January 2006

Cub Power!

So itís October 1968, and the Cubsí season is over. The Cubs finish 3rd in the National League (for the second consecutive season, both times behind the Cardinals and the Giants), and have played over .500 ball for two years in a row, the first time theyíve done that since 1945-46. 1969 looks like it might be The Year of the Cub.

TCR Friday Notes

I was being raked over the coals at work earlier this week, so I was never able to give my 2 cents on the Corey Patterson trade and I know you've all been waiting breathlessly for my take. To echo Ruz's statements, ìVaya con Dios, Coreylitoî. You wrote your Cubs tombstone the day you decided that you didnít want to play winter ball. Just another data point to verify the history of your arrogance. I do wish him luck with the O's and if he becomes the 30/30 guy we were all hoping for one day, don't worry, it would have never happened while he was in a Cubs uniform. I did find this quote from Korey regarding all the advice given to him highly amusing.
"Everyone has good intentions, but you have to know yourself and what parts to take in and leave out. I was listening to so many people. I wasn't being myself."
Here's some handy clip and save advice for you Korey, cut it out, put it into your wallet and refer to it the next time your on an 0 for 30 streak with 25 Kís:
Don't Swing at fastballs over my head.
As for the prospects we got in return, Carlos Perez will be lucky to have a career as good as the other Carlos Perez, and that's not saying much. Spears has tons of potential, just like the guy we traded him for once did, just in lesser amounts. He does have the upside of only being 20 and not being an arrogant idiot. There's a lot of comparisons to David Eckstein because of his frame and scrappiness. We can only hope he turns out that well. He played last year for the O's Advanced-A team, so he'll either get the bump up to AA or hang back in Daytona.

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

The Cubs have traded Corey Patterson to the Orioles for two minor leaguers. ESPN Radio reports that the players are shortstop Nate Spears and lefthanded pitcher Carlos Perez. We'll gather as much info on these guys as we can find and post it here. * Spears is 21 years old. He was a 5th round pick in the 2003 draft. At High A Frederick last year he hit 294/349/429.

The Wisdom of You

We have entered the most boring part of the year for a baseball fan. The season is long over, and the once-sizzling hot stove has been reduced to embers. We have nothing to occupy us except what-if scenarios and trade talk. This is the time of year that leads actual paid writers to write things like "Club relying on starters to stay healthy all season long." Seriously, if that's what the Cubs are relying on, I'm out of here. But fear not - there is a cure for boredom, and it comes from a non-baseball source. We're going to spend the next month predicting how the Cubs will do this season.

Time To Move Along

We can all go about the business of counting the days until spring training. It appears that Miguel Tejada has mellowed out on his trade demand and he'll be staying put, for now. It could all be a smokescreen from the O's camp to get teams to pony up their offers, but this quote from Orioles GM Jim Duquette makes me think it's on the up and up.
"This is the first time we heard this directly from him. We're elated that he's chosen to stay. We're all committed to improving the team, and it's easier to do it with Miguel than without him."
Doesn't mean Miggy won't change his mind in the middle of the season when the O's are hovering near last place, but for now, I think he's staying put.

Spring Training Invites

The Cubs have invited the following players to Spring Training to join previous NRIs Marqius Grissom, Augie Ojeda, and Michael Restovich: * OF Adam Greenberg * RHP Bobby Brownlie * LHP Carmen Pignatiello * LHP Raul Valdez * RHP Randy Wells * C Dennis Anderson * C Jake Fox * IF Casey McGehee * 1B Brandon Sing * OF Buck Coats Arizona Phil mentioned most of these guys a few days ago, and none of them has a chance to make the team, but it will be great to see Brownlie throwing in Mesa.

TCR Friday Notes

Looks like the cellphone minutes that have been accumulating between Orioles GM Jim Duquette and Jim Hendry will finally payoff. It probably won't land us Miguel Tejada, but it does look like we'll rid ourselves of Corey Patterson. Rumor has is that the 2 teams are close to a trade sending Patterson for a mid-level prospect. If the Cubs can just rid themselves of Patterson's salary, I'll consider it a good trade no matter who we get in return. It should free up a 40-man roster spot as well so that we can welcome in the Marquis Grissom era.

Nice Guys Finish Last

ìNice guys finish lastî ñ Leo "The Lip" Durocher The 1965 season closed with the Cubs mired in 8th place in the National League, with a 72-90 record, 25 games behind the N. L. pennant-winning Dodgers. 1965 was the fifth year for the College of Coaches, and the experiment wasnít working. After the season, Cubs Athletic Director Col. Robert Whitlow (USAF ñ RET.) resigned, and there was some question about who P. K. Wrigley would hire to replace him. Two Ton Baker? Bozo the Clown? The Doublemint Twins? Garfield Goose, perhaps?

The Road through Holland

I grew up as a Cubs fan in the 1960ís. My first memories of the Cubs were from 1960, but I didnít go to my first game at Wrigley Field until 1961. I learned to read in the Fall of 1960, so 1961 was my first year for sports sections (and there were FOUR newspapers in Chicago back then), box scores, baseball cards, and batting averages. The 1961 Cubs will always be near and dear to my heart. The College of Coaches! Brilliant! A ìrotatingî Head Coach! Ingenuius! An Athletic Director? OK. Whatever you say, P. K. Unfortunately, the College of Coaches didnít help make the Cubs a better team. If anything, it made them worse. There were too many cooks in the kitchen, no strong leader, and if there was ever a team that was defined by its wallow, it was the Cubs of 1961-65. But then in 1967, the Cubs suddenly got good. This Grand Improvement all seemed to coincide with the arrival of Leo ìThe Lipî Durocher as the Cubs manager in 1966. Leo was a complete jag-off, but was also a man who would not tolerate failure or accept excuses for losing. You got a losing team? Leoís answer was simple. ìBack Up the Truck.î Leo also grasped the basic premise that the most important element of a winning team is spelled ìP-I-T-C-H-I-N-G,î and for Leo, that meant four stud horses in the starting rotation. As important as Leo Durocherís presence and personality might have been in turning around ìthe program,î the foundation for the success of the Cubs after Leo arrived was actually laid over the previous ten years or so, going back to when John Holland was appointed General Manager of the Cubs, on October 11, 1956...