a mistake. We need some changes, but we have the core horses to get back here next year. At that point, let's just hope we roll a 7 instead of 2.

Statistically, there is almost NO correlation between regular seasons success, and post season success.

In fact, you could argue that the Cubs, being a very deep team this year, were better built for 162 game season (which requires that depth), than the post-season (where DEPTH really makes little difference. You rely mostly on 6 pitchers, and 10 position players).

I agree with you here. But I think we lose credibility because Billy Beane has never won a World Series as a GM.

It is not just that they lost three games in a row. It's that they have lost three games in a row two straight years. Sorry, but that is not a good sign. If it was just this year, sure, one could reasonably buy into the idea that the playoffs are a crapshoot etc. But when it happens two straight years, and we were not really even close to winning a game this year, something is fundamentally wrong. What will it take to see this? Losing in three straight again next year?

It's not a matter of you 'seeing it' and me not seeing it. I merely disagree with you. Sorry, but two does not make a pattern. Getting to the playoffs is hard. We've got a team that finally made it two years in a row for the first time in a long time. Now you want to blow up that team and try again? Plug in a new superstar at each position? Trade Lee and plug in rookie at first?

Maybe the Mets will do the same thing (two straight chokes)...we can pick up Reyes, Wright and Beltran for cheap.

Everyone is talking about hitting, but what about the pitching? These guys choked as well. We going to dump all of them too?

Fuck, you don't dump your good players just because they had a bad (two) playoffs.

Usually when a whole team performs poorly and no one can figure out why, it's the manager that gets fired, not the whole team.

If Beane actually had a decent payroll, I doubt his ability to win a WS would be in question. No question, he'd take only 2/3 of the Cub's payroll, and be quite delirious about it.

I wish TBS would hire the local team's broadcasters, and have each team use their guys at home. I would much rather listen to announcers who actually know the team than the addled and clueless Dick Stockton.

Len/Bob and Vin Scully would have been great to hear during the game. I even prefer Hawk/DJ to Stockton when the Cubs play the Sox.

FOX and ESPN cover baseball during the year, and they have the knowledge of the season to fall back on. TBS is a disaster.

What a painful week this has been! You guys are great. My thoughts on this team:
1. Talk of blowing up the team is really going too far. There are some problems that need to be addressed, but they are MUCH closer to having a playoff-winning team than they were two years ago, when they missed the playoffs. If you don't have a team that will get you to the playoffs, it doesn't matter if you have one that can win in the playoffs...
2. I think some small tweaks are all this team needs. Every player needs to drop the ego, if they have one, and try to improve in the offseason.
3. Howry needs to be shown the door. I will scream if Lou shows any sign of sticking with him any further.
4. There needs to be a sit-down with Fukudome about his mindset. Does he really want to play in the U.S.? What can he do to better prepare for next season? I think he really was having problems concentrating toward the end of the season, and it does seem feasible that he is afraid of the ball.... I know I was when i played. I was a monster at hitting until facing someone that could throw hard. I rarely even made contact against them.
5. A lefty table setter would be a very welcome addition. We have two potential answers already on the roster in K-Fuk and Pie. I don't hold out a lot of hope for either to become the answer, but it is possible.

Welcome to the second page of comments, where comments go to fester, unread, for all eternity...

Rob - I just wanna say boo to the 150 comment/page thing...

150 comments is the default, but if click on comments right at the top before the first comment you can change your settings to view anywhere from 10 to 300 coments and it will remember it for the future.

I was wondering if this was 3/44, but when I come back to the site, why do I get the first page of old comments rather than go directly to the second page of new ones?

when you hit comments go to the top before the first comment you'll see some user options. You can view anywhere from 10 to 300 comments per page and you can view either oldest comments first or newest. You can view comments as either threaded or flat view. It should remember your settings every time you log-in as well.

I have mine set to 300 comments so this all still appears on ONE PAGE.

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