With a lull in the offseason action and on the playoff diamond, we thought it's time to break out the TCR roundtbale. As always, TCR is not responsible for the opinions and viewpoints of its authors. ------- 1. What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Cubnut: Two come to mind: Ramirez's game-winning home run against the Brewers at the end of June and Lee's pinch-hit grand slam to seal a win against Team Grinder. I also enjoyed the early-season game (at Cincy?) in which Lou Piniella stormed out to the mound in the ninth inning, screamed five or six words at a struggling Ryan Dempster, then made a u-turn without ever actually stopping. After all the mealy-mouthed managerial nonsense of the past few years, I thought that moment was refreshing AZ PHIL: Aramis Ramirez hitting the game-winning HR in the bottom of the 9th off Brewers closer Francisco Cordero at Wrigley Field. Transmission: I agree with AZ Phil. Dr. Hecht: I was at the game where Lou Piniella had his tirade with umpire Mark Wegner. I still love watching it on the highlights that I've saved for my iPod. The first portion of the season had been so disappointing. The day before Zambrano had his altercation with Barrett and the Cubs were a 22-30 to that point. The Cubs wound up losing the Saturday game to the Braves 5-3. So what was to like? Although many have said Lou's antics were contrived that day, particularly because Pagan was pretty clearly out out at third, it really had a tangible feel that Lou was doing the right thing for his club. He was doing what any good 1950-60's manager would have done...go toe to toe, belly to belly and kicking some All-American third base dirt on a very prissy modern day umpire, you know, these umps who nowadays toss players for blinking improperly. Somewhere above (or below) the ghost of Jocko Conlan was enjoying Lou's display. I love old style baseball, not to mention an Old Style when Lou went ballistic. Rob G.: The Aramis walk-off homer was the "oh my god" moment of the season. But that whole period from the end of June until Soriano hurt his hamstring, there was a general feeling that the Cubs would find a way to win most of their games. I'm not sure there's a more reassuring feeling for a baseball fan when you know your team will find ways to win. Christian: Mostly I have an overall general memory of slowly remembering why I like this team. Four years of Dusty Baker had really soured me on the Cubs, and the off-season, with its questionable signings and news that my favorite player wouldn't be playing this year (if ever again) didn't help. Once the season started, it took a few months for me to even want to pay attention anymore. Once I did, I realized how different the team looked and how much more interesting they were under Piniella. I guess the specific moment I can point to is the June 29th game, when they came back from a 5-0 hole in the first to win on A-Ram's walk-off homer. Beating the first-place Brewers to win their seventh in a row, I think I felt for the first time that even if they didn't make the playoffs (which seemed a foregone conclusion at that point), they would at least be fun & interesting to watch down the stretch.
Archive - 2007
This is a bonus Sunday random notes edition of TCR. When Rob G. posted that he thought it would be spooky if Kerry Wood homers in tonight's ALCS final game, it got me thinking. The reality is that if manager Terry Francona brings in Josh Beckett to pitch 4 innings and shut down any Indian rally it will have haunting parallels to one of the more painful days of my life. My son, Ken, was in Boston's Fenway last night and since he's been in Cleveland for college, I've given him permission to root for the Tribe. He also attended the 2003 NLCS games 6 and 7 with me, therefore, he had explicit instructions not to reach for any catchable foul balls near the wall (unless he was sure it would reverse the timeline distortion Bartman had caused).
It be rather slow when it comes to all things Cubs related these days but we've got a few things planned for next week for your enjoyment. In the meantime, notes start walking: - Cubs.com has a new offer for an online fan club. Your twenty bucks gets you this:
Cubs Club members will receive benefits unavailable to other fans, including your very own 2007 Membership Card, MLB.com's Gameday Audio for the 2007 regular season, exclusive ticket offers, access to the home postgame press conference video archives, the ability to view Wrigley Field 24/7 through our interactive web cameras, and access to our exclusive editorial content and blog provided by the staff of Vine Line.It seems to be just worth the Gameday Audio that usually goes for $14.95 I believe. UPDATE: As always, read the fine print or well just read it thoroughly. It's not such a great offer since the Gameday Audio expires at the end of 2007 and there's about 5-12 games left on the year that matter. You can read the full membership benefits here.
Cubs front office promotions include Oneri Fleita and Mark O'Neal. FLEITA WAS: director of player development and Latin American operations NOW IS: vice president of player personnel It's a new title, so what becomes of Oneri's old position? Is this a cost cutting move (24 fewer letters on his business card)? O'NEAL WAS: head athletic trainer
From Dusty, himself:
"I love challenges." "I know I'm not a miracle man. I don't know if it's going to take a year or two years or whatever. But we're dedicated to winning.” "I want to dispel the reputation that I can only work with older players…I'm looking forward to having a mixture of young and old. I sometimes feel I have more in common with younger players." "I want to help guys on the team have a winning attitude. I'm almost more of a teacher than a manager."