September 2006

TCR Friday Notes

Not sure if I'll be able to throw up any more previews as we're preparing for a very busy off-season here at TCR. Okay, I got to work this weekend and I'm far too wrapped up in trying to secure third place in the TCR Fantasy Pool. - A San Diego paper tells us that in 2002 Jim Hendry approached Kevin Towers in trying to acquire Bruce Bochy to manage the Cubs and was told he wasn't going anywhere. According to the article:

Invitation Update

Don't believe what you're hearing on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, or reading in the NY Post or Daily Mirror or Weekly World News. To set things straight, once and for all.
* No, the Parachat party hasn't been cancelled due to fire-code violations * No, we aren't letting Mariotti be the DJ * No, it's not true that Neifi Perez is threatening to sue us for libel or slander if we go through with the Parachat party * No, the VIP section of the Parachat Club is not a ghost subsidiary of the Tribune

Fan Appreciation Weekend

Back in the day, I was always excited about the final weekend series in Wrigley because of Fan Appreciation Weekend. The Cubs always advertised a raffle for prizes that to a prepubescent kid seemed like they were giving away gold. I watched in awe on WGN as I imagined fans walking out of the stadium with more Cubs stuff than they could hold. I mean what a cool thing to do, the generous Cubs just giving stuff away to fans out of the kindness of their hearts as a way to say thanks.

Looking Back

As I get ready to do some editing on the end-of-year roundtable (and those of you who haven't gotten your answers in yet, you know who you are), I thought I'd take a look back at what we thought about this team at the beginning of the season. Obviously no one foresaw Derrek Lee's injury, but plenty of people foresaw Wood & Prior's struggles. Just about everyone thought Matt Murton would have a decent-to-good year if he got to play, and opinion was decidedly mixed on whether or not the Juan Pierre trade would turn out to be a good one. Opinion was also mixed on Rafael Furcal, with lots of people wishing the Cubs had done what it took to sign him, and others suggesting that what it took was too much. I thought I'd pull out a few predictions, ones that look smart in retrospect and ones that don't, so we can all cast our minds back to six months ago, when anything seemed possible. I mean no disrespect to those people who show up on the bad side of the ledger, all of whom had some prescient things to say as well. If you want to read full responses, you can go back and see what TCR writers, TCR readers, and other Cubs bloggers had to say. The end-of-year roundtable will be posted early next week. THE GOOD MikeC: "A possible disappointment could be Ryan Dempster, he still hasn't got his control problems fixed. Very lucky pitcher last year and baseball has a tendency to even out that luck." ruz: "Jones, meanwhile, will be an albatross by 2008, but this year I expect him to contribute." Rob G.: "Iím glad they stayed away from A.J. Burnett, big upside but just as injury prone as any of our big guys." John Hill: "The short-term results, especially in Cedenoís case, may be ugly, no better than what Neifi Perez might achieve." Rob G.: "I think the biggest surprise will actually be Jacque Jones." ruz: "Sean Marshall looks like he's going to get a chance to prove some things in April, but I think before the end of the year it'll be a different tall lefty, Rich Hill, we'll be talking about." MannyTrillo: "[Hendry] did not properly prepare for the very likely injuries to Wood and Prior."

Roster Cogburn

As the 2006 season comes to a merciful end, you can look forward to Jim Hendry making a few roster moves in the next few weeks and months in an attempt to improve the Cubs for 2007. Besides trying to re-sign some of his own free-agents (almost certainly Aramis Ramirez, and probably Juan Pierre, Kerry Wood, Wade Miller, and Henry Blanco), the Cubs GM will also likely try and acquire a starting pitcher or two, maybe a power-hitting outfielder, and maybe a veteran middle infielder, via free-agency or trade. But there are also other roster moves that will be made, the type that are made "under the radar" by all MLB clubs every year at this time. And since we want you to be prepared, here's what you might expect to see happen in the coming weeks and months...

The Dilemma With Dusty

I know, the last thing anyone really wants to read is another freakin' piece bashing Dusty Baker. Do not fear, that's not what this is about. This one is all on Sir Hendry. Back in July, Hendry stated that Dusty would stick through the season and Hendry would "try to move expediently and make a decision as to what direction to go" once the season ended. Well that's all well and good and I do hope that the only thing he's deciding at this point is whether to fire Baker on the Monday morning following our last game versus the Rockies or do it right after the game to save Baker a trip back out to the office to clean out his collection of war books and designer toothpicks. My concern and where I believe Hendry may have taken a misstep is not taking care of this mess a whole lot sooner. What worries me is that the Cubs have a couple of guys on the team who will be vying for new deals this off-season, most notably Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre. When it comes to wooing free agents, itís my opinion that 98% of the decision-making is based on the money offered, with the other 2% a mixture of locale, amenities, manager, cronies and other such intangibles. But when trying to retain your own guys, I think the intangible percentage can play a bit of a higher factor especially if you want to sign those players for a few bucks less than they may get on the open market, which, of course, is certainly a wise business decision. While the image of the modern ballplayers is one with dollar signs in their eyes and no sense of loyalty to their current teams, more a collection of mercenaries for hire rather than a group of soldiers fighting for a common ideal, I do believe that it's not quite that grim of a picture. I think most players would prefer to stay where they're at rather than go through the process of uprooting themselves and their family, having to worry about fitting into a new team, and all the other headaches of finding a new place to play. Granted, millions of dollars tend to soothe those headaches a lot easier, but I still think it's part of the decision-making process, albeit a small one. It's also my feeling that the longer the player has played in one place, the more they want to stay. And as you start taking things away that are familiar to that player, that's a few less reasons holding them here.. And this is where I think Hendry may have messed up.

Turn Off The Lights

I think Jacque Jones needs to sire a few more kids as he went 3 for 5 last night with three RBI's, a homer, a double and three runs in his triumphant return to the starting lineup after taking a few days off to be with his newborn daughter. Congrats to Jones and his family and keep the hot-hitting up.


This has been a wretched excuse of a year. To celebrate our release from suffering on October 1st, I invite everyone to ring out the year in style, in Parachat. Let's fill the chatroom for the Sunday Oct. 1, 1:20 pm game against the Rockies, and toast the end to another fruitless season. Come in costume, come naked, come drunk, or with the lucid sobreity of a fan who has seen it all and wishes to see no more. Tell the bouncer at the door that you're a Friend of Trans, and he'll be sure to let you in. He'll ask you to check your sour mood at the door, but otherwise, anything goes!

The Magic Number is Two

A Royals loss coupled with a Cubs win will eliminate the Cubs from getting the top pick in next year's draft, mostly thanks to the Royals recent seven game skid. The Cubs are 2.5 back of the D'Rays for the second spot at the moment and you never know if the Royals will cheap out on a signing bonus (or for that matter the D'Rays) so there's still hope the Cubs can land the best talent in next year's draft. The Royals did shell out on Luke Hochevar this year so they may finally realize the value in building from the ground up.

The Last Road Game Of The Season

After this, it's back to Wrigley for a -- what's the opposite of "victory lap" anyway? Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-SEVEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (63-93 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (76-79 (Div) 3rd - 4.5 GB; (WC) 4th - 6.0 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 11:35 pm CDT Weather: Sunny, 60 degrees, Wind out to L @ 5 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 186

One Week to Go..

Mateo returns to the rotation after dealing with his back issues and the Cubs avoid a 100-loss season with there win last night. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (63-92 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT CINCINNATI REDS (75-79 (Div) 3rd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 6.0 GB) The Great American Home Run Park, 12:15 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 69 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 13 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 735 Radio: WGN, XM 186


In Hill's last outing he threw a complete game shut-out against these very Reds on 118 pitches, walking one while striking out ten, giving up only two hits and facing a mere thirty-one hitters. I'd call that a good game. A matter of fact if you go by Bill James's game score, it was the best pitched game this year along with a gem by Dontrelle Willis earlier in the year. It'll be tough for him to top tonight, so I expect nothing less than a no-hitter or a 20 K night out of the Michigan alum.

Can We Make It Three?

Two straight gems by our starting staff has been a refreshing departure and Sean Marshall has about two to three more starts this year to leave some sort of impression going into the off-season. Hopefully it's a good one. While Marshall's final numbers at the end of the year probably won't be much to talk about, I think he's shown the ability to get major leaguers out and even flat out dominate at times. I'd say not to bad for a guy with about ten starts in AA before this season.

Freakin’ Cursed

Derrek Lee will miss the rest of the season to tend to his 3-year old daughter. They haven't clarified what illness she's suffering from but she has lost some vision in one eye. As Lee states, you think breaking a wrist is a big deal and then something like this happens. Our thoughts and prayers to the whole Lee family as I don't even want to imagine what his family is going through right now. Z is back on the mound today to try and give the Cubs the series win after Rich Hill's gem yesterday. Go Bears, I mean Cubs!

Renewing Team’s Hopes One Series at a Time

I imagine by the end of this series, the Reds will think they're right back in the playoff hunt. We've already given new hope to a number of teams the last month or so. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-NINE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (73-74 (Div) 2nd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 3.5 GB ) AT CHICAGO CUBS (59-89 (Draft) 3rd - 2 GB) Wrigley Field, 3:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 14 mph TV: CSN Radio: WGN, XM 188

Seeing Red

The Cubs pulled off a nice comeback victory setting up a great NL West showdown this weekend between the Dodgers and Padres, a mere half a game separating the two. The Cubs though lost ground to the Devil Rays who are now only a half a game behind the Royals in the race for worst in baseball. Long-live the Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CINCINNATI REDS (72-74 (Div) 2nd - 5.5 GB; (WC) 5th - 4.5 GB ) AT CHICAGO CUBS (59-88 (Draft) 3rd - 2 GB)

Piling On

The Dodgers are just piling on now. Greg Maddux was scheduled to pitch today's game but was pushed back so he can face the Padres this weekend, them being the Dodgers closest competition in the NL West race. Instead they give Hong-Chih Kuo his second major league start. Someone must have gotten the scouting report to Grady Little that the Cubs can't hit the newbies. If you have time to pick him up in your fantasy league, he's a good bet to throw a gem today.

Oh Sorry, Today is the Day We Get Swept

Yeah my bad on yesterday's headline, didn't realize this was a Friday to Monday four game series. Of course the premise still applies for today. Good news is three weeks from today, you'll wake up without having to worry about how the Cubs will embarrass themselves on the field that day. Instead it will be how they'll embarrass themselves in the front office. At least we're giving Atlanta fans some hope. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-FOUR IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT]

Here’s the Pitch

If nothing were to change during the off-season, and if all pitchers are healthy come Spring Training, the Cubs would probably enter the 2007 season with a starting rotation consisting of Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, and either Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo, Jae-kuk Ryu, or Ryan OíMalley. In an interview with Len Kasper on WGN-TV last week, Cubs GM Jim Hendry was talking about 2007 and mentioned the need to upgrade pitching as (obviously) something he (obviously) would be trying to do. Obviously. With Ryan Dempster, Scott Eyre, and Bob Howry signed through 2008, and with four or five younger relievers (Will Ohman, Michael Wuertz, David Aardsma, Roberto Novoa, and Carlos Marmol) already on board and another half-dozen or so possible candidates (Federico Baez, Lincoln Holdzkom, Carmen Pignatiello, Clay Rapada, Andy Shipman, and Randy Wells, plus Guzman, Mateo, Ryu, and OíMalley if they don't start) likely to compete for a spot in the pen, I would imagine when Hendry was talking about addressing pitching, he was mainly talking about adding at least one veteran established healthy starting pitcher to the rotation, or possibly two.

Another Series, Another Sweep

I'm going to go watch football. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FORTY-THREE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (56-85, (Draft) 2nd, 2.5 GB) AT ATLANTA BRAVES (68-73, (WC) 7th, 5 GB) Turner Field, 12:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 81 degrees, Wind from R to L @ 9 mph TV: WGN, DirecTV 734 Radio: WGN, XM 184
Lance Cormier, RHP 2-4, 5.26 ERA, 53 IP 27 K, 31 BB, 3 HR

Fuzzy Math

There are some around here who jokingly believe that if (and let's hope it's more like when) Dusty gets fired we won't have much to talk about around here. I'm starting to believe it myself because I just can't imagine another manager out there who could say so many non-sensical things for us to debate. Dusty's latest foray is this gem courtesy of The Daily Herald when asked about the Braves 14 year playoff run likely coming to a halt this season:

Remember the 2003 NLDS, Yeah That Was Awesome

The almighty Braves have fallen, their miraculous run of division titles will likely come to an official end this weekend. They still have the faintest of hopes for a wild card birth, but obviously chances are slimmer than slim when your seven games back and trailing seven other teams. Makes you think Leo Mazzone really was the genius over there, but then you look at the Orioles who have given up the 2nd most runs in baseball.

Dan LeBatard On Joe Girardi

With the end of the season fast approaching and the Dusty Era (hopefully) coming to a close, Cub fans far and wide have been looking toward next season. One big question on everyone's mind is, "who will the Cubs' manager be in 2007"? Fredi Gonzalez' name has bandied about quite a bit recently (and, actually, since the last time the Cubs were looking for a skipper), and he's Arizona Phil's odds-on choice. But strange things are afoot in south Florida. Last month saw a strange series of events take place between Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager (and Peoria native, Northwestern grad, ex-Cub) Joe Girardi, leading lots of Cubs fans to get excited about the possibility of Girardi coming to Chicago next year. In order to give us some idea what kind of manager he is for the Marlins and might be for the Cubs, we asked one of the best professional baseball writers out there, Miami Herald/ESPN columnist Dan LeBatard, to answer a few questions about Joe:

Sean of the Draft

So this Rich Hill character has looked pretty good since his most recent call-up and if they do keep him around and he does perform like this for the next 5-6 years, the Cubs get a guy through all his prime years on the uber-cheap. I'll take that. As for today's game, I updated the previews to reflect our race for worst record in baseball. It seems more fun to watch us go for something we're only 5 games back of in September. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way!

The Silver Lining

I never really thought we'd catch the Pirates or the Royals for worst record in the league, but honestly a top pick in the first three slots of the draft is usually a good thing especially since the Cubs don't seem to shy away from giving out bonus money. This isn't a team that's so young that any type of moral victory such as fifth over sixth place would mean anything, so might as well go for the high draft pick. The Royals are playing well so they're definitely catchable for the overall worst record.

Time to Revisit the College of Coaches

According to Bruce Miles in the Daily Herald, the Pirates "commandeered" Wrigley Field for some extra batting & fielding practice prior to last night's game. So Bucs manager Jim Tracy apparently had a novel idea: How about some extra practice during the season? And Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs #1 prospect Felix Pie is upset that he didn't get a September recall, and that he is being sent to Fitch Park in Mesa to work one-on-one with hitting instructor Von Joshua and base-running instructor Bob Dernier instead of getting a chance to strut his stuff at Wrigley Field in September.

Fooled You

A break in the action here at work gives me some time to pop this up. Tonight's loser gets to be queen for a day, possibly longer. Go Cubs or go draft pick...either way! GAME ONE HUNDRED-THIRTY-EIGHT IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PITTSBURGH PIRATES (55-83 (Div) 6th - 19.0 GB; (Wild Card) 13th -16.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (55-82 (Div) 5th - 18.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 16.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 72 degrees, Wind in from RF @ 4 mph


Recent comments

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  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.

  • TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.

    I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.

  • ...joe.

  • "Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.

    Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.

  • Rizzo has been slumping the last couple weeks of the season. Very disappointed it has continued during his penultimate moment of his career to date.

  • Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester pulled and Strop pulled in. Should of left Lester in. oy.

  • Sweet merciful fuck, I hate the Cardinals.

  • *flips table*


  • Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester out for the 8th. Down 1-0, at 100 pitches, seemed better to give a very fresh bullpen a little work.

    Oh well...Throw away game, although in a 5 game series there is no luxury afforded to do that.

  • This game is not on Lester - he did his job

  • Had a lot of hope hanging on that deep Fowler fly in the sixth.

    Really despise the Cards