The Cubs Off-Season Report – 01/20/06

Chicago Cubs News: Conflicting Grades, Former Cubs Signings and More Rankings by USA Today, plus a picture that is worth a thousands words.

Everyone one has an opinion….thats what makes the world go round, but what makes certain people ‘experts’. According to Merriam-Webster ( the definition of expert is: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience. Is it because they get paid for people reading their opinion? The reason I ask is, the Cubs received another off-season grade, this time it was not from Dayn Perry and the grade was one of the best in the league….we will get back to this. I like the fact that not one ‘expert’ will pick the Cubs to win the Wild Card, much less the Central Division in 2006. Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying they will either…but I am choosing to be a realistic optimist (yes, I just made that up). On paper, the Cubs have not made the moves to be successful in 2006….but like Larry Bowa (Stay Hot Larry) said every team must play 162 games and no one ever won the World Series in December. But when was the last time the Cubs won anything when the ‘experts’ thought they would? Did anyone pick them to win the Division in 1984? How about 1989? And I know no one did in 2003. Who out there actually picked the ‘Wrongsiders’ to win last year?

The Cubs were picked to be a playoff team the last 2 seasons and we all know what happened. I even remember certain ‘experts’ picking them to win the World Series. Could the lack of pressure on the Northside this season actually be a blessing?

I like the addition of Juan Pierre and I cannot wait to see him in centerfield at Spring Training. The last four times the Cubs made the playoffs they had a very good leadoff hitter. Bobby Dernier (1984), Jerome Walton (1989), Lance Johnson (1998) and Kenny Lofton (2003)….O.K. Lofton came in late, but the Cubs were hovering around .500 before the addition of Lofton. Would Karl Rhodes, Mel Hall, Eric Young or Ivan DeJesus actually strike fear in an opposing pitcher? I do not think so. While Dayn Perry finds Juan Pierre overrated, John Donovan from does not. John Donovan gave the Cubs a ‘B’ in his report, among the highest in the league (The Mets scored an ‘A’). But is Donovan right, or is Perry? Donovan liked the addition of Howry and Eyre, but another report on from Alex Belth said the signing of Scott Eyre was one of the 5 worst of the off-season. So which ‘expert’ is right? The pressure on the Cubs is more than ever before. Chicago has always been a Cubs town but with the ‘Wrongsiders’ winning the Series, the tide has begun to shift. The ‘Cell’ will be full this summer, but for how long? How many of those fans know who hit leadoff for the Sox in 1983? The pressure for the Cubs to win in ’06 will be there, but no one will expect it.

In other news….the White Sox signed former Cub, Ben Grieve (2004-2005) to a Minor League contract on Thursday and Julian Tavarez (2001) officially signed his 2-year, $6.7 million dollar contract with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

USA Today/Sports Weekly finished their player rankings. The CCO posted ‘How Do The Cubs Rank?’ on January 8th that included all of the rankings except for Catcher. Michael Barrett finished 10th in their rankings. And to complete our ‘Seinfeld’ episode, USA Today asked their baseball ‘experts’ to rank the Top 25 Players of 2005. Derrek Lee ranked first along side of Albert Pujols as the best players in the game. Carlos Zambrano also received votes, but did not finish in the Top 25.

Well, that’s the news and I’m sticking to it!!!!

Wait….this just in….Welcome to the Club and Go Titans!!!!


Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney